Upright strollers - which strollers have an upright seat? Why don't all pushchairs feature an upright seat back?
TL;DR: Very few strollers feature an upright backrest - mainly because the design is hard to do if you take the folding and the recline mechanisms into account. A strap-operated backrest is even rarer to sit upright. Bucket-type strollers are usually more upright - and even if not, their ergonomic shape holds the child more secure in the seat, without the risk of sliding down/slanting.
An upright seat is actually rather rare to see on a stroller, did you know? I mean, you probably do if you were searching for such a pushchair. The thing is, not many backrests sit 90 degrees straight (or very close to it), because the design, along with the folding (that we all want to be the most compact possible) and the recline (that also needs side and back parts to take place) is simply rather hard to do. Almost every backrest is at least a little slanted - and it's not a bad thing.
Another thing to think of is the strap recline mechanism - and these are almost always at least partially reclined even in the most upright position of the seatback. They do have their advantages - the pushchairs with a strap recline are usually lighter and also more affordable because it is a simpler solution and a non-costly design. There are exceptions - like the ABC Design Okini stroller that sits quite upright, even if not 100%, of course. A Stokke Scoot is also a special case with no lever no strap - I mean, there are side straps, but it's a bit different... - and this is a VERY upright stroller as well.
The lever-operated reclines are better off, even though still not perfect in most of cases (the Joie strollers with lever recline are OK, but not completely upright for sure). However, if you look at the Peg-Pérego strollers (mainly the Book line), the GB Maris, or the better umbrella strollers - like the Silver Cross Reflex, they do feature a pretty much 90-degree upright sitting position. On the other hand, some moms do consider them bulky for their stroller category. Well, well.
A thing to mention would also be the reversible pushchairs with a bucket-type seat (also called ergonomic, L- or V-shaped seat unit). These are usually more upright than not, AND - thanks to the ergonomic, shaped leg rest, they usually feel more secure, and the child is well supported, so it doesn't slide down as in the slanted, non-upright lie-flat seats that do not feature an upright sitting position.
An important fact is also that not all children need or want an upright seat. Some so, just as some like to be half-reclined all the time, or some hate the carrycot... we all have our wants and needs - and so do babies and toddlers. Don't overestimate the power of an upright seat - I mean, my kids usually liked the bucket seats the most (our favourite being the Seed Papilio with a very specific cocoon-style bucket-seat, also not the most upright), but were perfectly happy even in a slanted seat, if it was a quality, well-padded and well-made seat unit.
Look how your kid is sitting in the stroller, if it's holding the bumper bar to see better (then it's going to favor a more upright seat almost for sure), or if it's simply happy even without it. No obsessing about a thing you don't even need ;-) The child feels if you're nervous about a stroller and will start to not like it as well.
If unsure, go for a Bucket-style seat - pros and cons of such you'll find in this guide... Or go to a shop to actually try the prams and pushchairs with your little one to see how he/she's sitting inside. Be sure to have a few tips ready first, or the child in question will choose based on the stroller's colour 😊
Some other upright strollers to look at:
- Joie Verstrax, Joie Finiti, Joie Aeria
- Bugaboo strollers - like the Cameleon or the Fox2
- Peg-Pérego Book 51 / Peg-Pérego Aria
- Chicco Goody (watch out, no ultra-compact stroller is completely upright!)
- Inflesina Aptica & Inflesina Aptica XT
- ABC Design Avus & ABC Design Okini