What is an Umbrella Stroller?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

The umbrella stroller is a convenient, lightweight and inexpensive baby stroller that may be perfect for occasional strolling needs. You can find many varieties of the umbrella stroller, most of them quite simple and less than $30 US Dollars (USD). Though this type of stroller may not be suited to all strolling needs, it certainly has its advantages.

Doctor with a baby
Doctor with a baby

Umbrella strollers are not designed for infants. This is because most types of this stroller don’t recline enough to allow infants to lie down. If a baby is not ready to hold its head steady, it does need more neck and head support than most of these strollers provide. By the time babies are about six to nine months old, the umbrella stroller may become your best friend.

The big advantages of the umbrella stroller are that it is lightweight and folds up very easily. This makes it very convenient to store, and even easy to carry around when you’re not using it. Most models don’t weigh more than about 10 pounds (4.54 kg), and they have a simple cloth seat on a light metal frame. They’re perfect if you’re strolling a baby or toddler part of the day, and then carrying the stroller the rest of the day. They also fit well in small car trunks, or in limited closet space, and they’re easy to get on things like public transportation because it's so lightweight.

Another advantage of umbrella strollers is you can maneuver these pretty well in crowded situations. If you’re planning on going to state fairs, to amusement parks, through busy streets or the like, this type of stroller won’t have you running into other people. These strollers aren’t great for jogging, and they do have issues when you put a toddler that is heavy in them. Children that weigh more will partially negate maneuverability of the stroller.

You can buy very simple umbrella stroller models, but you may want to look for the stroller to have a couple of extra features. The stroller should come with an overhead cover so that you can provide some sun protection for babies. Another thing that may be helpful is some kind of pocket or storage basket to keep a few items in when you’re out for the day.

The simplest of these models may not be a great idea for parents that are really tall because the handles can be too low and cause backache or shoulder ache from poor strolling position. If you’re tall, either get handle attachments that will allow you to keep your hands at about waist level when you stroll, or buy an umbrella stroller that has adjustable handles for different height parents.

One other thing you should probably be aware of is that sometimes these strollers can tip back if you put too much weight on the handles. Don’t let babies sit in them unattended, and beware of young kids (perhaps siblings) pulling back on the stroller. Due to the light weight of an umbrella stroller, the baby may find itself upside down. Also look for those strollers that have five point harness systems instead of just waist straps. These are typically more secure, and would likely keep a baby in place if the stroller did tip back.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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