Umbrella strollers are a lightweight and inexpensive alternative to bulky, pricey strollers or prams. It gets its name from its appearance when folded up like an umbrella, and is a handy back-up stroller for travel or quick trips out with your child. Though most umbrella strollers are simple in design, some models are available with accessories such as leg support trays, rain covers and cup holders.
Each stroller on the market is different, but the overall maximum load-bearing weight for an umbrella stroller is about 50 pounds. Remember that this weight includes your child, stroller accessories such as cup holders and any other cargo that you pile on, such as a diaper bag or your purse. For the best weight distribution and smoothest ride, extra items should be placed in the cargo basket underneath the stroller seat and in front of the rear wheels.
Because most umbrella strollers are designed with a hammock-style seat offering little head support, manufacturers recommend waiting until a baby can sit up by himself before using an umbrella stroller -- approximately 6 months for most children. Some umbrella strollers are available featuring reclining seats and five-point harnesses to accommodate babies as young as 3 months old, while others offer car seat adapters for babies less than 3 months old.
When shopping for an umbrella stroller, the website KidsHealth recommends checking the size of the leg openings to ensure that an infant cannot accidentally slip through them. For improved stability, buy a stroller with a wide wheel base that does not tip when you put pressure on the handles. Always fully open the stroller and latch it into place before placing your baby in the seat.
Before starting out the door with your baby in an umbrella stroller, take the time to confirm that the brakes and other mechanical parts are in working order. Repair or replace any worn pieces or materials. Avoid hanging diaper bags or purses from the stroller handles, as the weight can cause the stroller to be off-balance, and your baby could become entangled in the straps.