Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ready to Stroll

I love my strollers. Baby #1 is an adult now but when she first arrived, I was financially challenged and content just having one to use. Enter baby #2: I announced to my husband that I wanted a jogging stroller to which he replied, "Why? When do you jog? For some reason I can't imagine you'd need one of those." Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence. He's right, though. I'm definitely not the jogging type. I'm a walker-in-training. For baby #2 we forked over some hard-earned cash for a travel system that enabled us to snap the infant car seat into the stroller; the two combined canopies helping to protect the little guy from the elements. Baby loved it, too and slept through the bumpiest of rides. It was perfect!

Enter baby #3. Uh-oh. I can "wear" an infant and push another one on four wheels- no problem but babies get heavy...and heavier. Recently, our family bought us a stroller we could use to accommodate both our new baby and our toddler. THANK YOU!!! We are now grateful to have at our disposal a double stroller, single stroller, umbrella stroller and baby carrier.

I realized early on that a leisurely stroll 'round the block could be hazardous. This was something I took for granted when it was only hubby and I on our four legs (two per person, of course) and we could easily negotiate an uneven sidewalk. With a few safety precautions and preventative measures, it can be fun and stress-free to cruise around with little tykes. All that said, here are a few tips for safe and fun strolling:
  • Choose a stroller that's right for you and your family: Consider how and where you will use it. Are you a "city slicker" or the off-road type? Ideally, it should fit in your vehicle (if applicable) and not be too difficult to maneuver, unless you like a challenge.
  • Plan your route: Have you ever run out of sidewalk? It helps to be familiar with your route to avoid having to push the stroller in the street, over rough terrain or through an unexpected detour.
  • Use caution in high-traffic areas and parking lots: Even if you have the right-of-way, don't assume that drivers can see you! Keep a safe distance from the edge of the curb before crossing an intersection and don't "jay-stroll". Wear bright colors or use a flashlight/reflectors if out before sunrise or after dark.
  • Strollers are equipped with safety restraints and brakes...USE THEM: Always have your child properly seated and restrained. Apply the brakes when stopping even for a short period of time, especially on a hill. Stay close to your child(ren) and don't rely solely on the brakes...hold on to the stroller. Check with your child's doctor before jogging with them.
  • Don't load-up like a pack mule: Try to use the bottom storage basket/net whenever possible and avoid hanging heavy items from the handles or sides of the stroller, this can cause the stroller to tip.
  • Make sure you know where 'Thumkin" is: Check that your child's hands and fingers are clear of any moving parts when folding or unfolding the stroller or canopy.
  • Sun Protection: A canopy can't always cover every baby part. Use sunscreen. Hats and sunglasses (some kids will tolerate these) are good, too. 
  So there you have it...that's how we roll.

In the film  "Away We Go" Maggie Gyllenhaal's character "LN", who has an alternative approach to child rearing, is presented with a baby stroller (an unwelcome gift) and asks,"Why would I want to push my child away from me?"

Oh, and, um...I never did get that jogging stroller. 


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