Strollers are one of the most useful piece of equipment to have with a baby or young child. They are versatile, portable and keep baby comfortable. If used appropriately, a baby stroller is a safe everyday item.
Using a stroller might seem spontaneous, but it’s not hard to make mistakes and even cause injury, particularly while opening and closing one.
Most stroller and carriage accidents result from falls. The following are a couple of general baby stroller tips to ensure the safety of your child in the stroller so you can stroll with confidence.
Practice makes perfect
Spend your time to study the manual of your model, and try out all the functions before you take your child for a ride.
A couple of things to test:
If the stroller has different positions, can you handle the backrest easily?
Are the buckles on the restraint straps snapping into place appropriately?
Do you know how to open and close the stroller? Can you also do it with one hand?
Do you know how to attach your infant car seat to the stroller and fix it in place?
Walk, don’t run
You might be zealous to get back to your workout routine, however bear in mind that the majority of jogging strollers are not suitable for newborn under the age of 6 months.
Even though you can find an all-terrain or jogging stroller that has adapters to install an infant car seat; it’s still not recommended running with a child until he’s more than a year old, with much greater head and neck control than a newborn.
All-terrains should not be used for jogging at all, unless the manufacturer specifically states that running is allowed with their product.
Don’t use a second-hand stroller without checking its history
An older stroller which have been purchased years ago might not meet the latest safety requirements and it might have since been recalled. Even if it hasn’t been recalled many new strollers have features that make them a lot easier to use.
Before you start using an older second hand stroller, check with the manufacturer or the Consumer Product Safety Commission to see if it’s been recalled.
Also check the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for their databases of child car seat recalls and defect investigations.
Even if you bought a brand new stroller it is a good idea to check for recalls on a regular basis.
Use caution when opening and closing
It’s not always easy to keep your little one at a safe distance when you’re folding or unfolding the stroller, but it’s wise to do so. Stroller parts that are folding or locking together could pinch fingers or cause other injuries.
Do not allow your child climb into the stroller until you’ve completely opened it and heard that important “click” as the frame is locked into the opened position. It’s easy to neglect this step when you’re in a rush, and some strollers require force and effort to fully lock but always make sure it is fully open and locked.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when unfolding and collapsing the pushchair, and don’t let your child play with it.
Make sure that the hinges are either covered (with fabric) or have a closed design that doesn’t allow finger access at all.
The locking mechanism of the frame is what keeps the stroller from collapsing when you are using it. Some locking mechanisms have a secondary locking mechanism, providing extra safety against the frame collapsing unexpectedly.
You should check your stroller on a regular basis for wear and tear and for any broken parts and make sure sharp edges haven’t become uncovered and that fabric isn’t frayed. It’s a good idea to check the manufacturer’s guide for notes on maintaining the stroller. If the mechanism is not working properly, the stroller should not be used until it is fixed.
Buckle up your child every single time
Always use the restraint system when you put your child in the stroller, not just when he or she is in the car seat.
Whether the baby is only going to be in the seat for a very short time, or for a long trip, the harness straps should be used at all times. Even if your child is napping, make sure that the straps are in place and the restraint buckles are locked.
Many strollers come with a five-point harness system, which features straps that secure over each shoulder, at both sides of the waist, and in the middle of the legs. (A really resolute toddler can wiggle out of a three-point harness, so choose a five-point, over-the-shoulder restraint system.) It is essential to use all straps every time, not just lap straps or shoulder straps only.
Safety straps should be used regardless of the child’s age. For smaller babies, the seat belt is also necessary, though.
It can keep little ones from slipping underneath the stroller’s nap bar, and if the stroller were to tip over or be bumped hard in a sidewalk, the seat belt could hold your child in place to prevent injuries. Wiggly toddlers often enjoy leaning over and moving all around in the stroller, so the seat belt can prevent them from falling out.
Do not forget to brake
It takes only a slight slope or a jostle to make a stroller rolling away from you. Even apparently flat surfaces can have a slight incline, which could let your stroller to roll away very quickly and quietly, while you have turned your back for a few seconds, or someone can bump the stroller by accident.
Lock the brake whenever you stopped or when you need to take your hands off the stroller, even though you’re stopping for just a moment.
If you’re on a bus or train with your child in the stroller, or when getting the child in and out of the stroller the brakes should always be engaged. Using the stroller brake will help keep the stroller where it needs to be – near to you.
Make sure your child can’t reach the release handle.
You should always put the brakes on, but don’t rely on them alone in risky situations for example when your baby’s stroller is on a steep incline.
Strollers should have brakes which are simple to use. A brake that can lock two wheels offers an additional measure of safety.
The ideal brake system is one that locks the wheels into place, rather than those that use pressure to stop the wheels.
Since tyre wear and tear can affect how well your brakes function, check the tyres of your pushchair on a regular basis.
Check for broken parts
If some parts of the stroller are broken, check to find out if the stroller still works safely, and then do an additional check to make sure that sharp pieces aren’t uncovered, and that baby can’t reach parts of the stroller that could nip their fingers.
If pieces close to the wheel break off, make sure that those parts weren’t supposed to keep baby from getting stuck his fingers.
Wheels and alignment
Misaligned and loose wheels can be a continual problem with some strollers. One indication of good construction is wheels that sit on the floor evenly when a baby is in the pushchair.
If a wheel seems to be loose, do not use the stroller until you’ve checked the problem and re-tighten the fasteners, if necessary.
A few models allow you to take out a wheel if you need to purchase a replacement, however this is not the case with every stroller on the market.
Using stairs and escalators
You should avoid taking your child up and down stairs when she is in the stroller. If there is no ramp or elevator accessible, take your baby out, fold the stroller, and carry it. Lots of serious and even fatal stroller accidents have occurred on staircases unfortunately.
Do not carry a stroller with a child in it onto an escalator; use a ramp or lift instead. If you don’t have choice at all, get somebody to assist you. One person should hold the stroller at the top and the other at the bottom.
You can find more tips in the Safety tips article.