Have you purchased a new stroller for the outside-of-the-home adventures you’ll have with your baby? Does figuring out how to fold it seem to require a PhD?
Don’t feel bad. There are so many brands and models of strollers available and they don’t all have the same folding mechanism. It feels like a conspiracy to make parents feel stupid when they can’t figure out simple baby gear.
Most newer models are reasonably easy to fold, some with just one hand. Older models might need two hands and a little more effort. To help you out, we’ll look at how to fold a stroller and some pitfalls you may encounter along the way.
How to Fold a Stroller
There are two reasons you might want to fold a stroller.
- Saving room: Less bulky for storing when not in use.
- Transportation: Easier to transport in a vehicle or on public transport.
Despite folding mechanisms not being the same across all strollers, here are some uniform steps to take:
1. Use the Brakes
Prior to folding, engage the brakes if your model has them, and lock any swivel wheels in position.
The brake levers/mechanisms are usually located on the rear wheels.
Swivel wheels tend to be at the front of the stroller and usually have a lever that locks them in position. However, some may have a push button on the side of the stroller or are operated via the handlebar.
2. Retract the Canopy
Take hold of the front of the canopy and pull it back toward the rear of the stroller, in the direction of the handlebar.
3. Remove Accessories
All accessories should be removed before you start to fold the stroller. Common accessories include sunshades, food trays, and cup holders.
If a piece isn’t crucial for the stroller, consider it to be an accessory and remove it prior to folding.
4. Locking Mechanism
There should be some sort of catch, lever, push button, or handle that releases the frame’s locking mechanism. It could also be a combination of a push button in the handle and a lever on the side.
If you’re unsure, refer to the user manual. Attempting to force any mechanism can result in damage to the working parts.
5. The Folding Action
Most strollers fold by pushing the handles toward the front of the stroller, folding at the middle. The result is the handles sitting over the front wheels.
They should have a latch that then locks the stroller closed.
Top Stroller Folding Tips
Here are some key things you need to be aware of when folding a stroller:
- Safety: Make sure your child is safely away from the stroller when you begin the process so their fingers aren’t pinched. Watch out for your fingers as well (1).
- Make sure it’s dry: Folding and storing a wet or damp stroller can lead to mold or mildew. Wipe it down with a towel or let it air dry outside first.
- No obstructions: There might be fabric or straps sticking out that stop the stroller from collapsing. Maybe you left something in the basket underneath the buggy? Remove these obstructions and try again.
- Warped frame: Bent metal catches or a kink in the frame could stop your stroller from folding. Grab some pliers to straighten out metal catches, or straighten the frame while the stroller is unfolded.
- Lubrication: Joints and catches can sometimes seize on a stroller, especially if it’s stored outside in a garage or porch. Use a lubricant to get them moving again. Consult the user manual for a recommended product, or try WD-40.
- Don’t force it: There may be times when your stroller won’t fold properly. Don’t force it; take it back to the store. Forcing it to close could cause serious damage to you and the product.
Addressing the Folding of Different Brands
Wouldn’t it be so much easier if all strollers folded the same way? That will happen at about the same time when pigs learn to fly.
We can’t make an exhaustive list of how every stroller model folds. But we’ve got you covered with some folding steps for the more popular brands:
1. Graco Strollers
Older Graco Models
- Set the brakes: A lever near the rear wheels activates them.
- Lock the swivel wheels: If your model has them, lock them in place.
- Test the brakes: Give the stroller a push.
- Collapse the canopy: Simply fold it back.
- Recline the seat: Make sure to recline it as far as possible. Some models might have a catch to release the recline action.
- Check for a handle: Look near the base of the seat for a handle. Some will fold by pulling on this handle. Others might also require you to push down a button in the center of the stroller handle.
- Fold: The stroller should now fold by pushing the handles toward the base.
Newer Graco Models
Many newer Graco models have a one-hand release to fold them. Complete steps 1–5 as above and then:
- Locate the release handle: This is in the seat of the stroller, usually located below where your child would sit.
- Pull the handle: The stroller should fold in on itself, with the handles moving toward the wheels.
If you are still unsure how your Graco stroller should fold, check your manual or visit the manufacturer’s website where they have instructions.
2. BOB Strollers
BOB makes a variety of jogging strollers, which are popular with fitness buffs. They have an easy-to-close fold mechanism.
To fold a BOB stroller:
- Release the handlebar: Push in the two buttons located on both sides of the handlebar.
- Push the handlebar: Push it forward until it clicks.
- Engage the brake: Use your foot by pushing down on the lever. It’s located at the rear left side of the stroller.
- Squeeze up the levers: These are located at the base on either side of the handlebar frame.
- Push the handlebar: Forward, over the seat.
- Tug on the red handle: It should now be on top of the folded seat. Tug it and the stroller will collapse.
- Connect the buckles: Close the stroller by connecting the two red buckles situated between the wheels.
3. Britax Strollers
Britax has several easy-fold strollers. To collapse and store them, take these steps:
- Brakes: Engage them.
- Shopping basket: Fold in the shopping basket underneath the stroller.
- Release the levers: They are located on either side of the handlebar.
- Handlebar: Fold the handlebar forward while stepping back.
- Lock: Make sure the stroller hinges lock together to hold the stroller closed.
4. Baby Trend Strollers
Baby Trend is a company designing strollers for the active moms out there. Many have a one-hand fold design.
To fold them:
- Brakes: Engage them.
- Levers or release buttons: Either pull up the two trigger-style levers at each side of the handle or squeeze together the release buttons in the center of the handle.
- Fold: Fold the handle over toward the front wheel.
5. Chicco Strollers
Another popular brand is Chicco. It also uses a one-hand release fold system. To fold it:
- Brakes: Engage them.
- Lift the black release handle: Located at the top of the stroller, just behind the handlebar.
- Storage tray: Place one foot on the lip of the storage tray.
- Fold: Push down with your foot and lift the black release handle at the same time.
- Canopy: Reach forward with one hand and grasp the edge of the canopy, with the other hand holding on to the handlebar. Pull the canopy toward the handlebar.
- Secure the handlebar: Push the two buttons on either side of the handlebar to fold it down.
Ready to Fold
Folding a stroller is an art — you’ll get better at it with practice. Once you have mastered the basics it’s a breeze to locate the releases and collapse your stroller. This is a necessary part of stroller ownership so you can store and transport it easily.
All strollers are different, so you might need to check your manufacturer’s instructions for your particular model. Be sure to do this instead of guessing.
If you’ve followed our advice, you should now have greater insight into how to fold a stroller.
Please feel free to leave us a comment and don’t forget to share this article — there are other moms and dads out there who are fighting a battle right now!