For a busy mom, a baby stroller is a life-saving device. You can do what you need to do while still keeping your child nearby and safe. You might even be able to sneak in a nap (for the baby, not you – sorry) while you’re doing your work or running errands.
And most of all, your back thanks you for not carrying that extra 40+ pounds around all the time.
If you’re a new parent, or you have a child who just loves being in the stroller, you may wonder as your child gets older if he or she is too old to be carted around anymore.
Experts say that while there is no hard-and-fast rule about what the stroller age limit is, typically you should stop using a stroller around age 3. There are a number of factors that play into when to stop using a stroller.
Read on to find out what’s being said about this topic. You’ll find out how old is too old for a stroller, the benefits as well as some tips and tricks for transitioning out if you feel that your child is too big for the stroller.
Why Some Parents Let Their Kids Overuse The Stroller
In our faster-paced world many parents are concerned about the safety of their children, and some parents think that their child being a stroller means that the child is safe.
Many parents think that a stroller is a “must-have” and can’t imagine going anywhere without it.
It’s also very convenient when you’re running errands, and having a child corralled in a stroller makes things go faster and easier. Unfortunately, this often translates into using stroller for older kids, and continuing to use the stroller long after the kids are too big for the stroller.
How Old Is Too Old For A Stroller?
Many pediatricians recommend that children be out of the stroller for the most part by age 3. This stroller age limit doesn’t mean that you can’t ever use a stroller after age three, but it’s recommended that you let your toddler walk as much as possible.
Another thing to consider is the safety of using a stroller when your child is older. While some strollers are able to hold up to 50 pounds, many take less weight. You don’t want to max out your stroller, so make sure your child isn’t too heavy for it.
And if you wonder how old for an umbrella stroller is too old, it’s most likely after 3 years old, just like regular strollers.
Stroller Usage Exceptions
While the stroller age range recommendation is up to 3 years old, there are of course exceptions to this recommendation.
Again, these are not hard-and-fast rules. As a parent use your best judgement to decide if these exceptions work for you.
Some special-needs children have a harder time with walking or functioning in a faster-paced environment, or even on simple walks. It may be necessary to at least bring a big kid stroller along in case your special-needs child gets too tired.
You know your child best, and if being in a stroller will help your child, it’s perfectly acceptable to use it.
A Long Outing
Little people have little legs, and while adults can handle longer outings, children will often collapse after an hour or more. If you’re planning a long outing and think your child might get tired, it’s a good idea to bring along a stroller just in case, even if your child lasts a long time.
When you’re in a rush / fast-paced environment
Settings like the New York City is not the place for your toddler to be wandering around, and the people around you will get annoyed if you’re taking your sweet time walking down the street.
A fast-paced environment is a great place for a walking stroller, even after your baby reached the age-3 mark.
Similarly, if you are going to be in a rush – perhaps trying to catch a plane or a train – it may be necessary to put your slower-moving toddler in a stroller best for travel
Your child’s safety is a big concern when you’re in a crowded environment like an amusement park. It’s easy to lose a small child in a big crowd. Using a stroller for your toddler at Disneyland is a great idea.
Steep or Slippery Surface
If you’re going to be walking up steep or slippery surfaces you might want to bring along a stroller. Little legs aren’t as easily able to navigate such surfaces and will tire out faster. A stroller might be necessary on a hike or on icy paths.
4 Great Reasons To Retire Your Kid From A Stroller
Okay, you’ve read all of these recommendations, but you’re still a little unsure if you buy it. Don’t worry, we’re going to break it down a little more for you. There are some great reasons for retiring your kid from the stroller, even if it might give you a touch of panic when you think about it.
Developing Safety Skills
Transitioning your kid out of the stroller helps them develop crucial safety skills that will help them later in life. When you take your kid out of the stroller, they learn how to hold your hand and stay closer to you. They learn how to navigate the world of busy cars and what to look out for.
Early Physical Development
Stopping the use of a stroller cultivates the habit of walking early, which has so many benefits for a developing child. Walking and running help develop a child’s bones and heart, making them stronger.
On top of that, your child will avoid the risk of obesity with all of that early exercise. The earlier you can start cultivating the exercise of habit, the longer it will remain with your child.
Improve Sleep Quality
We all want our children to sleep well, since it means we get to sleep better too! Allowing your child to walk more helps to burn off that seemingly limitless energy that your toddler has.
Walking and running outdoors provides fresh air that is beneficial in so many ways, and will help your child sleep better at night.
Better Social Skills
When your child is out of the stroller they start learning better social skills. They can interact more with you, as well as other children. They learn so much from interaction with other children and the new things that they see.
How To Wean Your Child Off A Stroller
Start With Small Errands
Children can’t handle too much at once. Start small, with short errands for example. If you need to run a quick errand to the grocery store, park the stroller and ask your child to get something for you.
Each time you run errands gradually increase the time your child is out of the stroller.
Applaud Your Child for His/Her Effort
Let your child know they’re doing well. When they make improvements give a compliment. If your child successfully makes it through a short errand without the stroller, tell him or her that they did so well walking through the store like mommy.
Make Walking More Fun
Don’t just limit your walking to the grocery store. Take daily walks, and stop whenever your child becomes interested in something. Let your child explore as much as is safe.
When you’re at the grocery store, a fun way to get your child to walk more is to let them use miniature carts if they’re available at your store.
Use A Sling or Backpack for A Younger Child
Sling and backpack carriers are a great alternative to a stroller for an infant. They allow more contact with your child, as well as putting them at your level.
Baby will be able to see and hear what you see and hear, and you’ll likely experience less crying. You’ll be getting to know and stay in touch with your children better.
Plus, your hands will be freer than if you were pushing your baby in a stroller! This is a great bonus if you have more than one child and don’t have a double stroller on hand.
Use a stroller alternative for older child
A wagon stroller for an older child can help with the transition out of the stroller. Children are able to see more out of a wagon stroller and won’t feel as confined.
Getting and keeping your child out of the stroller by age 3 can be a lot of hard work, but in the end it is so worth it. Your child will have learned so many new skills and developed so many important muscles.
Start early with a sling or a backpack carrier to get your child used to the idea of not being in a stroller. Alternatively, consider using a wagon stroller to slowly transition them off a stroller.
Once your child is able to walk take it slow and give your child praise for walking all on their own. When your child isn’t dependent on the stroller, he or she will be happier and healthier.
How long do your kids use their strollers? Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.