When Should Your Child Stop Using a Stroller?
Strollers: A Parent’s Helpful Companion
Strollers have become such a necessity in people’s parenting lives. In fact, we can consider strollers as our companions throughout our journey as parents. Strollers have been making the lives of parents a whole lot easier for decades now. Strolling products make parents’ lives easier by providing a more effortless way of transporting the baby instead of carrying the baby with their arms and hip. Strolling products are the perfect solution to being on the move and getting things done without having to lug your precious baby around. Strollers provide comfort not only to you, but to your baby as well.
More often than not, we want to maximize our every investment. You purchased that quality stroller with an expectation of using it for years to come. A stroller that has made your life so much easier is hard to let go, yes? Such a loyal companion deserves to stay right by your side. Or does it? There is an eventual end to you and your stroller’s companionship. There will come a time when you won’t need a stroller anymore. More importantly, there will come a time when you shouldn’t need a stroller anymore. The question is when. Just when do kids stop using strollers? How old is too old for a stroller? When can baby sit in stroller without car seat? What is the stroller age limit? What is the stroller age range? Too much questions to ask, yes.
What are the conveniences offered by a stroller?
Investing on a stroller is always a good idea. It is one of the essential childcare products that you’re sure to use frequently, if not on a daily basis. It is easy to understand why one can easily come to rely on strollers. Here are the benefits of using a stroller:
- Easy on your back, hip, and arms. Pushing your child with the use of a stroller is certainly a lot less work than having to carry him in your arms. Using a stroller is simply easier and it saves you a lot of body pain at the end of the day.
- Relaxing for your baby. A gentle stroll can prove to be soothing and refreshing for your baby. It’s an easy way for you to get your baby some sunlight and some fresh air.
- Gives protection to you baby. Strollers keep your baby safe from possible harmful elements when you are on the go. Your baby is kept in a safe environment while you move him here and there. There is a sunshade to shield him from the sun, a protective frame to brace him from impacts, and a safety harness to keep him in place.
- Convenient storage compartments. Carry your stuff with you as you go. Most strollers come with enough storage compartments that will allow you to take all of your baby’s essentials. Bring your baby’s extra clothes, diaper bag, snacks and toys. There’s room for plenty that you can even afford to do some light shopping of your own. Easily hang your light grocery takeaways on your baby’s stroller hooks. Oh, and did we mention how it’s so much easier to shop when you have both of your hands free?
- Lets you get some exercise done. Strolling lets you get some exercise done while spending quality time with your baby. How convenient is that? Normal strollers can handle brisk walks but a more specialized stroller is needed should you want to do some jogging. Jogging strollers are equipped with additional suspension systems that will give your baby a smoother ride while you are out for a run.
What are the basic types of stroller?
Before discussing the age appropriateness of strollers, let us first discuss the types of stroller. Here are the basic types of stroller that you might find available on the market today:
- Car seat strollers. Car seat strollers are exactly how they sound. They function as both your baby’s car seat and stroller. A car seat stroller may come in the form of a car seat “frame” where in a compatible car seat will click onto. These car seat frames, also called as car seat carrier strollers, are made of lightweight frames with no seat of its own. They are so designed to accommodate certain stroller models. A car seat stroller may also come in the form of a transformable car seat. Transformable car seats have stroller frames that can fold under the seat when the seat needs to be installed in a vehicle base during car trips.
- Standard-sized strollers. These strollers are the most common type of strollers. Also called as traditional strollers, standard-sized strollers come with complete features, which include completely padded seats, storage compartments, food trays, and bigger wheels than an umbrella stroller. They are made of heavy and sturdy frames. Traditional strollers have seats with adjustable recline to accommodate your sleeping child or simply provide support to your newborn when he has no full control of his head yet.
- Umbrella strollers. Umbrella strollers are lightweight strollers that often come with curved handles, like those of an umbrella. They are less bulky compared to standard-sized strollers, and are thus easier to fold and store. Umbrella strollers are great for quick trips and traveling.
- Jogging strollers. These strollers are designed specifically for jogging or running. They are equipped with a hand brake, foot-brake and larger, air-filled tires. Jogging strollers are built in such a way so that your baby gets a smooth and safe ride while you go out for a run.
- Double strollers. These strollers are two-seater strollers that seat children side-by-side or in tandem orientation. Double strollers are helpful when you have multiple kids that you need to transport.
Choosing strollers according to your child’s age
Given that strollers are available in different types and models, how do you know which one to buy for your child? Buying the right stroller means buying the stroller that is right for your child’s age.
Newborn to six months of age
A baby that is below six months of age will have little to no neck and head control. You will need a stroller that can provide stability, support and comfort. The stroller of your choice should be able to recline fully in order to safely support your child. This will allow your child to comfortably lie flat on his back. The stroller should have a good suspension system that will absorb bounces and prevent your baby from getting disturbed.
If you expect to drive frequently with your child, a travel system or a car seat stroller might be a good investment for you. When you have a stroller that can accommodate a car seat, you will not have to wake your baby up every time you need to move him in and out of the car. It will save you the time and trouble of having to buckle and unbuckle your baby each time. A wise move is to go for an inexpensive stroller frame since the first six months of your baby’s life will pass more quickly than you think. Once your baby gains the ability to sit up on his own, which should be in no time, you may splurge on a pricier full-sized stroller.
If you will not be driving too much or when moving your baby in and out of a car seat is not much of a concern, you may opt to get a stroller with a bassinet attachment. Aside from being able to double as a mini crib, strolling with bassinet attachments are much simpler than fiddling with the adaptors of a car seat.
Six to twelve months of age
Now that your precious cargo can sit up on his own, you will need a stroller that has plenty of room. More importantly, it should have plenty of support. Your baby’s stroller should come with enough padding to provide a comfortable cushioning. The recline should be adjustable so you can find your child’s sweet spot as he grows. A safety five-point harness should also be considered in order to ensure your baby is snug and secured while you are on the move. By this time, you may start considering a stroller that fits your lifestyle. If you are a regular runner, you may start thinking about getting a jogging stroller. Or perhaps a lightweight umbrella stroller is the way to go for you? They are portable and work great for quick trips. You could also always get the ever reliable standard-sized stroller.
Strolling is one the best ways to bond with your child. Take advantage of the fact that at this age, your child can start seeing your face. You might want to consider a stroller that can be set to face forward or backward so that you may orient your baby however you want. Face your baby towards you when he is awake to get those bonding moments going.
Eighteen to twenty four months of age
Once your baby begins to sit up on his own, you will be more comfortable taking him out for longer walks in the park or taking him along with you while you do your errands. Your child is quickly becoming more curious about his surrounding, and like a sponge, he will want to soak in everything that is around him. He is becoming more independent, too. This means he will be getting in and out of his stroller. A lot. And when he’s out of his stroller, you’ll probably have to fold it up and carry it.
Choose a stroller that folds easily, without you having to make a fuss over it. It should be lightweight, as well. Safety is always a major concern so a five-point harness is still the best way to go. Watch out for potential pinch points where your child’s fingers may get caught in when he’s resting his hand on the stroller while walking and exploring. An often overlooked feature of a stroller is its maneuverability. Get a stroller that is easy to control even with just one hand. Remember that this is the age when your toddler will often want to walk and hold your hand, instead of ride on the stroller. This will leave you with one hand to steer and operate the stroller.
When to transition out of using a stroller
Recently, there had been parenting debates over stroller usage. Some parents have received flak for their apparent overuse of strollers. Pictures of parents chauffeuring around children who have outgrown their strollers and seem to be old enough to walk on their own have circulated the net. While some saw the issue as a joke, some more concerned people relate the overuse of strollers to child laziness and irresponsible parenting.
Experts believe that a child should be transitioning out of a stroller around three years of age. While some manufacturers produce strollers that can handle a weight of 50 pounds, this should not be taken as license to keep using the stroller. Just because a child can still fit into his stroller does not mean he should be in one. A stroller is only appropriate for newborns with no neck and head control, and younger toddlers who don’t have enough stamina for long walks. At age four and five, a stroller may still be appropriate under certain circumstances, like when you are in a crowded place or on public transit.
Growing and developing children need the right amount of exercise. Allow them a good stretch of legs by letting them walk on their own. The child will be discouraged to be active and independent if he becomes accustomed to riding instead of walking. He will have a hard time developing strength and conditioning. Letting your child use a stroller well past his toddlerhood can only do a disservice to himself, and to his growth and development. Parents often have a hard time letting their children transition out of strollers because strolling had become so convenient to both them, the parents, and the child. We should realize that we are only creating a longer-term problem. We have become so dependent that sometimes it’s hard to let go of the stroller. It’s time we take our hands off the stroller handles, and firmly hold our child’s hand as we go for a stroll.