During a Caribbean getaway a few weeks ago, actress Coco Austin shared a picture of her six-year-old daughter, Chanel, who she shares with rapper Ice-T, in a stroller, sparking a flurry of online debate.
The comments soon flooded with opinions about kids being too old to be pushed around in strollers. Is it too late for a “big kid” to use a stroller? Parents and pediatricians weigh in on when kids should stop using strollers and walk or run instead.
When Should Kids Stop Using Strollers?
Kids should stop riding in strollers after the toddler years, but most experts and families say there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to when they should stop.
Bethany Cook, a licensed clinical psychologist, says, “the decision whether to stop using strollers comes down to the whole family’s needs and what’s best for the child.”
Is The Use Of Strollers Long-Term Harmful?
A stroller can affect a child’s gross and fine motor skills and their perception of the world.
Samantha Stern, a pediatric occupational therapist, says, “Being out of the stroller guides in developing safety awareness, walking endurance, and understanding of life outside the stroller.”
Strolling too long could also lead to weight gain since children may not get the health benefits of walking.
Can Older Children Use Strollers?
Ultimately, every family must decide whether a stroller is suitable for their child. Still, most parents and professionals agree that strollers are ideal for long excursions.
Stern says, “On vacations or birthdays — usually, events that are for longer periods outside the norm — expect that a child will already be tired from all the excitement.”
Stroller Transition For Kids
Kids may find the transition difficult if you decide to say “no” to strollers. Doctor Harvey Karp, a pediatrician, says there are ways to wean your child from strollers without going cold turkey.
- Consider alternate transportation methods
- Start by validating your child’s feelings
- Engage people while walking