But which of these options are best for you and your little one’s needs? It really depends on your child’s age as well as the type of outing you’re going on. Here is a quick guide on the various ways to transport your baby, and some simple tips on what to look out for:
A stroller is by far the most effective transportation method for babies and toddlers, especially for longer outings as your little one is able to comfortably rest or even nap while in it. It is best suited for roaming around shopping malls, or strolling around gardens and parks.
There is a wide range of strollers available for every lifestyle and budget.
Reversible stroller Integrated travel system
Twin strollers Stroller with attached buggy board
Photo credits: Babytown
(i) Reversible strollers allow you to choose whether you want your child to face you, or away from you. Younger infants prefer to face their parents to feel secure, whereas older toddlers will enjoy taking in the sights and sounds while facing forward.
(ii) Some brands have integrated travel systems, allowing the infant car seat to be affixed to a stroller frame, so you can move baby from car to stroller (and vice versa) without disturbing his sleep. The detachable seat can also be used as a rocker, and even a carrier (for short distances).
(iii) For families with 2 young children, twin strollers might be a good idea, or one that can be fitted with a buggy board for the older sibling to ride on.
Things to note:
• Consider your lifestyle preferences when choosing a stroller for your baby. If you enjoy the outdoors, a sturdy stroller might be suitable. Conversely, if you prefer spending time in shopping malls, it might be good to get a stroller that is easily maneuverable and lightweight.
• If you wish to place your newborn in a stroller, ensure that the stroller is able to recline fully, and/or provide adequate head and neck support.
• It might be challenging to manage a stroller if you’re out alone with baby. You might have to fold up a stroller and place it into the boot of a taxi, while handling a fussy infant at the same time; or encounter a flight of stairs without a second pair of hands to help.
2) Baby carriers or slings
Carriers or slings are wonderful choices when heading to crowded areas, places with lots of stairs, or uneven/muddy ground, which would make strollers unsuitable. They also provide excellent, hands-free mobility for the wearer. Another bonus is the bonding that you and baby will enjoy.
However, carriers or slings might not be suitable for long excursions as the weight of your little one, over a prolonged period, could cause back, neck and shoulder strain.
There are many types of carriers or slings available, but generally, they can be categorized into two broad groups:
The first category are slings, best suited for carrying newborns, as baby will be nestled snugly against your body, making them feel safe and secure. Some examples are ring slings and wrap slings.
Ring sling Wrap sling
Photo credits: Baby Carriers and Slings
The second category would be carriers, which are slightly more structured, and have more padding, straps and buckles. They may seem quite complicated to use at first, but once you get the hang of it, they are brilliant as it affords quite a bit of freedom of movement. Another big bonus: they are designed to distribute the weight of baby more evenly over your shoulders and back.
Baby carrier (front) Baby carrier (back)
Photo credits: Baby Bjorn press image/ Baby Carriers and Slings
Things to note:
• Manufacturers usually indicate a weight limitation for safety, meaning that your baby might possibly outgrow these carriers/slings relatively quickly (even within the first year!)
• Carriers may be more expensive than slings, depending on the brand and type of fabric used.
• Slings may cause shoulder and back strain when used for long periods/carrying older babies, as the weight is concentrated on one side of the body.
3) Options for older babies/toddlers
Transporting older babies and toddlers is a different ball game altogether. Firstly, they are heavier, so carrying them in slings and carriers quickly become strenuous for parents. Secondly, they are more independent, and may prefer to walk rather than sit in a stroller or being strapped up in a carrier, even when they are tired and move about slowly.
For the more adventurous parents, you may want to consider introducing you child to interesting transportation options, such as tricycles, push-cars, and even skate scooters. However, these activities are more suited for outdoor excursions, and not within shopping malls or other built-up spaces.
Photo credits: Babytown
Things to note:
• For younger toddlers, push-trikes and push-cars with parent handles are more suitable, as the parent will have full control over the speed and direction of the “vehicle”.
• For skate scooters, safety equipment such as helmets and knee guards are advisable at all times.
• It is important that your child learns to stop or slow down his tricycle or scooter when told to do so; especially in cases of imminent danger (eg. near roads or steep slopes).
We hope this simple guide has been helpful in preparing you to confidently head out of the house with baby in tow. Enjoy your outings with your little ones!
I Love Children would like to thank Baby Slings and Carriers (www.babyslingsandcarriers.com) and Babytown (www.babytown.com.sg) for their kind permission for the usage of their product photos in this article.