Strollers are among the top items in every expectant mothers’ and new parents’ list and for a good reason – they free up parents’ hands and enable them to multitask or make speedy trips without bothering their little ones.
While these carriages are intended for newborns and toddlers, many of them can effortlessly chauffeur around a 44-pound six-year-old, which begs the question, “Just how old is too old for a stroller?”
In this post, we tell you everything you need to know about baby stroller age limit so you can know the best time to stop pushing your little ones around. Read on!
Is A Stroller Necessary?
Yes, a stroller is necessary for two reasons:
Parents use a stroller simply to make things easier. Those rushed commutes, morning runs, and general errands would be much harder to do with a baby on your back! And if you have one these carriages with large storage capacities, you will be able to free your hands and multitask on the move.
A stroller also provides a reliable transport system when enjoying the outdoors. When nap time comes and your child’s legs become sluggish, a stroller will help save the day. Carrying the baby on your back could also be an option, but if your little one weighs more than 30 pounds, you may want to rethink this option if you don’t want to end up with a repetitive strain injury or worse.
Children are curious little creatures. They want to see and explore everything. They will stop whatever they are doing to watch something that excites them just to satisfy their curiosity. Parents, therefore, need to always keep track of where they are especially when in a congested place.
If you are entering an amusement park, airport, or other crowded areas, have your kiddie buckled up so you can keep an eye on him at all times. If you have twins or two children close in age, consider investing in a double stroller for when visiting areas with high traffic.
Many strollers come with essential safety features like brakes, five-point straps, weather shields, sun canopies, and muffs, to help your little one ride safely and more comfortably even in harsh weather conditions. Just don’t forget to carry your baby’s sunscreen whenever you head outside.
How Old Is Too Old For A Stroller?
Children grow differently. Sometimes, a five-year-old will look like a three-year-old or a six-year-old will look like a four year old, which can make it hard to decide which child can or cannot use a stroller. Similarly, the physical ability may vary in children of different ages, which can make walking long distances for some kids difficult.
Likewise, for children with a disability or medical conditions that limit their movement, a stroller may be the only way for them to get around. Unfortunately, it is the nature of human beings to judge a book by its cover and will always have something to say whenever they see a ‘big baby’ in a stroller.
So, if you are wondering, “At exactly what age should you stop using a stroller?” know this; there is no rule that governs how old is too old for a stroller. If your little one can walk confidently and can understand your directions, then you can retire the stroller. However, most parents start to wean their kiddies off strollers at 3 years old, hence many consider this the official stroller age limit.
Why You Should Ditch The Stroller
Sure, strollers are convenient, safe, and all, but before you chauffeur your little munchkin around, think about the long-term impacts of your decision. Trust us, there are plenty of reasons you may want to ditch that stroller including:
Health And Fitness
Children need to stay active, as this helps develop their motor and cognitive skills, build strong bones and muscles and maintain a healthy weight. No, a jogging stroller won’t cut it – your little one needs to do the work to reap these benefits.
Studies have shown that children who spend too much time sitting develop obesity, osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes and mental conditions such as depression and anxiety later in life. They have also been found to perform much poorer in school than those who lead a more active life.
Your child should have about 3 to 4 hours of playtime per day. Kids between 1 and 4 years old can undertake activities like swimming, dancing, walking in the park, or have supervised playtime in your backyard. For one-year-olds and below, stuff their play mats and play yards with toys, read stories and sing songs together, give baby tummy time, hold their hands and help them walk – just anything that keeps them moving.
Does this mean that parents should not use a stroller? Not quite. But they should do so in moderation. If a child knows there is a stroller standby to always make things easier for him, he will likely be reluctant to push his physical limits.
“So how long should a child use a stroller,” you may ask?
Not more than 60 minutes a day and even then, your child should not stay in the same position over extended periods. If he has already hit the stroller age limit, you can even ditch the wheels completely.
Growth And Development
Children achieve a host of developmental milestones from the moment they are born to when they are about seven years old. Between the ages of one and a half and six years, kids become more aware of their surroundings and want to explore and know more about the world around them.
This stage is also marked by huge language development, so if you will be using a stroller, go for a rear-facing model. This will help you have more healthy communication with your little one.
Most travel strollers, for instance, can easily accommodate a child who is 44 pounds or heavier, which is the average weight of a six-year-old. And if you are wondering how old is too old for a stroller, then six years is way too old. Unless your child has a disability or a medical condition, he should not be wheeled in a stroller.
Freedom Of Movement
Apart from hindering your child’s growth and development, navigating a stroller could sometimes limit your freedom of movement. This is especially true when walking through busy shopping malls and narrow aisles where you can’t fit a stroller in.
Most parents in such situations will often collapse the stroller and have their kids walk beside them. If your child is big enough to walk, holding his hand would be less hassle than riding him in a stroller and having to collapse it whenever you are in a crowded place.
Never underestimate your child’s ability to walk. You don’t have to wait until he has reached the preferred age limit to retire the carriage. If your baby looks confident on his feet and doesn’t seem to like being in a stroller, don’t use it.
It’s true, kids have shorter legs and may probably delay your trip to the market, but when you come across potholes, mile-high curbs, and never-ending staircases, you will be glad you didn’t ride him around. Besides, walking is a good form of exercise, which is just what kids need for their development. And hey, those little steps sometimes cover longer distances than you may think.
Children Are Different
Kids, like adults, have different preferences. While some will love being pushed around, others cannot stand being confined to a stroller for a long time. If your children are older and looking to be more independent, tricycles, collapsible wagons, and balance bikes would be great stroller alternatives.
But before you retire your baby stroller, remember that it gives you (and baby) both mental and physical relief. If you are purchasing one for the first time, go for something durable. Quality wheels will always come with a high price tag. You must consider an option that lasts longer so you don’t have to go back to the baby shop every year.
Older kids can use strollers too, just not as often as infants. Children who are two years old and above should have more playtime than they do stroller-time to help enhance their growth and development. However, whatever age your little one is, be mindful of the time he spends buckled up, and make sure it is balanced by plenty of activity and exercise.
And remember this; no one knows your baby better than you do. That being said, if you feel that your child still needs a little more time in a stroller, don’t let anyone push you into retiring the wheels. Chauffeur him around until he is a kindergartener if you want. As long as your child is getting enough exercise later and you are both happy, then there is nothing wrong with allowing yourselves to have some fun.
My Babies Planet Overview
Strollers are a great way for parents to get around without stressing out their little ones. While this can be convenient for most parents, riding your child in a stroller for extended periods can have unfavorable effects on your child’s health and wellness.
If your child is old enough to walk, limit the amount of time he spends in a stroller. And if he is already over three years old, consider ditching the stroller altogether; unless he has a disability or an existing medical condition that prevents him to walk on his own.