When should I stop using the stroller?

The odds are pretty good that, at some point in Baby’s life, you’ve spent some time pushing him around in a stroller. Like so many parents who transport their kids this way, there are a couple of questions you’ve probably thought about. First, why are there no strollers for adults? And second, when will Baby be ready to ditch the stroller and start walking by themselves?

As is the case with lots of things like this, the time when Baby leaves stroller-hood behind depends on a variety of factors. Sometimes it’s the parents who don’t want to part with the stroller; other times, it’s the little ones who resist the transition.

Strollin’ it up

Strollers aren’t just used for transporting kids around; they can help parents with lots of other little tasks, including:

  • Storage: That stroller you’re pushing around is basically a mobile coat rack, shelf, pantry, and diaper bag all in one.
  • Safety and supervision: Keeping Baby in a stroller helps you know exactly where he is at all times, and makes it a little easier to stick together if the two of you are in crowded areas or near roads.
  • Slumber: If Baby gets sleepy while in transit, he can climb in, sit down, and snooze; meanwhile, the two of you keep moving.
  • Opportunity: Strollers give parents the chance to go outside, move around, and get some physical activity. Without a stroller, the two of you could only go half the distance.

Why retire the stroller?

Once Baby has been walking or running comfortably on his own for a while, the stroller will eventually start edging closer and closer to retirement. Here are some of the reasons why many parents decide to ix-nay the oller-stray.

  • Independence and an increased ability to explore: Children can run around and investigate more when they’re walking on their own. It’s one thing for Baby to see the world from the seat of the stroller, and quite another for him to be able to go wherever he wants – within reason, of course.
  • Exercise: Walking or running will strengthen Baby’s leg muscles, and he will probably be more inclined to walk or run around if he doesn’t have a stroller as an option to turn to.
  • Better sleep at night: The added exercise from moving around could help children get a better night’s sleep. Sounds like a dream, right?

The bottom line on stroller retirement

The truth is, there’s no right answer in regards to how long parents should use strollers. Most experts recommend that once a child can walk or run for extended periods of time, parents should start encouraging them to do so without a stroller nearby. Of course, this may not always be the best choice. On hot days, long walks, or trips that need to be completed quickly, a stroller might be necessary, even if Baby is a great walker.

It’s probably best if you use your own judgment in determining when a stroller is needed, and to keep an eye on Baby to assess when he no longer seems to need the option of a moving seat – or when you no longer need the option of a rolling dresser drawer!


Sources
  • Catherine S. Berkin, et al. “Parents’ perceptions of stroller use in young children: a qualitative study.” BMC Public Health. 2015 15:808. Web. August 2015.

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