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Baby joggers: All you need to know before you hit the road with your kid in tow

Sarah Wassner Flynn is a New York City-based writer. She's contributed to magazines such as CosmoGIRL!, National Geographic Kids, Runner's World, Women's Health, Prevention and MetroSports New York. She is also the author of The Book of ...

Baby Jogger 411

Chances are, you won't be itching to exercise days after giving birth. But as the weeks -- or months - pass, you will be ready to get back into a workout routine. So what to do about your bundle of joy when you want to workout? Sure, you could hire a babysitter or leave your little one with your husband while you hit the gym. But a cheaper - and more convenient - option is to utilize the wonderful invention of a jogging stroller. By strapping your little one into a jogger, you will not only have more time to bond with your baby, but you will burn more calories with your kiddo in tow thanks to the added weight you are pushing. Here is more info about baby joggers and how to stay safe while you are on the run.

Woman and Jogging Stroller

HOW SOON CAN YOU START?

Most baby joggers are intended for children six months to five years old – the motion might be too jarring for those tykes who cannot quite hold their heads up without assistance. But if you are pumped to hit the pavement earlier on, you can strap a younger infant into a stroller with a car seat adaptor. Just be sure your baby is snugly strapped in and has plenty of neck support. You can use a rolled up receiving blanket or purchase a neck support like the Snuzzler. Some experts also recommend strapping a bicycle helmet on your child, to prevent injuries if ever the rare spill occurs.

CHOOSING A JOGGER STROLLER

With the smorgasbord of strollers available today, it is not an easy task to pick out the best jogger for you. When it comes to buying a baby jogger, take a test drive first – ask to take it outside in the parking lot, or just run it up and down the aisles of the store. As you are browsing, look for a top-of-the-line stroller that is super-stable (it shouldn't tip in the slightest, even when making sharp turns). Other key elements include a locking brake, a five point harness, a swivel wheel (making for easy turns), handle bars covered with a non-slip grip and a wrist strap to keep the stroller literally close at hand as you jog.

Top-ranked joggers include the Dreamer Design Rebound Lite ($250); Mountain Buggy Urban stroller ($330); Phil & Ted's Sport Buggy ($400); and the BOB Revolution ($360).

RULES OF THE ROAD

Of course, it is always a good idea to stick to parks or other areas where roads are closed off to cars. But if you do find yourself running down a well-trafficked route with your kiddo in tow, be sure to follow the rules of the road as it applies to regular vehicles. Run with traffic on the right side of the road, and position yourself in a spot that will help you see cars coming at you (and for them to see you as well).

JOGGING STROLLER SAFETY

Ready to run? Before you head out the door, take these running safety tips in stride, courtesy of the American Running Association:

  • Never take your hands off the stroller. The jogging stroller is designed to roll with as little resistance as possible, making it very easy for it to get away from you.

 

  • Don't forget to consider your baby's exposure to the elements. Use sunscreen and hats to block the sun (even in non-summer months). Use extra clothes in cold and damp weather. Remember, your baby isn't generating any extra body heat and he has the wind created by your speed to deal with.
 
  • Don't let your guard down on safety. Although the jogging stroller provides a convenient way for you to get out the door and run, the advantages don't come without risks to your infant. Stay vigilant and your exercise can be satisfying and safe for both you and your new companion.
 
  • Stay focused: Leave the iPod and dog at home. Make this time simply about you and your kid.
 
  • Pick a good time — do not run at night when visibility is poor or when your baby is irritable and will distract you.

Think you're addicted to strollers? Find out for sure at Stroller Addicts Anonymous.

 
And to chat about strollers (or anything else!) with fellow mamas, visit the Sheknows.com Message Boards.

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