• Thu, Jul 31 - 2:00 pm ET

Don’t Complain About Seeing My Child In A Stroller Unless You Want To Run My Errands For Me

pushing-child-in-stroller

I can add seeing an older toddler in a stroller to the list of the things I used to judge parents about before I actually became one. Then I had a child in the city – and I realized sometimes you just really need to get things done. Has anyone ever stopped to consider that? Sometimes parents need to walk faster than a child’s pace and actually accomplish something.

The Daily Mail ran an article today titled, The four-year-olds who are still pushed around in prams, and the defiant mothers who can’t see ANYTHING wrong with it. It’s basically an article filled with moms explaining that they need to get some errands done, complete with a bunch of statistics about childhood obesity to effectively shame them for wanting to finish their shopping in under three hours. How dare they! Seriously? Have you ever taken a walk with a three-year-old? It requires epic patience – patience that you give them most of the day. But sometimes, things need to get done. Some people rely on their strollers to transport their children to and from these errands. There is nothing wrong with this.

“I’m probably a bit lazy but I use the buggy most days to make things as easy as possible for myself,” confesses Jayne, from Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire. “We drive to Oscar’s school – he would be horrified to be seen turning up in a buggy in front of his friends – but I wouldn’t consider going shopping without it. Something that takes me 20 minutes with him in a pushchair will take 40 minutes if I don’t use it.”

Here’s another amazing quote:

Jayne Warner sighs with frustration as her little boy refuses yet again to get into his buggy. ‘No! I want to walk,’ cries Oscar, shaking his head. It’s the last thing his 26-year-old mother needs. She’s facing a busy day and is anxious to get around the shopping centre as quickly as possible.

‘If you get in the buggy,’ she cajoles, I’ll give you a biscuit.’

Oscar relents and is wheeled to the supermarket, munching on a chocolate chip cookie.

Oh no! She’s shoving cookies into his mouth while “cajoling” him into the stroller. And she’s frustrated. All the little boy wants to do is walk, poor thing! Give me a break. I think he’ll survive a shopping trip in a stroller.

The writer goes on to mention that Britain is in the throes of a childhood obesity epidemic and quotes a doctor who thinks riding in strollers irreparably damages your child:

Psychologist Sally Goddard Blythe has warned that it can jeopardise brain and speech development.

‘Infants need opportunity for free movement and exploration,’ says Mrs Goddard Blythe, director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology, in Chester.

‘Social interaction also helps physical development – for example, eye contact, singing and talking. That is not happening if a child is in a forward-facing buggy.’

Did you hear that, moms? Make sure you never stop singing or taking to your kids and pushing them in a stroller is bad. Very bad. Just block out an extra few hours to run your errands so everyone stops judging you.

(photo: Volodymyr Baleha/ Shutterstock)

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  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    Oh go fuck all these judgey asshats. Seriously.

    Actual question: what IS the alternative? I actually am curious what other people do. If you’re going to, say, an amusement park or a museum or the beach for the day, and your kid still naps, what do you do if you don’t bring a stroller?

    We use a stroller on weekends because my 3 year old still naps during the day, and everything I’ve read suggests that napping is good for development, and to keep it going as long as you can (for us that’d be next year when she starts kindergarten).

    • Katherine Handcock

      Depends on the kid. Both of my kids gave up naps early, so we didn’t have to face that particular hurdle. Mostly, we just accepted that there would be alternating stretches of walking and putting them on our shoulders. In our case, neither kid was particularly amenable to strollers, either, although (thankfully) they were willing to sit in a shopping cart for grocery runs.

    • LadyClodia the Modest Rat

      For us if we go anywhere now our toddler just has to skip the nap unless he falls asleep in the car. We try to go places in the morning, so we’re done with whatever it is by his nap time. When we had gone to Disneyland Paris last year he was in a backpack carrier, but he wasn’t even 2 yet, and that was almost too much for my husband, so even though the carrier says that he’ll still fit I don’t think my husband would be able to carry him.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      Ah yes, carriers….we hardly ever used our stroller in the first year, I was starting to think it was a waste of money at that point, until she got to the point of being too heavy to carry for 10+ hours a day. I miss the carrier days.

    • LadyClodia the Modest Rat

      And the one we have is one you can use for hiking and it was rated so that our then-4yo would have been able to use it. I know very few people that could carry a 4yo on their backs for very long. I don’t think we used it at all after the trip even though the toddler still fits in it.

    • Rachel Sea

      Go off to a quiet spot and lay down on a blanket, or go home.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      Hmm. We do that sometimes (the blanket thing) and it’s lovely when it works….going home isn’t usually an option because we don’t have a car and depending on where we are, it could take us up to an hour to get home by transit…

      I guess having a car makes certain things easier.

    • Rachel Sea

      I think it just means different planning. I took my cousin lots of places before I had a driver’s license, and if he got tired, I would pick him up and he’d crash out with his head on my shoulder. Once he was asleep I could find a place to sit with him for an hour or so while he slept and I read a book.

    • WantonWhimsy

      oh, do I miss the days when my child would just fall asleep on my shoulder, that lasted maybe 2 years. At 3 he was fighting naps, and so we brought the stroller along not only for carting him around when it wasn’t ideal for him to walk but also to strap him down so he’d nap. Not that I’d have been able to hold him at 3 to allow him nap on my shoulder anyway, I’m short, his dad is tall and he’s taking after his dad. So yeah, you are right on, different families do require different planning and sometimes our planning included our stroller.

    • Rachel Sea

      Having kids fall asleep on me is my superpower. My wife might use a stroller, if it ever came necessary, but she’s got a bad back.

    • Maria Guido

      I don’t know! We decided not to move into the double-stroller category – so I still have a toddler walking next to me and I would put him in the stroller in a hot second if I could. When I take my daughter out of it – he jumps in!

    • Justme

      Easy. Don’t leave the house. Ever.

    • Bleu Cheese Bewbs

      Ha! But then the judgers will get their judgin’ on because the children are suffering by not being allowed to go outside.

    • Justme

      Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

      ^Can be used for every single parenting decision. Ever.

    • Jackie

      This exactly. Because if you don’t use a stroller and you let your toddler walk around, s/he darts off suddenly, throws a fit in an aisle, touches things, is oblivious to other people, etc. And then someone judges you for that. (Ftr, I do teach my daughter to pay attention, stay by me, not to touch when she walks with me, but she’s two, it’s going to take awhile to sink in.) And alternatives to the stroller include leashes (judgment city) and carriers (which still don’t let your kid get exercise).

    • Lilly

      I guess it depends on your kid, but mine wouldn’t handle a whole day in any one place so we usually hit whatever we are doing in the morning. He seems to prefer a later nap time though (2pm-3:30ish) so this makes it easier.
      My son is showing signs of dropping naps and he won’t be 3 till November so we have had a few days with no nap and an early bedtime and those seem to work out just as well. He also started having issues napping in the stroller when we were using it last fall so it didn’t help.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      Ah yeah totally depends on the kid I guess. Mine naps usually from 12-2, and she naps way better in her stroller than she does at home (and she prefers it, oddly enough).

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      If I was going out for the day with a child who still napped, you bet your bippy I’d be using a stroller. I’d try and plan around naps, like I do now, but life’s life and things come up.

  • LadyClodia the Modest Rat

    How is walking with a toddler that much different than pushing one in a stroller? For us when we’re walking we’re definitely not making eye contact or only rarely singing or talking. If he’s in a shopping cart then that’s different because we are face to face and I interact with him more then, but he’s still not walking.
    I wish my toddler would still sit in a stroller because it does make things easier, but he hasn’t in well over a year. We rarely go to the mall alone because it’s either too much for him to walk around or he tries to run off. The zoo is also a gigantic headache with a loose 2 year old.

    • Rachel Sea

      Have you tried a wagon?

    • Katherine Handcock

      I was just about to write that! I have a friend who swears by a good wagon. Just make sure you test out that the handle will extend high enough for you to be comfortable pulling it.

    • Rachel Sea

      I have an enormous wagon I’m teaching my elderly wolfdog to ride in. He can only walk for about a half a block before he’s exhausted, but he adores being out.

    • Katherine Handcock

      I really, REALLY love this visual.

    • Rachel Sea

      When he settles in, it basically looks like this. We’re not quite to the point where I use it on the street, though this weekend the neighborhood will probably get a show – especially if I tie the other three dogs to the front and make them pull.

    • Katherine Handcock

      Oh, man, I need a picture of three dogs pulling a fourth dog in a wagon. PLEASE take a photo if you do that.

    • Rachel Sea

      I’ll see if I can make it happen. Even if it doesn’t come together on the street, I’ll try to get a snap in the house.

    • rockmonster

      That’s adorable!

    • LadyClodia the Modest Rat

      We’ve tried, and he won’t stay seated in a wagon. It ends up being like wagon surfing. :(

    • Rachel Sea

      It sounds mean, but if you take him for a wagon ride and he stands up and scares or hurts himself a little, he’ll probably put his butt down. I’d take him and the wagon to a big grassy park and let him take a tumble on the lawn.

    • LadyClodia the Modest Rat

      (I don’t mean this to sound like I’m arguing.) That would have worked for my older son and probably for most kids. For my 2yo, though, pain is rarely a deterrent (ie he runs into a door frame, but just keeps going, or he falls off of a chair and climbs right back up) and he enjoys being scared. He’s usually challenging, but we work with it.

    • Rachel Sea

      Some kids are just full tilters. In that case I can only recommend duct tape.

    • Katherine Handcock

      There are a few wagons that include harnesses/seatbelts. Or, like @rachel_sea:disqus suggested, there’s always duct tape.

  • Rachel Sea

    People have been using prams since forever, so I think this generation will survive, but people totally do take it too far. I see able-bodied kids who are easily 7 or 8 years old cramming themselves into strollers and being pushed around. To me that’s nuts.

    • Lilly

      this site has gotten a lot of flak for calling people out but some of them are laughable:

      http://toobigforstroller.tumblr.com/

    • Zettai

      After seeing some of those pics I have to agree. I mean, if your kid’s feet are dragging on the ground…

    • OptimusPrime*

      I dunno, a lot look like kids playing around and being silly. Kind of like when teens play around on their little siblings’ trikes.

      Further, into first or second grade, I was teeny and could fit in my much younger cousin’s stroller without it looking odd. I’d not be surprised if some of the “too big” kids are actually age appropriate for strollers, just look big for their age.

    • Rachel Sea

      Many of my friends are quite tall, and so have ridiculously large children. Because they knew full well that they might have giant kids, they bought strollers and car seats and whatnot that would accommodate a two year old the size of a five year old.

    • Blahblah

      Yeah okay, I’m five three, and if my kid is as tall as me, they can walk. Some of those are a little out there.

    • Rachel Sea

      I should take a picture of the couple I see regularly. I am really confident that they are able bodied and neurotypical, because I see them most days of the school year as they go by my office window. They’re so big that they can almost drag their hands on the ground without leaning over. I’ll see if they’re still doing it when school starts back up.

    • JJ

      Damn I know some very petite women who are under 5 feet and only weight like 100 pounds or less. Maybe they could ride in a stroller too LOL. I agree there is kids who use them for disability purposes but you do see kids who are clearly way old looking even not that far off from the later years of elementary and they are sitting in a stroller. My parents would have been embarrassed to death if we had tried to ride a stroller at age 7 or 8. I’m pretty sure there response if we even asked would have been “heck no! You can walk your not a baby or a toddler”.

  • Justme

    Children do not need someone singing to them, making funny faces, and basically entertaining them AT ALL TIMES. Nor do they need free movement and exploration in every situation.

    Again, seeing a child in a stroller is just a TINY glimpse into the life of a mother and her child. Let’s not jump to the conclusion that a child is not getting any personal interaction or physical exercise just because you see them in the stroller for a brief amount of time.

  • radicalhw

    The Daily Mail must not have heard about the war happening in Gaza. Someone ought to alert them, pronto.

  • Katherine Handcock

    I will admit, I am bothered a bit by a four year old articulating, “I want to walk” and not only being encouraged to sit in the stroller, but being bribed with food specifically. I also think there’s a difference between, say, walking down the busy streets to the grocery store (where a stroller is absolutely appropriate for a lot of kids) and parents who automatically put kids into a stroller for the entire duration of, say, a museum or zoo visit.

    In the end, though, like everything else, it’s about moderation. I’d have to know a LOT more about any mom I saw with an older kid in a stroller before I assumed a negative, though – even school-aged kids sometimes have physical challenges that you don’t see.

    • momma425

      Why?

      Why do you feel that it is any of your business what someone else chooses to do with their kid?

    • Andrea

      It’s not. She’s just stating her opinion.

      Strollers are a PITA for other people too. They are big, cumbersome and moms have been known to use them as weapons to get their way.

      Personally, I hated strollers. ALL OF THEM. As soon as his butt could walk, it did. Now I will grant that I did not live in the city where there is an enormous amount of actual walking in actual sidewalks.

    • Spiderpigmom

      In other words: you do have a stroller. A big metallic one with a motor. It’s called a car.

    • Andrea

      Well yes.

      But we didn’t live in it. We still walked at museums, zoos, parks, malls, airports, stores, fairs, etc

    • Katherine Handcock

      I should clarify: I would NEVER go up to a parent I didn’t know and criticize them. As I say at the end of the comment, I try very hard not to judge, because there are so many circumstances that I don’t know. But when a kid is actively seeking independence, I do believe that parents should try to accommodate it. In this case, I’d much rather see the mom say, “Well, you can try walking, but I’m bringing the stroller, and if you can’t listen/refuse to keep up, you’ll have to ride.”

      I didn’t intend to sound confrontational. I did try to make it clear with my final paragraph that there are many good reasons for older kids to be in a stroller.

    • momma425

      I guess my point is that unless you are following the mom and her kid in the stroller around all day- your two second interaction with them in which you hear the kid voice that they want independence is just that, a two second outside look at the situation. You weren’t there to see the millionth time the four year old refused to hold hands and darted off into the parking lot before he ended up in the stroller, you don’t know the time constraints the parent has, you weren’t there twenty minutes ago when they where whining about feet hurting.

      You have every right to judge someone privately I suppose, but there are so many variables that you don’t see for why a kid would be in a stroller even when YOU consider them too old, I guess I just think any judgement there is petty.

    • Katherine Handcock

      Well, I guess I’d put it more in the category of the passing thought than judgement. My reaction was very specifically to the scenario in the article – it’s a busy day, the son says “I want to walk,” Mom immediately offers a cookie. I just feel like you could offer the kid a chance to try without slowing your day down (by more than it will be automatically by spending a day with a kid!) To me, those moments of independence should be respected if at all possible, kind of like how you might have to budget an extra five minutes for a kid that age to try putting on their own shoes.

      But I do apologize that my tone struck you as judgmental. I didn’t intend that, and I do believe that the vast majority of parents use strollers appropriately for their own family’s situation and needs.

    • Quinn Skye

      Exactly. I tell my four year old he’s welcome to walk like a big boy as long as he acts like a big boy, otherwise, he’ll have to ride in the stroller/cart.

      Sometimes though, I have to agree, stuff needs to get done at faster than a four year old pace. I think, just like everything else, it’s fine as long as it’s not the default. Yes, I’ll give my kid a cookie to keep him quiet, but that’s only in an “emergency” situation.

    • M.

      I think it’s a different story when you’re looking at someone who’s
      walking their kid everywhere instead of traveling by car. My kid pretty
      much always walks now (he’s 3), and it can be annoying because he is
      really slow. But he’s only walking for the duration of the actual
      errand…if the walking included GETTING to the place to run the errand I
      think it’d be totally different. If there’s a 4 year old saying he wants to walk on the WAY to an errand, I can totally see why mom would just say “no, get in the stroller.” I’m driving, not strolling, and I would definitely say no if my kid wanted to walk to the store instead of getting in the car.

    • Guest

      Well, I have a 3.5 year old who plays outside all day long. When it is time to go shopping, she goes in a stroller or cart. I’ll tell you why; because every errand and shopping trip is not an adventure. It is the routine work of a busy family, and it needs to be done in a timely manner. I do not have time to direct/re-direct my adventurous toddler and put back every item she picks up on a shopping trip that will already take at least an hour to procure all of the items we need. In the cart or stroller she is well behaved and quiet and talks to me, not running ahead and squealing with joy because she saw a junk food item with a brightly colored box and a cartoon character on the front.

    • momma425

      Don’t feel bad- I let my 5 year old ride in the cart at the grocery store.
      We often go after work/daycare. I’m in a hurry, and if she runs around the store while tired, she gets even MORE tired and is cranky at home that evening. Nobody has ever said a word to me- which is how it should be. I don’t care if a freaking adult is riding in the cart, as long as they are being polite to other people in the store and not getting in the way. I would rather someone have their kid in a cart than running up and down isles, getting in the way of other shoppers, and/or grabbing stuff and knocking it over.

      On the weekends, when we have more time and it’s not right before dinner, my daughter walks and helps shop. She is learning how to push the cart. It’s great.

    • Katherine Handcock

      The thing I see a lot in my area is that if kids arrive in a stroller, they often stay there — which I sympathize with, because lots of stores don’t offer any kind of stroller parking. But even for the few that do, people rarely take advantage of it, so the kids end up strapped in the whole time.

      The one where it REALLY bothered me was when I saw a three-year-old strapped into a stroller in a hands-on children’s science museum. This place is designed for kids; as far as I could tell, the kid in the stroller was the only child with that particular pair of parents; and yet, still, the poor kid was stuck in the stroller, straining to reach things he’s meant to be able to touch. The poor kid ended up having a frustration meltdown and the family left. I felt for the little guy.

    • M.

      Well that I just don’t understand. Why even take your kid to a kid’s museum if not to run around? We have a membership at a kids museum and I don’t even bring the stroller, my son is allowed to run around to his heart’s content. I bring him there to play. I’m more thinking of errands. And while my son does walk now, I do make him get in the cart if he misbehaves, so maybe the kid you mentioned was in a stroller time out or something? I just don’t get why you would bring a kid to a kids place and not let them run around.

    • Katherine Handcock

      Yeah, it was very strange and kind of upsetting. There’s a chance he was in a stroller time out, but I didn’t see any evidence of it. I think his parents may just have walked there with him in the stroller and just never bothered to take him out of it. Maybe they figured why bother, since they had to bring the stroller with them anyway (no stroller parking at that particular museum). It was just upsetting to watch him start with reaching for things, then asking politely, then finally losing it.

    • M.

      Yeah, I see parents do really weird stuff all the time. I take my son once a week to a little splash park (it’s really more like a fountain in the ground, it’s really small) and just 2 days ago I saw a set of parents who 1) told their kid they couldn’t play with a toy that was laying there (most people bring toys which then become communal while you’re there, I do this), saying “if you want to play with a toy we can go home, you’re here to play in the water!” as if they can’t play with a toy IN the water… and 2) constantly hassling them not to run. ALL the kids run. Because it’s a park. Outside. And they’re kids. I just don’t get parents who try to micromanage their kids’ play AT ALL. I bet those people would have strapped their kid into a stroller at a kids museum…

    • Katherine Handcock

      Yeah, I was thinking about parents managing kids’ play at an indoor playground I visited the other day. This is one of the best indoor play structures I’ve ever seen – very safe, and with great visibility, so it’s easy to keep visual track of your child – and still there were parents walking with their older preschoolers and even young school-agers through the structure. There was even one girl who looked to be about five who was getting discouraged from climbing up to the “big slide” (it’s one of those spiral slides that you see in fast food playspaces) and guided towards the toddler slides, which she went down holding a parent’s hand. To me, a place like that is the perfect place for kids to start learning to manage their own risk and playtime. Besides, the place has an awesome cafe – get yourself a coffee and enjoy, parents!

    • M.

      I see this at an indoor play place we frequent, too. I go with some moms from a moms group and some of them drive me nuts climbing through the structures with their kids and micromanaging how they play with things. The place is meant for younger kids, there’s nothing there an 18 month old shouldn’t be able to handle, and the whole place is padded anyway. I’ve seen a mom freak out about her daughter carrying a small Thomas figure through a ball pit because “we only play one thing at a time” (why? who cares?) and one mom who insisted on demonstrating the “correct” way to play with plastic food (the child was pretending it was something else). What happened to letting kids play how they want? I just don’t get it, I LOVE to see my child pretending and being creative with his toys. I just can’t understand thinking there’s a “right” way to play.

    • Mandy Swanda

      I have a 3.5 year old who plays outside all day long. When it is time to go shopping, she goes in a stroller or cart. I’ll tell you why; because every errand and shopping trip is not an adventure. It is the routine work of a busy family, and it needs to be done in a timely manner. I do not have time to direct/re-direct my adventurous toddler and put back every item she picks up on a shopping trip that will already take at least an hour to procure all of the items we need. In the cart or stroller she is well behaved and quiet and talks to me, not running ahead and squealing with joy because she saw a junk food item with a brightly colored box and a cartoon character on the front.

    • Katherine Handcock

      Like I said, it’s all about moderation! Your kiddo is clearly in good hands, and that’s why I try hard not to judge when I see an older kid in a stroller. My reaction was principally to the description of the specific incident in the article – sighing at the request to walk and offering a cookie immediately. But I’d certainly never say anything to a mom I saw do that, or even think about it much longer than to go, “Huh, that bothers me a little.”

    • Psych Student

      Thank you for pointing out that no one ever knows what kinds of challenges (physical or mental) someone might be experiencing for which a stroller, or a handicapped parking space may be important (I took your good point and generalized it).

    • Katherine Handcock

      Yes, handicapped parking spaces are a good extension of that point, and I try hard not to judge people I see using them as well – although sometimes it’s hard! But I try to remind myself that, if I see a permit in the window, I should assume that permit is needed.

  • Bleu Cheese Bewbs

    I think it is utter bullshit that there is even an article that exists because Moms have to justify doing something that a) harms no one and b) is thus nobody’s fucking business.

    • K.

      ^ yup.

      Sit. Walk. Ride a pony. I do not care.

    • Rachel Sea

      Ooo, lets all ride ponies.

    • K.

      Totes on that.

    • ChickenKira

      My kid was riding a giant (fibreglass) caterpillar at the playground yesterday. I spent the following supermarket trip thinking how much easier the whole thing would be if only that giant caterpillar were real and she could ride it up and down the aisles.

    • Amber Leigh Wood

      It’s weird that people are judgy about a stroller, but no one looks twice at my 5 year old nephew riding in a trolley with the shopping.

    • JJ

      I see people let their 10 year old’s and older ride in the grocery trolley and I got to be honest I do sort of judge that unless the kid is disabled or has a cast on their leg etc. When I was kid once we were in the later years of elementary there was no excuse for being a cart when you could walk plus not to mention by the later ages like 9 or 10 your to heavy to lift in and out of cart. Its kind of embarrassing to see preteens riding in those things. I especially feel for the packers at the registers who have to try to pack around the oversized, to old kids sitting inside taking up every bit of room in the cart. Toddlers, 5 year olds up to maybe 7 or even 8 I can get. But there is some people I see I seriously want to go um I think the kid can walk at almost 12 years old now its okay. Granted I never would because it could be the rare time the kid has a medical condition but the majority of the time at my job they don’t the parents just think its acceptable to make a kid over 10 not walk. Lazy.

  • talaricg

    i don’t think there’s anything wrong with an older toddler/pre-schooler… but there are definitely some situations where it’s weird to see a kid in a stroller. In italy, in the town my husband is from, it’s super common place to see 7-8 year olds (some maybe even a little bit older) being pushed around. They are WAY too big for their strollers with their legs b dangling out the side… it looks insane. So, while i think what you’re saying is fine… there is a point where i draw the line.

  • Linzon

    My kid is underweight, I guess I should strap him in the stroller more.

    (PS that is a joke)

  • Faustina

    That is completely terrible. If we didn’t put our 2/3 year olds in strollers we wouldn’t have gone anywhere when they were little. Go pick on adults noodling around in those scooter things at Target/Walmart if you want to talk about walking and the obesity “epidemic.”

    • iamtheshoshie

      Um, sometimes people actually need those scooter things, FYI. I went to Target when I was 9 months pregnant and had a broken foot. Damn right I used a scooter. And I’m fat to boot.

    • Faustina

      And sometimes you need a stroller. Get it? We all have reasons for what we do.

    • iamtheshoshie

      …I use a stroller. I have no problem with strollers. But I do have a problem with people who pick on folks with mobility issues.

    • Faustina

      Okay. I still have a problem with those being okay, but people who can’t choose to use similar ie children being sniffed at.

    • AP

      I rode one of those scooters around the empty* Target parking lot last month. It was a lot of fun. I want one. It beeps when you back up.

      *Yes, it was empty, and yes, I looked around far and wide to make sure there were no real disabled people around waiting to use it.

  • Joye77

    I love strollers. In my life I know that eventually my kid would get tired of walking and/or tripping and walking in front of other people like they are the only person on the planet. And then want me to carry them, which is tiring and difficult….so viola!! I put the 4 year old in the stroller and everybody wins! I could give a fuck what anyone else thinks.

  • Jessifer

    This is something that so many car owners will NEVER understand. I dare any of these people to depend solely on walking or public transit to do absolutely everything (including groceries) and see how well they fare without using a stroller. People who have cars strap their kids into a carseat when they go from A to B. How is it any different from a mom who puts her kid in a stroller to get things done?

    • Katherine Handcock

      The carseat’s probably not the best analogy, since kids of the age the article’s discussing (older toddlers and preschoolers) aren’t in portable bucket seats any more. But as a car owner, I’m definitely aware of how lucky I am when it comes to doing errands with two kids in tow, at least when it comes to the getting there and back process.

    • Alison Cross

      I think a car seat is a fine analogy. They are still strapped in, not moving about and certainly not getting “social interaction [that] also helps physical development – for example,
      eye contact, singing and talking.”

      At least when my kid is in a buggy, when we go to do our shopping (we have no car), he is getting fresh air and is stimulated by all the things he sees (which he can’t see in a car — we HAVE been in a car.). And, I can stop and talk to him and show him things and respond to his needs a whole heck of a lot better in a buggy than a car seat.

    • Katherine Handcock

      I guess I was thinking more of the physical health argument – that kids who are strapped in aren’t getting to walk around, explore, etc. You’re definitely right that they eye contact/social interaction/etc. is WAY better in a stroller than in a car.

    • Lindsey

      The article I read, which may or may not be the same, also talked about how strapped in kids are not getting enough exercise, including car seats, shopping carts, strollers, etc.

    • Alison Cross

      I’m just not following you, I guess. How is a kid in a car seat getting to explore or move around? Do you mean when they get out of the car? We use a stroller to GET places and then do what’s appropriate — shopping trolley at the grocery, walk at the zoo, in the buggy in a clothing store, etc. So, I personally see no difference between a buggy and a car seat.

    • Katherine Handcock

      Yes, when they’re out of the car. I know one of the anti-stroller arguments is that kids end up sitting (and often eating at the same time) for long walks/trips because they’re in the stroller. So I think the physical health/fitness argument assumes that kids are getting walked places in the stroller, then staying in it. At least in my area, that seems to be what’s common – if a kid arrives in the stroller, they seem to stay there no matter where they are (park, zoo, shopping mall, etc.)

      I’ve also heard one doctor argue that there is one difference between stroller and shopping cart/buggy seat: in the shopping cart the kid has to hold themselves up in a seated position, while in a stroller they lean against the back. Not sure if I buy that one, though – I’m sure it makes a bit of difference to abdominal muscle strength or something, but I don’t know if it’s enough to argue a shopping cart seat is better.

      As I said, definitely for going to/from places when you don’t have a vehicle, a stroller is critical. I think the concerns Maria talks about in her article emerge when the kid stays in the stroller when they get where they’re going.

    • Alison Cross

      It interesting. I’m not saying I think you are being judgemental, but theere are just so many reasons I could see someone using a stroller and leaving their kids in it. I mean, you might see them for a minute or two and assume that the child hasn’t been out but in reality, perhaps they HAVE been hoofing it around the zoo and are now having a break? Or, maybe they aren’t able/willing to stay near their parent and so the safest thing to do is to keep them in a stroller.

      Personally, I’ve never seen a kid stuck in a stroller at the park, unless they were napping – but that would bug me. What’s the point of going to a park if you aren’t going to let your kid run around (though, even then, who knows the reason? Maybe the kid just ran off out of the park and the parent is doing what they need to to keep him safe)? I would NEVER let my kiddo loose in a shopping mall, regardless of how I got there. Honestly, I like having some alternate mode of transportation — stroller or baby carrier — with me wherever we are. My 2.5 year old is just too unpredictable and I don’t want to be stuck holding him in my arms for long periods because he is tired or not being safe.

      I do agree that there are a lot of kids in the world that are not getting enough exercise and that this is a problem. I just am not sure that I think stroller usage is the thing I’d be getting my panties in a twist about (I’m not suggesting that YOU have twisted panties). I mean some parents just let their kids sit and watch TV for HOURS every day and I can’t really see WHY they’d NEED to do that. But, I can see many, many reasons why someone might totally NEED to use a stroller with an older child.

      Also, I am 100% guilty of feeding my child in a stroller. Mr. Activity will NOT stop playing to eat, nor will he sit at a table or on a bench to eat when we are out. Period. And, then he’s a flipping mess because he is hungry. So, I absolutely use our stroller time on the walk places to give him food (he’ll eat it then) and have been known to put him in the stroller for a lunch break at the park. If we did it for every meal, every day that’d be a problem. But, like 99.9% of other peoples parenting that we observe, we have no idea the reasons, context, frequency, etc. that these things happen.

    • Katherine Handcock

      That is why I try so hard not to judge, but I have seen kids I know well enough (from preschool or other activities) stuck in a stroller in places they could do without, and it does bother me. And feeding the kid a snack in the stroller is one thing — my son was the same way as yours! — but some kids basically eat the whole time they are riding (in much the same way that I have a terrible habit of snacking constantly on a long road trip because I’m so freaking bored.)

      As for the mall, it definitely depends on your kid, but I think by 3.5 or 4 the majority of kids are ready to start walking on the good days (2.5, not so much – it sucked having both my kids refuse to use a stroller/shopping cart seat at that age, although it was a handy way to train them to stay with me – NOT sitting in the cart was powerful motivation for them!)

      Yes, I have actually seen kids in strollers in a park while Mom sat and
      read a book, or (as I mention in a comment below) stuck in a stroller in
      a hands-on children’s science museum that’s designed for play and
      touching. Those are the ones that really bother me.

  • Alison Cross

    “Social interaction also helps physical development – for example,
    eye contact, singing and talking. That is not happening if a child is in
    a forward-facing buggy.” You know what else isn’t happening if my child is in a forward facing buggy? He isn’t running away from me, at an Olympic sprinter’s pace, stepping into the street and getting hit by a car.

    • Psych Student

      Your child is also getting a chance to look around him and see a bunch of things. While also being prevented from touching every. Last. Thing.

  • Sara610

    Ooooh, this is something that I used to be SO judgey about before I had my daughter. I was all, “If that kid can walk, why is she in a stroller?!” Fast forward a few years, and I have an almost-three-year-old who walks AT A SNAIL’S PACE.

    I am so much less judgey about the “older-toddlers-in-strollers” thing now.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    I don’t think 3 or 4 is really the cut-off… If the child is pokey or likes to run off or is still taking naps, a stroller might be the only way to get things done. And there’s the ones where a stand-on can be attached so mom can push the 3-year-old and baby at the same time. Genius.
    I think my personal cut off for the average kid would be 5 max. Barring extenuating circumstances, a stroller at that age is not something I can understand. At some point you need to get your kid walking about when you’re out. The longer you put it off, the less inclined they may feel to walk anywhere.

    • Tara

      Five is perfectly reasonable. Just for some anecdotal evidence, my five year old can easily keep up with me when I’m walking at a normal pace through Target or something, and if I’m in a rush she still doesn’t really slow me down. My three year old on the other hand is just. so. slow. Heaven help us if we want to go faster than molasses anywhere when she’s walking on her own.

  • Lilly

    I stopped using a stroller when last fall around when my son turned 2 and I don’t have a car. I live in a big city, only use public transit and do just fine.

    I get having to rush around to get stuff done but based on the linked article and Maria’s comments it seems that it is solely for the mom’s benefit and at some point all mom’s will need to wean from the stroller and I believe that at a certain point it is for the parents not for the child that the stroller keeps getting used. I get that you can move faster, carry more, and contain your child but for me personally it was easier to break the habit when I could still pick my son up, if I had to do it now it would be a lot harder.

    There is definitely a few months of learning how to manage him, carry stuff etc, but after that initial hurdle it is actually a lot nicer to not have to manage stroller.

  • Tisa Berry

    My cousin demanded a stroller when we went to Disney world….. He was nine, and has no physical ailments whatsoever.

    • Lori B.

      Can’t blame the kid for trying! I think I would want someone to push me around Disney World in a stroller as well!

    • Andrea

      The first time we went to Disney our sons were 5 and 7. And we made it non negotiable that there will not be any carrying. And that we were gonna be at the park ALL DAY. And if they didn’t think they could handle that, then we’d have to postpone it until they were old enough to handle it.
      Oddly enough, it worked. We were more tired than they were!
      I wasn’t gonna pay the ridiculous amount of money that the damn mouse demands to have to carry/push my kid and/or have to leave early because they were tired.

    • footnotegirl

      Heh, we took our 2 year old to WDW in february and it was the opposite. She refused to sit in her stroller. She had to be either on our shoulders or holding our hand and walking the whoooole time except for just after lunch when she napped in her stroller while we walked around.

  • rockmonster

    Apparently the Daily Fail forgot that children and parents can walk at other places besides Poundland, Tesco, Asda, and Sainsbury’s. For example, I don’t know, the city fecking park, the beach, the pool,etc.
    But noooooo, mothers are only allowed to go the supermarket, and with kids in tow, no babysitters allowed. Anything else is cause for pearl-clutching.

  • JJ

    As long as a parent isn’t using the stroller to ram into people’s ankles or hog up the entire aisles way of the grocery store while walking at a turtle’s pace I could care less what mode of transportation the kid is in. But those people who push those giant ass strollers the size of a small car that takes up an entire sidewalk and is meant to sit at least two or three children and you only ever see them pushing on kid in it at the most. Oh I can’t wait till the day comes that person sells that stroller or burns it in their yard. If you can’t get the stroller on the bus, plane, train or the store without completely blocking everybody else’s access to get around you the whole time that is a sign a stroller is way to excessive and a pain in the butt. Single strollers? Cool. Umbrella strollers? Cool. Hiking strollers for long walks in spacious parks with special made wheels that won’t get stuck on rocks or trails? I’m cool with that. But SUV model strollers when a person only has one kid who uses it and they have everything and the kitchen sink in it. Ugh I loathe it sorry but that is the worst when you see them coming on public transit or walking down the side walk on a busy day taking up every inch of it on either side.

    • Rachel Sea

      Last time I took a rental car agency shuttle this AWFUL couple got on with a stroller the size of a Fiat. It was clearly a status buy, and they had no qualms about using it to block off 14 seats for their exclusive use.

    • JJ

      That’s when I used to love the bus drivers or agency drivers who say, “sorry there appears to be no room for people to get on and off safely. You are going to have to fold that stroller up or move it out of the way”. And if the parents try to argue back they just repeat the importance of it being a safety issue so either move over or fold it up or feel free to get off at the next bus stop because its not okay to stop others from being able to get on the transit.

    • Rachel Sea

      The bus driver said all that, but then let the woman bully him down. She was horrid.

  • ted3553

    my guy’s still just 2 but I do want him to walk as much as he can. If we’re out for the day or even several hours, I bring the stroller because it’s handy. He might need a break and I want to keep going or he’s just not fast enough. I can totally see kids 4-5 doing this same type of thing. I think after 5 it’s getting a bit extreme but it’s not going to kill them.

  • Lauren Victoria

    PREACH! I am not above using a stroller , baby wearing or a leash or whatever means necessary to keep my kid near me in a crowd. We frequent NYC and Disney World and that’s not going to change now that I have a baby. Right now she’s only a few months so a stroller is appropriate. But I don’t care what it looks like to outsiders, we will still use that shit until it’s no longer necessary. Are YOU going to chase after my toddler when they run off? Or you going to lead the manhunt when I had my back turned for a second and now my kid is no where to be seen? NOPE. So then fuck off!

    • grr! arrgh!

      Oh my god, please do! About 4 years ago, I saw a toddler run into the street in TIME SQUARE. He’d slipped away from his parents and random pedestrians had to grab him before he got smushed by a cab.

      I’d much rather people think, “Huh, that kid looks like she barely fits in that stroller,” than “ZOMYGOD I’M ABOUT TO WATCH A BABY DIE.” Cause I got to experience that last one and even though nothing bad happened and it wasn’t even my kid, it scared the crap out of me.

    • Lauren Victoria

      My little brother was a wanderer and a runner when he was a kid. You had to watch him like a hawk. My mom had a lot of scares back then. I’m not about to risk my child just so I don’t look lazy to other parents.

  • Blahblah

    This is something people care about?

    I don’t give a shit if someone else’s kid is in a stroller. I don’t know if their child has a disability, I don’t know if they have a disability, I don’t know everyone else’s story. And more to the point, it isn’t my business to try.

    I don’t like when people are at the store with the stroller and have it all blocking an aisle while they peruse both sides, but that isn’t the stroller, that’s just someone not caring.

  • BakerMom

    I do find it weird to see a 4 foot kid in a stroller. My son is 10 now, and I remenber how I used to think it was a hassle to take him around for errands, but if I let him choose get-up, er, I mean outfit, he was much more malleable to going out. Yeah, it slowed me down some, but the thought of putting such a tall boy into a stroller (or even the shopping cart) seemed too bizarre for me. Sorry for being on the wrong end of the discussion.

    • M.

      But you don’t know how old a 4 foot kid is either. My stepson has always been really tall (he’s now 6’2 at 14 years old)…he was just a couple inches shy of 4 feet when I met him when he was 3. I’m only 5’1, and he outgrew me by the time he was 8. People have always thought he’s much older than he is…I could totally see him ending up on that tumblr when he was 3 because he looked 7.

  • Alanna Jorgensen

    My four year old only weighs 33 lbs, so when I go grocery shopping I still shove her in the seat in the cart so that I am not forever telling her to hurry up or move out of mine or other shoppers’ way. If we are going to an all day event like the fair, we still bring the stroller because once she gets tired she will make everyone’s life miserable. That’s a lot of walking for little legs, and I don’t particularly fancy dragging a whining child across the fairgrounds.

  • wisegal

    A sit and stand it a beautiful thing. I cried when it was time to put it away. Kids can walk, but when they get tired, they can hop on. They need to make one for just one kid if you aren’t blessed with two of the little buggers.

  • AlexMMR

    Aw shit, I didn’t even know stroller shaming was a thing!

  • OptimusPrime*

    I’m confused by the psychologist’s statement. Are we supposed to allow infants to wiggle around grocery stores? Is social interaction with non-familial humans developmentally inappropriate? So many questions.

  • tk88

    The only time I really get annoyed is in places like amusement parks and zoos. And if you notice the majority of kids on the ‘too big for a stroller’ tumbler are in places like that. It’s absolutely horrendous being in a big crowd and having strollers with 5-9 year olds taking up massive amounts of room and rolling over your feet. I’m sorry but you can get your butt up and walk to the rides, and take your time. No one can use the ‘I have to get stuff done’ excuse there.

  • grr! arrgh!

    All right concern trolls, you get the goverment, major corporations, and society in general to change and prioritize familes (all familes, not just people with kids) so that my husband and I can support ourselves and our child AND not give up any hope of professional advancement working flexible 35 ish hour a week schedules while having access to affordable, high-quality child care and health care. As soon as that happens, I promise I will march my baby all over the metro area whenever she’s with me because I’ll actually have the time to spend 40 mins walking two and from the grocery store that’s a block away and still finish all of the things I need to do to be a marginally functional member of society and an adaquate partner and parent.

    I’m really, really over people blaming parents (read: mothers) for things that are mostly the result of entrenched institutional polices and attitudes.

  • Layla

    I have thought to myself that it did seem wierd when a seemingly older/bigger kid was still in a stroller. But then I thought to myself – maybe they have a physical/mental ailment that they need to be in that stroller. Or maybe I’m the idiot who stopped pushing my kid in the stroller as primary means of getting around and giving in to her demands. Either way to each his own. Do what works for you and your kid!

  • CrushLily

    When I had #2, I decided the almost 3 year old would walk because I hate double prams. We got a board with wheels that attaches to the back of the baby’s pram so he can stand on it when he gets tired. Greatest invention ever. Then his Grandma bought him a little bike without pedals and he loves it. If he decides not to ride anymore, he goes on the board. Usually the threat is enough to get him up the hill. That or I just pull him along by his hoodie!

  • Rowan

    Plus, if your kid DOES decide to walk for a bit, you can put your shopping in the stroller. Result.

  • koolchicken

    Well the obesity epidemic is real. And I have to say, the only complaint people made about the stroller I bought was the weight limit. It “only” goes to 45 pounds. Sorry, but once your kid is over that weight (usually at 3-4) they DO need to be up and walking. The AAP actually says so, so this isn’t just some British expert saying this stuff. Yeah, I get that kids get tired. But if your eight year old can’t keep up it’s not cause they’re little, it’s cause you’ve been pushing them around for four years too many and they never had opportunity to build up the proper stamina and leg muscles.

    Before I had a kid my mother told me you have to manage expectations when out with children. You’ll never be able to do as much as you once did. And I get that now. At 20 months my son prefers to walk. Sometimes he must ride in the stroller (he could get hurt in amusement park crowds). And yes, things take a LOT longer because he’s little and as a result, slow. But if I let him walk now, he’ll be more than able to keep up later. And he needs to walk. Cause you reap what you sow and I’m never going to push a 100 pound third grader around in a stroller cause they can’t keep up.

    • DB

      Agree with you 100%. We live downtown in a big city and walking is an integral part of our day to day lives. Knowing this, I made a conscious effort to get my kid walking on his own two feet as early as possible. At a year old, he could walk about half a block. By two years old, he could walk for the vast majority of our daily activities and errands, and by 2.5 he relinquished the stroller to baby sister and never looked back. I also established limits right from the beginning — hold hands, stay close, don’t run off, learn the traffic rules — and he is now a more competent walker than many kids twice his age. It is, as you say, all about managing expectations and taking the time to teach them properly.

  • WhoremonalCrazyLotusSlugalo

    Criticizing strangers is dumb.

    That is all.

  • JulesInNC

    I’m sure I’ve been judged for this. My (GIANT) toddler (almost 3) for a while had a habit of stopping at the farthest point from our house, throwing herself on the ground, and refusing to walk. But if I put her in the stroller, she would scream as if on fire that she wanted down (but oh, no–it was just a trick! She just wanted to flail on the ground some more). Oh, the stares I’ve gotten…

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Wait, wait, wait. Now, I get your reasoning, sometimes there’s A Thing That Must Be Done Right Now, but I’m one of those people that always budgets in at least an extra half-hour to account for my ADD (and the bus schedules). I don’t see why you can’t do the same for the kiddo, you know?

    I dunno — this bugs me, man. Society with the hurry hurry hurry and the running here and there, it just doesn’t seem healthy.

    Why does everything have to be done right now? Seriously, consider that for a moment — most of the time someone’s running about doing errands, it’s stuff that can be spread out over a few days’ time.

    So relax, and slow down, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get ALL the things done today.

    Peace.

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