Strollers are a way for parents to take their babies and toddlers out into the world in a way that keeps them mobile but contained. Be it going for a walk to get some exercise, going shopping, or even keeping little ones in a stroller while older kids have activities, strollers are used for a wide variety of things.
But with this amount of time spent in strollers, it can be detrimental to the health of babies and toddlers. And this is why parents need to use strollers in moderation because there are dangers to stroller overuse.
Most parents do not set out to have their babies or toddlers in the stroller all day. But when days get hectic and multiple things have to be done outside the house, it can happen. When it happens occasionally, it is not a problem. It is when it occurs frequently that there can be long term issues that arise.
All because little ones were not given the freedom to move outside the stroller for extended periods but were kept in one position for a good portion of their days instead.
Here are the dangers of stroller overuse.
10 Can Interfere With Physical Development
When babies spent too much time in the stroller, their overall development is impacted. Something that most parents never would have anticipated could even happen.
According to Healthline, the reason this happens is that little ones are designed to get movement throughout the day. When they do not, they are considered to be “container babies,” per the publication. Babies who spent too much time in spaces to confine them.
The lack of movement affects babies and toddlers by impacting their emotional, physical, and cognitive development.
And the more time that is spent in the stroller, the greater likelihood that this population will need to have intervention to remedy the developmental areas affected as a result of their immobility.
9 Increases Risk For Obesity
If babies or toddlers are kept in a stroller for long periods, their activity levels decrease. When this happens, people have to make sure that they still get their daily movement in. Otherwise, weight gain may be the result.
According to ChoosePT, when the amount of physical activity is decreased, but the same amount of calories are ingested, it leads to weight gain. And when this happens for too long, a risk for obesity increases. This is something that could happen to babies and toddlers if left in the stroller too long.
8 Can Put Stress On Joints And Bones
Many travel systems are designed so that babies can easily be moved from the car to the stroller, all while staying in their car seat. Something that unfortunately, also puts stress on the joints and bones of the body.
According to Rochester Chiropractic & Wellness, when babies are in the car seat, their spines are restricted to being in a C shape. When this happens, stress is put on the back.
And because of this, the spine that would normally be lengthening out and becoming straighter is being forced to stay in the position completely opposite of this. Something that can hinder physical development and may even prove to be uncomfortable for babies as well.
7 Can Cause Flat Spots On The Back Of Head
According to a 2014 study, many babies and toddlers spend 5.7 hours per day in a “car seat or similar sitting device.”
A similar device is a stroller. And for some, it may be a combination of a stroller and car seat given that some car seats pop directly into a stroller system.
As a result of being in the same position for this long a period can cause a flat spot to begin to form on the back of babies’ heads.
This is known as “positional plagiocephaly,” per the study. And without treatment and consistent changing of positions, babies may suffer from a flat head permanently.
6 Can Cause Delay Of Motor Skills
When babies are confined to their strollers for hours on end throughout the day, they are unable to work on their motor skills. Something that affects their overall physical development as a result.
According to Medical Support Serviceswhen babies spend too much time in their strollers, they can become delayed when it comes to rolling, crawling, or walking.
And as a result, chiropractic care may be needed by babies and toddlers to remedy the areas that are underdeveloped that are causing little ones problems.
5 May Interfere With The Daily Activity Infants Need
Children, from newborns through toddlers and beyond need to have activity daily. This helps little ones to grow not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well.
As such, when they are confined to a stroller for an extended time, all of that development suffers.
According to the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines, babies and toddlers should not be confined to a stroller for longer than one hour at a time. If the amount of time outside the house exceeds this, then breaks need to be taken so that little ones can move and explore. Without the opportunity to do so, the trajectory of development can change.
4 May Delay When Toddlers Learn To Walk
When in a stroller, it means that toddlers are spending less time building up their strength to be able to stand and then walk.
And as a result, toddlers may be delayed longer than their peers when it comes to walking. This is why moderation is the key when it comes to pushing babies and toddlers in a stroller.
3 Less Quality Time Is Spent With Parents
While there is a decent amount of time spent with babies and toddlers when they are in strollers, the quality of that time is not great. This is because, according to Well, When this population spends an excessive amount of time in a stroller facing forward, there is very little interaction with parents.
And this makes for “valuable opportunities for interaction” that are never had, all because babies are in the stroller.
As such, parents need to make sure to interact with their babies, regardless of which direction they are facing, per the publication. This will not only keep parents and babies engaged, it will continue to strengthen babies’ and toddlers’ development while in the stroller.
2 Speech Delays May Occur
When strollers, specifically forward facing ones are overused, it can lead to speech delays, according to the Daily Mail.
The reason that this happens is that parents are not as apt to be talking to babies and toddlers if little ones are not looking directly at them.
As such, there can be great periods when there is not talking, singing, or even making eye contact with babies and toddlers. And without this social interaction, per the publication, the development of speech may be delayed.
1 Inability To Explore The Environment
If babies and toddlers are kept in a stroller excessively, they are not allowed to explore their environments. Something that causes them to miss out on growth on multiple levels.
According to KidsHealth, when little ones cannot explore the world around them, they can have their emotional, physical, and cognitive health stunted, according to KidsHealth. As a result they may be behind their peers in these areas. And when this happens, it can make playtime more difficult.
But worse still, kids brains will not be working in the creative way it should. Leaving questions never asked, curiosity not sparked, and minds never challenged in the way they should have been. All thanks to stroller overuse.
Source: Daily Mail, Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines, Pediatrics, ChoosePT, Well, KidsHealth, Healthline, Rochester Chiropractic & Wellness, Medical Support Services