Is There A Handbook For That Stroller?

I will start by saying I am most definitely not a mother; at least not yet at this time in my life.  However, I do work in the hospitality field in Orlando and therefore get to see many families that are on vacation each year.  My friend John once pointed out to me a child that one would assume is much too large to ride in a stroller still and ever since then I have been noticing just how often I see this.  I am aware that there is not a handbook that is distributed for stroller etiquette, as if there is I would clearly not get hit by them so often walking through the theme parks here in town, but I do wonder at what point do parents put their foot down about stroller usage.  One parent in the Mothering.com community posted the following rules as to when a stroller should stop being used:

-he grows to big to fit in the seat,
-his legs grow long enough to drag the ground,
-he learns to propel the stroller on his own, or
-he decides he would prefer to walk than ride.

In my world those don’t seem like bad suggestions.  It is understandable that each child is different and therefore there is no specific age set in stone to stop using a stroller.  In all of these instances I am discussing children who are not facing any type of disability.  With Give Kids the World right down the street I am very accustomed to seeing their sweet faces in strollers and small wheelchairs, but this is specifically aimed at children who have no limitations.  Cafemom.com even did a poll to find out when most people have decided to do with their kids.  Their poll results uncovered the following:

Question: What age did you stop using a stroller?

1 year old: 0%,  2 years old: 27%,  3 years old: 34%,  4 years old: 10%,  5 years old: 3%,  Other age: 24%

Out of 29 voters it seems like the most common answers were between two and three years old.  However, here in Orlando you can walk through any of the major theme parks on any given day of the week and see large quantities of 8, 9, even 10 year old children in strollers.  They are easy to identify by their feet dragging on the ground and the way they are hunched down to even fit under the canopy for shade.  Granted sometimes you can see a younger sibling in toe and therefore you can understand why the stroller was originally brought to the theme park, but usually there are no younger siblings in toe and only an older child directing his or her parents around from their royal stroller seat.

Borrowed from TooBigForStroller.com

This trend is one that I am having extreme difficulty understanding.  I grew up as an only child so I’m not used to having anyone younger than me in tow on outings, but I don’t remember being in third grade and still utilizing a stroller because I just didn’t want to walk.  Is this a sign that parents are giving in to their children so as to keep the complaining to a minimum on family trips?  Or is this one of the many items that is contributing to childhood obesity?  Taking a look at TooBigForStroller.com you’ll see many of the photos that author Laura Miller has collected that demonstrate exactly what we see daily here in the theme parks.  Although many may find her points to be way off the mark, I can’t help but agree with her about how funny a sight this is.  It seems as if pediatricians might be on her side while they say that it could be a disservice to growing children to use strollers well past toddlerhood, but obviously there are parents out there that disagree.

Since I know many of my friends have children (obvious by looking at my Facebook news feed about first steps, first foods, and the lack of adults in most profile photos) maybe one of them will be able to explain this to me.  This isn’t the first time I have brought up this topic so it’s apparent that I am really hoping to understand this, so please feel free to let me in on your opinions and feel free to start a parental debate on the subject so those of us not yet parents can understand.

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5 Comments to "Is There A Handbook For That Stroller?"

  1. Katie's Gravatar Katie
    December 12, 2011 - 8:02 PM | Permalink

    I am quite passionate about this…if you are old enough to be in school (even VPK), you are old enough to not be in a stroller. I very much agree with you that I think it is detrimental to a child’s health. I feel the same way about children that drink out of bottles and have a pacifier after a year old. These people need to know the long term effects for their children.

  2. December 12, 2011 - 10:56 PM | Permalink

    I have no explanation for this. My child is still definitely in need of a stroller. And while I don’t think there’s a good, hard and fast one-size-fits-all deadline for stroller (or pacifier) usage, I definitely agree that there are way too many kids using both for way too long.

    I can see the temptation to use a stroller to corral one’s children, especially now that there are so many fancy models that accommodate multiple kids of different ages. That just wasn’t an option for previous generations of kids or parents. I can appreciate how it would be much easier to keep your kids organized when they’re both (all?) confined, especially out and about (or at theme parks). But encouraging constant lazing about in a stroller when a kid is perfectly able to walk has got to be helping promote the general obesity, sense of entitlement, and lack of independence that I feel like plagues so many kids and tweens and teens. I don’t think it helps that so many parents are oblivious or blatantly unconcerned with their kids’ needs and drag their children around theme parks, the mall, etc, so THEY can enjoy themselves without any regard for or anticipation of when their child may need to eat or sleep.

    I’ll tell you what though, you won’t see my fat 6 year old stuffed into a stroller, I guarantee it!!

  3. December 14, 2011 - 6:04 PM | Permalink

    I am not not a mother yet but I was an only child as well and had a single mother, yet i was out of a stroller at 3 years old (and it was not replaced with a leash disguised as a cute puppy back pack). My mom taught me, if I wanted to go to the parks I had to behave and I had to walk, it was basic discipline that so many parents lack these days. Even at my job now I have parents complaining we don’t have an elevator for their strollers and my reply is you have to walk if you want to fly.
    I always notice the over use of strollers and it really makes me angry, kids are allowed to be lazy and then parents wonder why their kids are fat. My mom and I have discussed this to great lengths and we both have been working in hospitality for quite some time to witness so much catering to the double wides. An age limit should be set or a maximum weight or height for stroller rentals, something, anything!

What do you have to say about all of this?