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Understanding Clamshell versus Umbrella Strollers

When nice weather happens, there are a lot more opportunities to be out and about. You need a stroller for your child with special needs and the options available on the market today are overwhelming. What does it even mean when choosing between a Clamshell and an Umbrella style stroller? Is this a term that is only referring to the way the stroller folds? The differences may be more significant than you think.

Clamshell Strollers

Special Tomato EIO: Clamshell Style Stroller


  • Collapse during folding in a forward/ backward direction without reduction in width.
  • Firm seat and back which prevents width reduction during folding will accommodate more substantial postural supports.
  • Usually have reclining seat backs.
  • Appropriate for newborns and older.
  • Usually have suspension systems that produce a smoother ride.
  • Often referred to as a travel system, these strollers are usually heavier than an umbrella stroller but with the increased weight they are ready to support your child comfortably during extended outings that may include lying down for a nap.
  • Usually includes lots of storage space.

Umbrella Strollers

Convaid Cruiser: Umbrella Style Stroller


  • Collapse during folding first draws the sides in reducing width, then folds forward and back. Result - a more compactly folded stroller that looks like an umbrella
  • Fabric seat and back which allows for width reduction during folding offers less supportive seat and back and less substantial postural supports when available.
  • Often have fixed tilt to seat to aide with postural control by leaning child back into gravity.
  • Appropriate for children from 6 months old who have developing postural control.
  • Do not usually have suspension systems.
  • The hallmark of an umbrella stroller is its lightweight, portable convenience.
  • Storage space is limited

Here are examples of each type of stroller to compare. The popular Special Tomato EIO Push Chair is a perfect example of a top-quality clamshell style stroller designed for children with mild to moderate physical involvement. This stroller comes standard with many features (12!) that are considered upgrades on similar strollers. You will not find a special needs stroller on the market that gives you more for your money. The Convaid Cruiser Stroller is an umbrella stroller that offers many optional accessories for positioning in addition to its lightweight, portable convenience.

Take some time, figure out the ways in which you will use your stroller, then choose a stroller that will best support your needs. A stroller that is practical and convenient for you and safe and comfortable for your child.

Happy Strolling!