What to look for in a buggy for a toddler
Many buggies on the UK market are suitable up to a maximum child weight of 15kg, which is roughly 3 years. However, this doesn’t guarantee that your child will fit. This weight guide is about the load the pushchair can carry, and seats vary in width, depth and general roominess. Check how wide the seat is and think about your toddler’s build – is she big or tall? Or is she an average size and the buggy seat rather ungenerous?
There are buggies that can take toddlers weighing up to 17kg or 20kg – roughly 4, 5 or even 6 years – though these aren’t as common. These can be handy if you’re planning an adventurous holiday or often walk more than little legs can cope with. One category of buggy that often includes models able to take a heavier child weight is all-terrain pushchairs (ATPs). If you’re a keen rambler or outdoor type, you’ll welcome the freedom to trek longer distances with your toddler or preschooler happily taking the world in from the comfort of the buggy.
Adjustable leg support or footrest
Having your legs supported makes for a much comfier time, even when you’re an adult. There are two ways this can work on a buggy – an adjustable leg support (also called calf support or leg rest), which extends off the end of the seat to support the calf muscles, or a footrest, which your child will need to be tall enough for her feet to reach. Some footrests have more than one position to cater for different toddler heights. You could find your toddler’s legs dangle beyond the footrest, depending on the buggy’s design and how tall or long-legged your toddler is.
Head clearance with the hood down
When checking out the roominess of the buggy seat, also consider what it is going to be like for your child when the hood (also know as the canopy) is being used. If you have a taller than average toddler, make sure she’ll have some headroom.
A lightweight buggy is an ideal choice for a toddler. Firstly, you’re pushing a larger child load, so shaving some weight off the actually buggy makes sense. A lightweight buggy is also handy for the times when your toddler gets out to walk. Being able to push a light, empty buggy is preferable to a heavy one!
Ease of pushing and steering
Don’t just be drawn in by a buggy’s low weight. Often, it’s the ease of pushing and steering that makes the difference when your child’s onboard. A buggy that weighs a few more kilograms but that glides as you push it will take less effort to move with a toddler on board.
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Ease of folding and unfolding
Think about the ease of folding. Does it need one hand or two? Is it fast? Does it have a folding lock to keep it locked in place? While not essential, being able to fold and unfold your buggy with one hand means you can keep hold of your toddler with your spare arm.
You may also find folding the buggy and using the carry handle or shoulder strap (if it features one) while your toddler walks is very nifty, especially if you’re going across a grassy park or to and from the childminder/grandparents’ places.
Ask yourself, can it be adjusted enough to fit your growing toddler? And in winter, will it let your toddler be strapped in with a winter coat on too? Can you actually adjust the height of the harness (as in, where the height at which the straps attach to the buggy seat)?
Also check out how the harness fastens – is it easy for a curious 2-year-old to undo?
For more details on the most common buggy features you’ll encounter, and whether you need to worry about them, head to our advice for choosing a buggy to suit your lifestyle.
Buggy features that don’t matter for a toddler
Rear and forward facing seat
Having a rear and forward facing buggy (also referred to as a buggy with reversible seat direction) might have been a big feature for your young baby, but could become less of a selling point once you have a toddler on your hands. Allowing her to look out at the passing world, seeing what you see, can keep her interested and let you chat about what’s happening around you.
Also, many lightweight buggies are forward facing only. What you gain in lightness you often lose in features.
That said, if you can have the choice of direction, go for it. There are times when chatting away, face-to-face with your toddler is just fab.
Travel system compatibility
Another feature that stops being important is travel system compatibility. Travel systems only work up to the weight suitability of the Group 0 or Group 0+ car seat you can attach to the buggy – that is, 10kg or 13kg, roughly 6 months to 15 months of age. After this, you’ll just be using the system as a buggy.
The final buggy feature that isn’t crucial is a seat that can be reclined fully flat. While your newborn needs this lie-flat seat, it’s not an essential from 6 months of age. However, a seat that can still be reclined to decent positions for a snoozing toddler is worth looking for.
Best toddler buggy suggestions
If you have a toddler and are pregnant again, consider these 10 of the best double buggies for a toddler and baby and 10 of the best travel system compatible double buggies.