Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Less buggy, more walking

I was surprised to discover this week that the borough of London we live in has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the country. As a result, an article suggesting more parents make their 3-year olds walk rather than use the buggy in The Telegraph newspaper made its way to the mums group I belong to and help run. I thought it made an interesting discussion to share with you.
"Nickie Aiken, Westminster Council's cabinet member for children, and a fellow Conservative, told a newspaper that parents who relied too much on the buggy to ferry their young children from A to B risked damaging their charges' long-term health".
Ms Aiken, herself a mother of two, acknowledges that parents resort to the buggy to get to places fast but suggests that from the age of three, it shouldn't be used for short trips.

A mummy friend of mine made the point that she uses the buggy more from a safety aspect to get around busy London streets without worrying about her daughter running onto roads or getting squished on bustling London buses. More often than not, she uses the buggy on journeys that take her daughter to activities  involving physical activity, like swimming, football or running around in the park.

When I think about my own usage of the buggy, it definitely tends to be for journeys that I know are too long for my son to make there and back. We always just walk to the local park, nearby classes or playgroups and to the local shops. His nursery is too far and we'd have to leave very early to make it on time and he's still at the stage where he's exhausted when I pick him up at lunchtime.

Being pregnant has probably meant I've relied on the buggy a bit more recently than usual. If I've known I needed heavy shopping or something that I can store on the buggy and push along rather than carry whilst supervising a walking toddler then I have taken the buggy. Even then though, I usually try to encourage my son to walk alongside it rather than stay sitting in it.

My guess is that time is the biggest reason parents reach for the buggy. Very often we are rushing to get somewhere for a particular time and we haven't factored in a toddler's slower walking pace into the time we allow ourselves to get there. We can't expect their little legs to keep up with an adult pace and whilst they might enjoy running in the park, it's a different story when you're trying to hurry them along a road to get to nursery or a class because you haven't allowed the extra time needed.

What is your buggy usage like? If you have an older toddler, when did you phase out the buggy significantly?
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