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In 1733, the Duke of Devonshire requested William Kent to develop a moving contraption to transport his children from place to place. Kent took up the challenge and created the first version of what we now know as baby strollers. From Kent’s wicker, shell-shaped basket, moderations to the baby carriage grew with inclusions of features such as brakes, foldable versions, parasol placements, and umbrella hangers. Thus the perambulator from centuries ago evolved into the modern pushchair or buggy that we’re currently familiar with.
Considered essential for parents with kids, baby strollers are popular all over the world. Available in a range of sizes, colors, patterns, and features, it’s not hard to see why many parents have a ton of questions about the kind of stroller that suits their needs best.
Another common query surrounds the baby stroller age limit. When should babies be weaned off stroller usage? In this article, we’ll explore the stroller age range.
The ‘Right’ Age to Stop Using a Stroller
The bottom line is that, much like breastfeeding, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ age to limit your child’s stroller use. That said, there definitely are suggestions as to when it becomes a good plan to stop using your reliable stroller.
It’s interesting to note that the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t have any official guidelines for when the best time to stop using a baby stroller is. However, pediatricians recommend that children can begin moving away from strollers at around three years of age.
Naturally, there are science and medical studies to back this suggestion up. Doctors say that by the age of three, children should be walking and running without too many issues, and certainly without the need for a baby stroller. Independence and fine motor development also factor into why three years sounds like a good time to begin your child’s transition from a stroller.
The Benefits of Transitioning Out of the Stroller
Let’s face it, handy baby strollers really do make parenting that much more convenient. It’s much easier to use one than it is to carry your child everywhere or even to keep track of them as they run around all over the place. Parenting is exhausting and strollers cut down on that tiredness a bit. But as desirable as these benefits are, they can be outweighed by the benefits of transitioning your kids out of their strollers.
According to studies, prolonged use of the baby stroller might negatively impact a child’s strength at conditioning. It’s simple if you break it down — a child that’s more accustomed to walking or running is likely to grow stronger in a physical sense. A child in a stroller likely walks less than its stroller-less counterpart, which may hinder its strength and conditioning in childhood.
Add this to the fact that most pediatric doctors suggest that by that age, kids should get at least 60 minutes of activity every day and it becomes clear that continued stroller use might not be the best idea.
There are certain social and emotional benefits to transitioning out of baby stroller use. Admittedly, this can be a frustrating process at the beginning, but persistence is key and the results speak for themselves, in volumes. For one, stopping stroller use means that your kids are presented with an opportunity to develop safety skills that are invaluable to their future functioning. When they’re not dependent on their baby stroller, kids can start practicing holding hands to walk around, learn how to stop at crosswalks, and figure out how to look both ways to stay alert while crossing or in crowds.
One of the biggest joys of childhood is exploring. Little kids love to fuel their curiosities by learning about the world through physical discoveries. Transitioning them out of their strollers helps feed this habit in a really good way. It might mean that you have a bit more work when it comes to monitoring them as parents, but the outcomes are far greater than this slight pain point.
Stroller transitioning also means that kids get to develop their social skills in a big way. Children pick up on social skills not only by observing the adults around them but also by being able to experiment with social interactions themselves. Having them out of their baby strollers gives them a bigger chance of doing this exactly.
Of course, as with every rule, this one has exceptions too. If you’re a parent who regularly has to move your child through crowded areas, it might make sense to keep your stroller around for this specific use until your kid is even four or five years old. This includes public transport and other crowded areas. It’s also perfectly acceptable for children with disabilities to count on
stroller use for longer periods of time.
The Physical Benefits of Transitioning Out of The Stroller
Most parents agree that little kids should actually be called little pods of energy. Kids are filled with loads of energy and it’s important that they have access to an outlet for this in a healthy way.
The best outlet for this is good, reliable playtime and exercise. Kids need to get used to walking, a form of exercise that does wonders for their heart, lungs and muscles. Parents also know that toddlers and babies that are tired out and have spent their pent-up energy are more likely to sleep well at night. Most of all, walking and regular exercise helps instill a sense of value for physical activities that might serve your child well into adulthood. It’s never too early to start cultivating a healthy lifestyle for your child.
How to Handle Stroller Regression
If you have more than one kid, you’ll see how easy it is for the older one to suddenly want some of the things that the baby has to use. Strollers are no exception, with many parents complaining about how their toddlers who had no interest in their prams wanted to climb back into them after seeing their baby siblings using it.
A tried and tested trick to solve this involves the use of glider boards. Now every time your older child whines about wanting to use the stroller that the baby is in, you can try attaching the glider board to the stroller so that they can move around on it while you push the stroller. More often than not, your older one will lose interest in the glider board and switch to walking or running instead.
Important Safety Issues to Keep in Mind
Although pediatric doctors have no specific rules on when strollers should be stopped, there are certainly some physical limitations for the same. Most strollers have a weight limit — some very flexible ones — that you should take a careful note of before you purchase one. Aside from the weight limit, you should also check to ensure that your stroller has straps that can prevent your toddler from crawling out of it.
A couple of additional precautionary measures include not leaving your child unattended or by themselves in their stroller. Keeping strollers away from the sun is another piece of good advice that prevents plastic parts from getting damaged or from becoming so hot that it burns your child. Hanging other belongings to the back of the baby stroller might seem like an easy thing to do, but beware of how it might cause it to tip over. Always remember to put the brakes of your stroller on when it’s in stationary mode. Lastly, don’t forget to register your baby stroller with the manufacturer. That way you’ll be in the know in case there are any safety recalls.
Similar to breastfeeding, the debate around when a baby can ride in a stroller seems to be endless. And much like breastfeeding, there really is no concrete or decisive answer. No two families are the same and thus their values and approaches to parenting will differ. In fact, no two kids are the same. You might see that while your older child outgrew their stroller soon after two years of age, your younger one might be comfortable in one long after.
At the end of the day, the person who knows what works best for their kids and their family is you. It might well be the case that your child who doesn’t normally use a stroller might be happier in one when you’re on a busy city street that’s packed with people and vehicles. Or if you’re running errands with your toddler in tow, it might just be less stressful for you to use a stroller instead of lugging many grocery bags and carrying or monitoring your child.
Trust in your parental instincts to make a good decision and stick to them! Parents have a hard enough time without people judging them so ignore factoring what other people might think into your decision to stop or continue relying on your baby stroller for your child.