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With a wide variety of prams, pushchairs, strollers and accessory options available for your child, choosing a stroller a can be a challenging task.
There are many varieties, types, and variations of strollers available to you when considering the ideal stroller for you and your child.
From jogging strollers to sit and stand strollers, twin strollers to bob strollers, lightweight strollers to baby carriages and prams. Such wide selection and market choice makes it difficult to navigate and choose the stroller that’s right for you.
With so many models and types, all with attractive features, options, and accessories, how can you be sure that the stroller you select is the ideal stroller for your needs?
Of the many important considerations to review when selecting your stroller, perhaps the most important are:
Pram, stroller, or carriage solution?
Many strollers are designed for use with your child after their first year (twelve months). Before this, a more traditional pram is often seen as a conveyance option for your child.
If you already have a child, or intend to have more than one child then a stroller which can be fitted with both a carry cot and seat option, suitable for both infants and toddlers, is an ideal solution to avoid purchasing multiple carriages, prams, and strollers.
Ensuring that your stroller can be used as a carry cot and then later as a seated option ensures that you child can travel in the stroller at anytime during their early development.
Whilst all strollers may appear practical and provide various benefits and features, choosing a stroller which easily folds into the trunk of your car means that whenever you travel between distances you can always bring your stroller with you and your child wherever you go.
Your stroller should provide a safety harness system that secures your child comfortably. Choosing a stroller which provides a harness restraint that incorporates an easy release buckle makes it easier for you to secure and remove your child from the stroller without the need to adjust or attempt to release awkward claps or fasteners.
As your child outgrows its carry cot, it is important that the stroller seat allows your child to recline. A stroller seat that reclines allows you to take your child out for walks long before they are able to sit up unaided.
Your stroller should provide a canopy that protects your child from weather ailments such as the harsh winter winds, autumn rains, and strong summer sunshine.
Whilst most stroller chassis’s can be easily wiped and cleaned, choosing a stroller whose fabrics are fully machine washable, and can be easily removed, is essential to maintaining your stroller and ensuring its longevity.
Many of today’s modern strollers allow you to adjust the height of the stroller handle to minimize strain on the back and lower spine.
When considering a stroller for your needs, it’s important to remember that the handle of the stroller not only needs to full adjustable both in height and position, but also needs to be comfortable for you and anyone else pushing your stroller.
Just as the handle of your stroller needs to be easy to adjust and position, the height of your stroller must also be adjustable.
As your child grows and develops the height of the stroller seat needs to adjust to reflect your child’s development. A stroller which also incorporates a fully adjustable footrest allows your child to sit comfortably and securely, able to adjust position and resting dangling feet.
Strollers come in different sizes, with differing chassis types, and wheel configurations.
Whilst a heavier chassis is ideally suited as a jogging stroller, extra weight and size makes manoeuvrability in shops, stairs, and other crowded narrow urban areas more difficult to access and navigate.
Strollers that do not have rotating front wheels, or have only three wheels, make turning and cornering in small spaces difficult and cumbersome.
When considering which stroller best suits your needs, remember that your ideal stroller should not only accommodate your child’s needs for transport, comfort, and growth, but also your needs for safety, stability, and manoeuvrability.
Exercising with your stroller
In our busy daily lives fitness often takes a backseat. Balancing work, family, and the home can be challenging, especially for new mothers. Getting yourself back into your pre-pregnancy shape doesn't need to take time out of your day, and small exercises can help regain lost fitness, revitalize your extra energy, and help you feel great about yourself.
As a mother, what better way to exercise than to grab your baby stroller, lace up your running shoes, and head outside to enjoy the fresh air with your child?
In the first few months after giving birth to your child, build your exercise activities slowly, starting with 10-20 minutes, 3-4 days per week, and then gradually increasing their duration and intensity.
Walking up hills is a great way to get in shape. To prevent injury to your back, avoid bending at the waist and leaning over your stroller when pushing up hill.
Hold onto the stroller and place your feet hip width apart. Keeping your head up, and back straight as you squat, bend both knees in a slow and controlled manner (ensure good alignment of the knees and toes), until thighs are parallel to ground. Squeeze your buttocks and straighten your legs to return to starting position.
To make your exercise more enjoyable, ask a friend join you. Strolling in public parks, and enjoying the fresh air is a great way to work out and still be near friends, and family.
Being a mother doesn’t mean that you can’t stay in shape, exercise, or improve your fitness. Following these simple exercises will help you to regain your form, and provide you with that extra energy to help you cope with the demands of motherhood and parenting.
Power walking or jogging with your baby stroller
Are you planning to power walk or go jogging with your baby stroller?
If you enjoyed jogging before your pregnancy and are trying to regain your former fitness, or are simply trying to get back into shape following the birth of your child, power walking, or jogging with your baby stroller is an excellent way to rediscover your former self.
Any jogging stroller that you consider should have good shock suspension, and stability. Most jogging strollers are heavier than traditional strollers and jogging longer distances can take time to build up greater stamina. Taking brisk walks with your jogging stroller, then moving up to jogging for a minute or two and then walking once more allows you to increase your fitness through time so that you will be able to begin jogging with your stroller more comfortably.
Before starting your first run together, adjust the handlebar of your stroller to your height before you take your stroller out to ensure you are as comfortable and stable as possible. Take a practice run or two without your child in your jogging stroller to get a feel for the handling of it and to make sure that you can turn and stop it without any difficulty.
When taking your first trip together use your stroller’s baby harness to secure your child so that in the event of stopping suddenly your child will remain secure.
Run at a slow comfortable pace. Initially you can expect your pace to be approximately one mile per hour, which is slower than your normal pace, as you will encounter resistance whilst jogging uphill, and should walk, never run downhill with your stroller.
Never take your hands off your stroller when jogging. Most jogging strollers are designed to need little or no resistance to make them move, so that running with them is easier, which allows them also to continue moving after you let go.
As your jogging stroller will continue to run with you due to momentum, it is important to stay in control of your stroller and ensure that you are never going so fast that you cannot stop if and when needed. Your stroller’s brake is designed to help park your stroller and secure it once stationary, not to slow or break your strollers speed and momentum.
Staying in control of your stroller allows you to relax and enjoy exercise with your child on trips and excursions outdoors. Whether you decide to walk at speed or jog with your stroller, you’ll find the jogging stroller is an ideal way to regain your fitness and stay in shape without ever leaving your child.
Infants' use synchronized visual information to separate streams of speech
One of the earliest hurdles for infants acquiring a language is learning the ability to follow one speech stream over others. This statement was one that professors George Hollich, Rochelle S. Newman, and Peter W. Jusczyk set out to explore. Could the importance of your baby's need to see your face when learning new words be confirmed? Can greater closeness between you and your child really encourage language acquisition? The study investigates.
Professor Hollich's research asks the question of how young infants acquire their first language. This includes both how they hear and remember the words of their native language; their understanding of how what they see can be segmented into meaningful objects, actions, and events; and the process by which young infants learn to connect these two.
An extract of Professor Hollich's study can be read below along with a link to the complete article.
Q: What were the main findings?
Q: Can you describe the study?
Q: How could infants answer if they don't talk?
Q: How could infants answer if they don't talk?
Q: Why did we do this?
Q: Why is this important?
Q: What does this mean for parents?
Author: George Hollich (Purdue University), Rochelle Newman (University of Maryland), & Peter Jusczyk (Johns Hopkins University.
Interaction with your child is also important when out strolling
Studies performed by Sissel Unger, specialist in clinic psychology, and Anne Carling, showed that the importance of child interaction performed even while out strolling with your child develop social as well as learning skills.
An extract of an interview with Sissel regarding her studies and findings can be read below.
"Small children most of all want to see their parents when out riding the stroller. Therefore it's important to have the stroller faced towards the parent. And try to place the child as high as possible, so that you constantly have close eye contact and interaction.
Make sure that you go for walks on the child's premises: The child most of all wants to have interaction, closeness and dialogue with you. Then it feels safe. You must never place the child in a position making them feel abandoned and alone. I would not turn the driving direction at all, at least not before the child has become two years old.
Self-confidence and the ability to establish contact and attachment are developed in interaction between parent and child. Therefore you should always choose contact building surroundings. Remember, you are out walking with your child."
Personality development is formed through interaction during early life
During infancy, childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, new needs and tensions arise. In attempt to seek ways of adapting to these newfound stresses each infant, child, and teen develop different kinds of intimate relationships that ultimately form their personality.
Relationships formed during each stage of life serve as a prototype for interactions in later stages of life. This was the conclusion of a study performed by Maren Cardillo at the Northwestern University.
When discussing relationships formed during infancy and childhood, the importance of attachment between a mother and her infant is emphasised:
"According to the Bowlby and Ainsworth (1991), the love between a mother and an infant is the result of an attachment bond formed during the first year of life. Interactions between a child and his or her mother form behavioural patters that are reflected in later relationships. An example of the development of personality as a result of this bond can be seen in the securely attached infant. As a result of sensitivity and responsiveness on the part of the caregiver, an infant may develop a "secure" attachment style (Rothbard & Shaver, 1994). Infants who develop "secure" personality types feel confident and at ease when relating to others. They learn how to take turns, how to lead and follow, and how to express and receive. The attachment bond serves as a prototype and provides the earliest pattern for warm and close relationships (McAdams, 1989, pp. 140-143)."
Relevant link: http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/cardillo.html
Author: Maren Cardillo, Northwestern University.
The importance of interaction with your child
“Small children most of all want to see their parents when out riding the stroller. Therefore it’s important to have the stroller faced towards the parent. And try to place the child as high as possible, so that you constantly have close eye contact and interaction”, says specialist clinic psychologist Sissel Unger.
The child most of all wants to have interaction, closeness and dialogue with you. Then it feels safe. You must never place the child in a position making them feel abandoned and alone. I would not turn the driving direction at all, at least not before the child has become two years old”, says Unger, who together with special pedagogue Anne Carling, run a counselling centre for families with small children.
Self-confidence and the ability to establish contact and attachment are developed in interaction between parent and child.
Travelling with your child
In our modern lives we travel, often across greater distances, more than ever before. Travelling with a child can be a challenge but with a little planning, both you and your child can have an enjoyable trouble free trip travelling by road, rail, or air.
When travelling with your child always remember:
Sitting and sleeping
Many airlines, bus companies, and railways will allow your child to travel freely if they do not occupy another seat, and sit upon your lap for the duration of the journey. Whilst this is ideal for short trips, on longer trips your child will become restless and will want to move around. At some point your child may even want to lie down and sleep, and once asleep you will want to make sure that your child remains undisturbed.
Purchasing an additional seat, or planning your trip to coincide with transport which is mostly available and does not run the risk of being fully booked, will allow you plenty of space to sit, and your child room to move and sleep when tired.
Baby travel bag
When travelling by air, a baby travel bag and changer is essential. The baby travel bag keeps everything close at hand, allowing you to keep diapers, clothes, toys, and food near at hand, and most baby travel bags also provide a separate laundry bag for used diapers and soiled clothes.
Babies and children are always hungry, so on both short and longer journeys it’s important to bring food with you. Cabin staff are often more than willing to help you by heating up food and bottles.
Toys and distractions
As adults we are used to travelling, but for children travelling can be a tiresome, and in early years sometimes a traumatic experience. Your child spends their time in familiar surroundings such as the family home, their stroller, or their crib.
Bringing your child´s favourite toys with you when travelling will help your child associate their new surroundings with the safety of the family home.
Take your time
When you are travelling with your child, you should allow plenty of time to check in before your departure.
Most airlines invite parents with younger children to board first, and if the airline staff are alerted that you are travelling with your child, you can often be one of the first to board.
Travelling with your child also means that you are certain to have a number baby travel items with you which can hold up other passengers, so when arriving at your destination, allow the other passengers to disembark and leave the plane, bus, or train before you.
Types of baby strollers
Technology, materials, and advancements in ergonomics and design have meant that in recent years an increasing array of strollers, and types of strollers has emerged.
In today’s market there are many types of strollers to choose between making the task of selecting your ideal stroller increasingly difficult.
Before deciding upon the stroller that’s right for you and your child, it is wise to consider the types of strollers available so that you can be sure your stroller is ideally suited for your needs and life situation.
Baby carriages or prams
In essence a pram is a solid backward-facing bassinet on a frame with four large wheels seen often as the classic image of a baby carriage.
Lightweight strollers are the smallest, lightest, and often most basic baby strollers available. Lightweight strollers include “umbrella strollers”, whose name derives from their curved double handles, and that they fold up easily and compactly like an umbrella.
Standard strollers are single mid-sized strollers and in their simplest form, provide a seat for your child and somewhere for you to push. Standard strollers can, and often do provide additional features such as parasols, nets, and shopping bags.
Stroller travel systems
Stroller travel systems provide maximum convenience for a parent with a newborn. A stroller travel system is comprised of a stroller with an infant car seat that is easily interchangeable upon the stroller chassis.
Universal car seat carriers
Universal car seat carriers are not strollers as such, but rather metal frames with stroller wheels onto which you can clip most brands of infant car seats.
Multi-child strollers and runabout strollers
Multi-child and runabout strollers are designed for transporting twins, triplets, and even quadruplets and quintuplets. Multi-child strollers are also practical for the parent with two children who are close in age or even three children of similar ages, for example, a toddler and twin babies.
Active strollers are designed for the health conscious parent who regularly enjoys physical activity with their children and include jogging strollers and all-terrain strollers. Active strollers also include bike trailers/ strollers, and child carriers for hiking and cross-country skiing
Walking with your baby and stroller reduces postpartum depression
The role of exercise, and in particular pram walking, as an adjunctive treatment for postpartum depression, or depression after pregnancy, was investigated by professor and clinic psychologist Amanda J. Daley, professor Christine MacArthur, and doctor Heather Winter.
A study released in the “Journal of Midwifery and Women´s Health”, shows that stroller and pram walking can play a vital role in the reduction of so called “baby blues”, by “stimulating the brain´s production of endorphins, biochemicals that can inspire a sense of well-being”.
The study reviews the evidence regarding the role of exercise, particularly stroller and pram walking, as an adjunctive treatment for postpartum depression and goes on to say that "loosing weight and improved muscle tone will also help increase self-esteem". Where walking with your child is a natural and non drug based form of antidepressant.
Authors: Amanda J. Daley, PhD, C. Psychol, Christine MacArthur, PhD, Heather Winter, MD, MROG, FFP.
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