"Kids are sometimes in strollers when they could be in arms, on a lap, or walking along holding Mom or Dad's hand."
Some of you may want to make me eat shredded Uncommon Sense columns after I say this, but I think some kids spend too much time in strollers these days.
I realize that strollers are handy tools with a definite place in the world of parents and kids. When our kids were young, we used them. If you have lots of stuff to carry, besides kids, or you’re in for a long day at the theme park, then it’s hard to be without one. I also understand that the extent to which any parent is dependent on a stroller has to do with where you live, how close in age your kids are and how much you have to walk with them.
So I’m not anti- stroller. But I am anti overuse of strollers. Today’s mega strollers, with their activity bars, storage areas and go-anywhere wheels, are so utilitarian that we’re seeing the inevitable consequence — kids are sometimes in strollers when they could be in arms, on a lap, or walking along holding mom's or dad's hand.
I’d like to put in a word for slings, backpacks and strap-on front carriers, which are a cheaper, sometimes more practical and more cuddly way of toting kids around. However, the marketing-to-parents machine has largely eschewed carriers and has successfully made a high-end (and profitable, no doubt) stroller the lynchpin product, the status symbol, of parenthood. Many parents use carriers with their newborns, but I sure don’t see them in public a 10th as often as I see strollers. In fact, when I see a kid in a sling, I often feel compelled to dash over and congratulate the parent. (The Canadian website, thebabywearer.com, has reviews on just about every sling going and information about how to get them.)