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How to choose a pram. Secrets from an Occupational Therapist

How to choose a pram. Secrets from an Occupational Therapist

The pram purchase is often one of the most agonised decisions made during pregnancy. There’s no surprise that phrases such as ‘pram regret’ and ‘pram envy’ exist. For many, it’s a big investment and many hours are spent using it, so it’s important to make a considered decision. 

The Choice website is a great resource for identifying duds and the pros and cons of each pram. However, to make an informed decision on a pram, it’s important to consider all the unique elements that are specific to you and your lifestyle. One of the ways I help clients at Elevation Women’s Health decide on what their needs are for any nursery or baby product, is to use one of my favourite Occupational Therapy models – Law’s Person – Environment – Occupation (PEO) model. It’s a simple model but really helps to structure thinking an individual's needs. When all the areas intersect, it facilitates occupational performance, aka it makes life easier!

 

Pram PEO

 Law's P-E-O model helps decide which pram is best for you

 

Now, we’re going to look at this in detail with Sarah & John (names changed for anonymity) as a case study

 

Person – The individual characteristics of the pram users

  • Sarah and John don’t have any back problems, but Sarah has an old wrist injury, so it was important to have a pram that had an easy folding mechanism and a pram that was not too heavy (some pams weigh in at a whopping 16kgs!)
  • Sarah’s wrist injury can cause stiffness in her fingers at times, so the buckles needed to be easy to use and not require excess force to operate.
  • Sarah and John are average height so there was no need for a low or high set seat or a handlebar of a particular height. Neither of them had any foot or ankle concerns so the type of brake mechanism was not important (other than safety!).
  • Sarah and John were undecided if they would have a second child so did not require a pram that needed to accommodate a toddler and a baby, such as a second seat, or a buggy board. They did not need to consider any side by side prams as they were sure they were not having twins.
  • Sarah and John decided they were happy to allocate up to $1000 on the pram

Occupation – the activities (aka Occupations) they would complete with the pram

  • Part of Sarah and John’s weekend routing involved grocery shopping at the South Melbourne Market. They needed good basket storage (around 10kgs) with easy access for their fresh food purchases and a pram that was easy to manoeuvre around the busy weekend crowds
  • Being inner city dwellers, they rarely travel by car so did not place any value on the pram being compatible with a travel capsule such as a Maxi-Cosi. As they still did use the car occasionally, it was vital to make sure the pram could fit in the rear of their small SUV.
  • Sarah and John love to travel and had several overseas and interstate trips booked in the first year of their son’s life. Because of this, they wanted a pram that was well built but also had a travel bag so it would survive many trips on an aeroplane.
  • Sarah and John did not plan to jog with the pram so did not need to consider a true jogger pram. 

 

Environment – the places the pram would go

  • Living in Melbourne’s inner city, Sarah and John’s main mode of transport is via tram and the occasional train. To make this easy, they needed a pram with a relatively small footprint but large wheels that would enable them to safely traverse platforms. They also enjoy visiting parks and walking around Port Phillip Bay and the Royal Botanic Gardens so larger wheels were also desirable to make for a comfortable drive.
  • Luckily Sarah and John live in an apartment with lifts and do not need to negotiate stairs. If they did have stairs, they would need to consider an ultralight pram that could be safely carried up and down steps one handed (child in the other arm). Due to limited storage space, they wanted a single pram that could be used for several years and not require a second pram when the initial one became too small. A pram that could convert from bassinet, to rear facing and then to front facing with an upright position was a must.
  • Due to the extremes of Melbourne weather, and their desire to still get out and about despite this, Sarah and John also needed a pram that would be comfortable in all weather. They required a pram that had a hood with large coverage for sun, wind and rain protection, excellent ventilation for hot days, UV protection and a winter cocoon to keep their son cosy on the icy Melbourne winter days.

In considering their above needs, the most suitable pram for Sarah and John was the Redsbaby Metro. But despite it being an excellent quality pram, it’s not going to meet everyone’s needs. If you were planning multiple children in short succession, having twins or if you planned on jogging with a pram the Redsbaby Metro would not have been an optimal choice.

 which pram is best

"I wish my pram had a functional handle bar too!" siged Sarah

 

So when starting the challenging task of deciding which pram is right for you and your family, have a think beyond budget and the aesthetic of the pram and anticipate what your ideal life will look like with your baby.

Where will you go?

What will you do?

What does your body need?

 

My advice is to spend the time upfront working out what specifics you need, buy quality and buy once! Having a pram with features that give you the confidence to get out and about will have a big impact on both your mental and physical health. Happy Shopping!

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Friday, 12 April 2024