7 Top Bad Stroller Habits Even Great Parents Have
Among the top baby gear decisions a parent has to make is buying a stroller. It even becomes a mega decision when you throw in an infant car seat for the perfect stroller travel system for your newborn infant. While buying it might not be as hard as it seems since you can always ask for help, using it is indeed hard.
The use of strollers is not just a simple matter of strapping your baby on the seat, then pushing the stroller around for fresh air. Did you know that when used in the wrong way, the stroller can actually impede your baby’s brain development? Not to sound scary, but it’s actually true.
Making these mistakes does not mean you are a terrible parent. Even seasoned parents still make them, but unknowingly. For parents and soon to be parents, here are some of the bad stroller habits even great parents have. I hope these tips will help you use your stroller more wisely.
Bad Stroller Habits
These mistakes are not ill-intentioned, meaning that you aren’t a terrible parent if you find yourself making one. It means that you are learning every day and figuring out how best to use your immaculate stroller. Let’s learn together and become better parents than we were yesterday.
1. Extending The Baby’s Use of the Infant Car Seat
The infant car seat is one invention that provides parents with a lot of relief. Babies who aren’t usually able to support themselves rely on the seat for support and safety. However, they are only as good during the first few months until the baby can sit upright by themselves.
Continued use of the infant car seat delays essential motor, cognitive and sensory development that would have otherwise taken place when upright. Being able to sit upright when pushed around in the stroller allows the baby to interact with their surroundings.
The baby is also able to turn her head, wave at passersby, and even make sounds in recognition of what is going on around them. When awake, let a baby who can sit upright do so. I have seen countless babies struggle to have a perspective of the environment in an outgrown car seat.
2. Making It a Routine for The Baby to Sleep On the Stroller
At first, you may not realize it, but routinely allowing your baby to sleep on the car seats outside the car exposes him to certain risks. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome risks increase the more you let your baby sleep on the padded stroller seats.
The American Academy of Pediatrics outlines that once out of the car; the baby should sleep on a firm, flat surface meant for sleeping. This should be done as soon as the situation allows. Avoiding this common mistake would be a great way of keeping your kids safe.
If you aren’t convinced yet, consider a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics. It concludes that babies who spend more time in a car seat realize lower oxygen levels than those on flat surfaces.
Reduced dissolved oxygen levels in the blood have a negative effect on brain development and health. Therefore, do not let your infant use the seat as a replacement for a sleeping surface.
3. Overusing the Stroller
Listen, the stroller too has limits beyond which it becomes detrimental to the baby’s overall development. Even great parents are guilty of overusing strollers as well other baby gear for holding babies. It could be a stroller, a bouncy, a sling, napping wedges, rock, and play or baby positioners.
Practitioners recommend that your baby spends at most 2 hours every day when positioned in a reclined position. You might be aware that spending too much time in a flat recline position increases the probability of your baby developing head flattening (Plagiocephaly).
Other risks include neck tightness, delayed motor, and sensory skills developments alongside a host of others. In addition, spending more time than necessary in a stroller leads to a conditioned reflex where the baby grows attached to the stroller.
This latter condition is explained by the persistent nudges from your toddler to go almost everywhere on the stroller. Weaning her off the stroller becomes a nightmare once she has outgrown it.
4. Assuming That Kid Is Fine Once Safely Strapped with The Harness
The safety harness on a stroller is a feature that often gives parents a false sense of security. While it offers excellent peace of mind knowing that your baby wouldn’t fall, it doesn’t always provide a restraint from positional shifts.
That is why most strollers have a peekaboo window on the canopy cover. You are then expected to constantly check the baby’s sitting posture and positioning to ensure he is not uncomfortable in any way.
You should be well versed with baby positioning techniques in any device for holding a baby. A stroller is one such device.
5. Having an Infant Sit Facing Forward
Research has it that before your baby is able to sit up upright and explore, they benefit more by facing back at the parents. This research has it that forward facing infants are at a disadvantage of impeded brain development, compared with those who face caregivers and parents.
At the young age, when on an infant car seat, what a baby needs is to interact with parents. This study conducted in Scotland shows that babies facing their moms and dads talk more, fall asleep faster, have moderate heart rates, and laugh more than those who are forward facing.
All these are signs of less stressed babies. From birth to age three, parent-child interaction is a key component of baby development. However, this does not mean that you should have the baby rear-facing at all times.
Once they can sit upright, you can have them face the world and develop their other senses by twisting and turning around in their seats. That would be the perfect blend of safe stroller usage techniques.
6. Letting Kid Push the Stroller
I might be guilty of this. I once in a while let my persistent 3-year-old daughter have a go at the stroller. Sometimes she has her “baby” on board and wants to show her around just like mum does. And who am I to say no to such adorable acts?
In as much as I am fine with it, I ensure the time and place is safe for her to push it. I have seen toddlers push around strollers on the busy walkway and crowded places, which is not good at all. No one wants to get in the way of an errant toddler wielding a stroller and headed straight at them.
7. Giving in to the Go Faster Demands
Is it just me, or have you noticed that some kids urge their parents to push the stroller faster when older? Giving in to those demands is not only reckless but is also dangerous to other users. While you may want to be a great parent, this behavior is best for large open spaces when no one is around.
Alternatively, your contention for the parent of the year wouldn’t suffer a dent if you stood your ground and continued pushing the stroller at a normal speed. It would save you the embarrassment in case you end up wiping someone out.
What is the cause of Bad Stroller Habits?
One day after an encounter with a clearly uncomfortable toddler on a stroller, I decided to politely ask the parent why she was too exuberant to continue using the stroller. She told me the stroller was still convenient to her and the baby, even at that age.
Besides this convenience, here are some of the other reasons you will get for some of the bad stroller habits.
Toddlers who grow too attached to the stroller push parents into a bad habit of allowing them to keep using the strollers. Sometimes if you decline, then she screams and yells, after which you agree.
If this is the case, then you need to limit her stroller time gradually to about twenty minutes a day. This should be done despite the squeals, screams, and whines. For a trip that is child-centered like going to buy her a stroller, threatening to cancel works too.
Not Wanting to Wake Up a Sleeping Baby
Sincerely, no one wants to disturb a sleeping baby. Unfortunately, this tendency is what leads to the extended usage of a stroller seat beyond permissible limits. Spending longer hours in the semi-reclined position is bad for their head as mentioned earlier.
Parents have a presumed difficulty of putting back an unsettled baby back to sleep. Nonetheless, with careful practice, your baby will soon learn to go through the transitions with minimal fuss. Babywearing is another viable alternative
What we have discussed above are some of the bad stroller habits even great parents have. Have you found a bad stroller habit that you have been making? If so, then it is not late for you to correct these. The fear of waking up a sleeping baby at the expense of their health is not worth it for you.
You can teach the baby to make smoother sleep transitions to their favorite crib. An infant car seat sounds convenient, but not outside the car. Actually learning to live without it means less weight to push or carry out in the stroller.