What’s the Difference Between Pram and Stroller?

If you’re expecting your first baby, you might be wondering what’s the difference between a pram and a stroller. Here we’ll uncover the main differences and discover why you’ll probably need both – eventually.

Finding out you’re pregnant for the first time is so exciting. But planning for baby’s arrival can be daunting, and confusing! Especially when you’re not really sure what all the different terminology describing baby stuff means. So here, lovely mummy, let me talk you through the difference between a pram and a stroller.

If you're expecting your first baby, you might be wondering what's the difference between a pram and a stroller. Here we'll uncover the main differences and discover why you'll probably need both - eventually.

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Difference Between a Pram and a Stroller: key differences

Let’s cut right to the chase and get straight into answering the question what’s the difference between a pram and a stroller.

A pram is an absolute necessity for newborns.

It’s basically a carrycot on wheels, which is ideal for newborn babies who need to lie flat. Prams look just like the one pictured below.

They’re bigger and bulkier than strollers. But they’re designed specifically for newborns, and usually suitable for babies from birth up to the age of around 6 months.

Strollers are a lightweight pushchair that you might want to use when your baby is able to hold her own head up.

A stroller is not at all suitable for newborns, and could put their lives (certainly their health and physical development) at risk.

The picture above is an example of a stroller. There are some obvious differences when you compare the image of the pram with this one of the stroller.

Most notably, strollers have a chair-like design. Many do say they can be fully reclined to a lie-flat position, but this would still be unsuitable for a newborn baby.

Also, many strollers are designed for the child to be outward-facing. With a newborn baby, you really want to be able to see their face. Not only will this be comforting for them as their vision develops and they can see further, but it also enables you to keep checking on them to make sure they’re okay.

Related: 12 Best Strollers Under £200 (Great for Toddlers!)

What’s a Pram?

baby in a pram - If you're expecting your first baby, you might be wondering what's the difference between a pram and a stroller. Here we'll uncover the main differences and discover why you'll probably need both - eventually.
Baby in a pram

Pram is short for perambulator, and literally means someone who walks for pleasure. But the word pram has long since been used to describe the equipment used for taking babies out without having to carry them.

A pram is very much like a carrycot on wheels. It has sturdy sides and a flat bottom with a mattress, which enables baby to lie-flat. The NHS advises that the safest position for baby to sleep is flat on their back on a firm mattress, which is why a pram is a newborn essential.

Prams usually have a cover that can be pulled up, or folded away, to keep the sun off baby.

Related: How to Keep Baby Cool in Summer

Generally speaking, prams are quite bulky and need to be disassembled to fit in the boot of a car or under-stairs cupboard.

You’ll also need to buy a couple of pram sheets like these to protect the mattress in the pram. Often these are the same size as moses basket mattresses, but do check the dimensions to be sure.

What is a Stroller?

Kid in a stroller - If you're expecting your first baby, you might be wondering what's the difference between a pram and a stroller. Here we'll uncover the main differences and discover why you'll probably need both - eventually.
Toddler in a stroller

A stroller is a lightweight pushchair.

They tend to have small wheels and are easily collapsible using a mechanism called an umbrella fold. The umbrella fold means that strollers are quick and easy to fold away, which can be a godsend in bad weather. And strollers with the umbrella fold system become really compact when they’re not in use, so they’re space-savers for storage.

Strollers are not suitable for newborns because newborn babies cannot hold their heads up by themselves. In fact we didn’t have a stroller with GinGin at all and only bought one for Roo when she was able to walk as a toddler.

We got Roo a stroller when she was a toddler purely because we needed a smaller pushchair to take on a long car journey to save boot space.

What is a Pushchair?

baby in a pushchair - If you're expecting your first baby, you might be wondering what's the difference between a pram and a stroller. Here we'll uncover the main differences and discover why you'll probably need both - eventually.
Baby in a pushchair

Like a stroller, a pushchair is essentially a seat on wheels.

Pushchairs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

Some have three wheels, some have four.

And some have big wheels while other pushchairs have small wheels. Big wheels are best if you plan to take your baby over rough ground in the pushchair. Small wheels are more suited to pavements, shopping centres and concreted areas.

There are pushchairs that recline all the way to the lie-flat position, and some that enable baby to face inwards (facing their care-giver) or switch round to face outwards (looking out to the world).

Some pushchairs come with a hugger or foot muff for cold weather, or a rain cover for wet weather. It’s well worth investing in a parasol to keep the sun off baby while she’s in the pushchair.

Many pushchairs claim to be suitable for babies from birth. However, I wouldn’t advise this at all. Even if the pushchair claims to lie-flat. This is because pushchairs do not offer the optimal flat, firm mattress in the same way prams do.

Difference Between Pushchair and Stroller

There is very little difference between pushchairs and strollers. Strollers are smaller, more lightweight. They’re more easily collapsible than pushchairs and prams. And strollers are more suitable for babies over 6 months, or even in the toddler years.

Pushchairs are more substantial than strollers. Pushchairs are often sold as part of a baby travel system, whereas strollers are not.

What’s a Travel System?

I remember when I was pregnant with GinGin and feeling massively overwhelmed by the different options there are to transport babies.

It didn’t occur to me before then that I didn’t really know what is the difference between a pushchair, buggy and pram.

After a lot of research I discovered that investing in a baby travel system was probably going to be the most cost effective way to get everything we needed.

Different brands include different things in their baby travel systems. We opted for one by Mamas & Papas, similar to this one, because it was a brand we knew and trusted.

It wasn’t the cheapest, or most expensive, but our Mama’s & Papa’s travel system included a car seat, carrycot, pushchair, foot muff, rain cover, parasol and inter-changeable chassis.

Essentially a travel system will include everything you need to take your baby out from the day she’s born until she can walk long distances by herself.

It usually works out cheaper to buy a baby travel system, than it does to buy all the bits and pieces separately – even if you don’t use them all.

Is a Travel System Necessary?

Having said that, investing in a travel system is not always necessary. If you don’t drive, or live in the centre of a city, you might not need a car seat.

If you walk everywhere, you might only need a pram for your newborn and then a baby carrier for when she’s bigger.

My advice would be to have a look at the different travel system options available. See what combinations there are, and think realistically about what you will need.

Don’t be tempted to buy a travel system if all you really need is a pushchair.

Pram or Stroller for Newborn Babies?

The answer to this question couldn’t be more straightforward to answer. Quite simply strollers are not suitable for newborns.

Prams are specifically designed for newborn babies. And they offer the safest mode of travel for babies when it comes to a choice between a stroller, pushchair, buggy and pram.

Which is Better Stroller or Pram?

This question is a littler trickier to answer.

A pram is definitely best when it comes to newborn babies and babies that cannot hold their head up independently.

However, once baby is a little older and able to keep themselves upright, it’s probably time to move on to a pushchair.

Strollers are perfect for toddlers.

Difference Between Pram and Stroller: FAQs

What Type of Pram Should I Buy?

There are so many different prams to choose from. I remember spending 4 hours in just one shop testing out all the different models of pram and pushchair to see which I liked best.

My advice would be to set your budget first. Then think about what your needs are. The next thing to consider is the brand. Do you need a pram that’s en vogue or would a budget version suit your lifestyle just as well?

We opted to purchase a baby travel system where the carrycot pram, car seat and pushchair were essentially a pram and pushchair combo. This meant the travel system grew with our baby and we didn’t need to buy anything extra.

How Much Should I Spend on a Pram?

You can buy a Hauck travel system like this one for under two hundred pounds. Or you could go for full on extravagance with a Balmoral Silver Cross pram, which will set you back close to £1800!

The question you should be asking yourself is how much can you afford to spend on a pram, or travel system. Set your budget first and then shop around to find the best quality pram that fits your needs.

It’s also worth remembering that if you buy a good quality pram, it will most likely last for any future babies you might have. Or, if you don’t plan to have anymore children, and you keep the pram in good condition, you could sell it. Pre-loved baby items in good condition are always in demand.

How Long Should a Baby Lie Flat in a Pram?

Babies should lie flat in a pram from birth until they are around 6 months old. This is the safest position for a baby to be in.

Why Do Babies Need to Lie Flat?

Newborns need to lie flat so they can breathe properly. As the lungs are one of the last organs to develop before baby is born, they need all the help they can get to maximise the amount of oxygen baby absorbs when she breathes in. If she’s hunched over slightly, her oxygen intake will be effected.

Moreover, babies need to lie flat to help their spine and pelvis develop properly. This is why a pram is a newborn essential.

Can Babies Sleep in a Pram Overnight?

No. Babies should not be left to sleep in a pram overnight. Even if the pram is like a carrycot, it is not designed for baby to sleep in unsupervised for long periods of time – such as overnight.

A pram or carrycot is hard on the sides and underneath the mattress. It is not made from a breathable material in the same way moses baskets or bassinets are.

The NHS has important advice to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). They provide clear and easy to follow advice on the best practice for sleeping babeies.

Do You Really Need a Stroller for a Newborn?

No. Strollers are not suitable for newborn babies. Newborn babies should go in a pram. When your baby can hold her head up by herself, around 6 months old, she can go in a pushchair.

You might decide that you don’t need a stroller at all. It is not essential for baby. Remember a stroller is simply a lightweight version of a pushchair. You’re more likely to need a stroller when your baby has reached the toddler stage.

What is a Good Stroller for a 3 Year Old?

I wrote a whole article about the best strollers for toddlers that you might find helpful.

What Next?

Read these posts next or bookmark them for later:

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If you're expecting your first baby, you might be wondering what's the difference between a pram and a stroller. Here we'll uncover the main differences and discover why you'll probably need both - eventually.
If you're expecting your first baby, you might be wondering what's the difference between a pram and a stroller. Here we'll uncover the main differences and discover why you'll probably need both - eventually.
Jennie (GinGin & Roo)
Jennie (GinGin & Roo)

Hi, I’m Jennie and I’m the blogger and content creator behind the award-winning blog GinGin & Roo, a UK parenting and lifestyle blog.

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  1. Marnie
    July 28, 2021 / 11:37 pm

    This is so helpful! Thank you for all the tips to help understand the differences and which is most suitable. Marnie xx

    • July 29, 2021 / 10:37 am

      Hi Marnie,

      You’e most welcome 🙂 Getting ready for baby’s arrival can be an absolute minefield. The important thing to remember about the difference between a pram and stroller is that strollers are not suitable for newborns.

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