View Full Version : Did anybody catch this segment on NPR last night?
12-31-2003, 11:16 AM
I think it was on during All Things Considered. I only caught the last minute of it, but basically this pediatric cardiologist (works out of CHOBoston) thinks that parents rely on strollers excessively. He thinks that once children are able to walk, they should be allowed to do so...freely. He also threw in some stuff about how parents want to keep their kids little for longer, and this is part of our inability to let them grow. We want to keep them "younger" because we are so harried and have so much to do that we miss out on a lot. He DID say that he wouldn't think it would be the best idea to let kids run free in grocery stores.
This irritates me. There was a similar sentiment expressed a few months ago in tht NYT OpEd piece surrounding Strollerqueen's article. First of all, no offense to any dads here, but I have not heard a woman express this opinion. And more often than not, it's a woman who is in charge of the kids. Secondly, he kept labeling strollers as "convenient." Yes, it is convenient. Try lugging a 26 lb bag of wiggly, squirmy, screechy potatoes all over creation. You might want to invest in a wagon after a few minutes. And if you aren't lugging it, you're sure as heck chasing after it.
And I would be more than happy to let my child run free, if I wasn't convinced that *I* would be run out of any store where I allowed that. Do these folks have full-time help following them around, picking stuff up? Given the opportunity, Gannon would trash my entire town in the span of a few minutes. Yesterday we averted near disaster at least a dozen times at the grocery store. (Jars of tomato sauce, cans of olives...I did have to buy a tangerine he got a hold of...The bitter skin didn't deter him from biting it.) And I am very aware in the grocery store...I park him in the middle of the aisle so that he can't (in theory) reach stuff. But I don't like doing that because then people can't get around.
Believe me, I would ditch the stroller if I could, because Gannon sure doesn't care for it most days, and it's one less thing for me to have to deal with. Honestly, I am thinking about getting one of those harnesses. Not to corral my child, but to let him walk with *some* parental control. (He won't hold my hand.) I don't need my kid running out into traffic. But I use a stroller to create a safer environment for him and out of respect to others. They certainly don't want to clean up his mess, and I won't be able to because I'll be chasing after him trying to prevent more mess. LOL, can you imagine if all of our children were running amok?
12-31-2003, 11:39 AM
I agree with you, trust me someone has to save the mall from Daria! So we use the stroller and if she has had enough and agrees to hold our hand we do let her out for a bit. But if she starts causing heck again she goes right back in there.
I wonder if he meant past the age of 3? But I didn't see the show.I see a ton of kids around here that are at least 4, maybe 5 in strollers still. That seems a bit crazy unless the child is tired from hours of shopping they really do need to be walking around. Someone in Alex's pre-k class (all the kids are 4 or 5) still walks her daughter to school in a stroller. I couldn't push Alex in a stroller if I tried and nor would I want to but to each his own!
12-31-2003, 11:55 AM
Joanne, I didn't catch this segment... but would be interested in hearing it.
I know this is a bit far off from the subject at hand, but I saw an interesting stroller useage yesterday at the outlets. Jay and I drove past a woman who had 4 or 5 children with her. I am guessing they ranged in age from 2-10. She had one child in the stroller (maybe a cosco or graco lightweight) and she had another child (big, maybe 2 or 3 years-old) asleep in (or hanging out of) the stroller basket! Given, the basket on the stroller was bigger than mine, I can't imagine placing a child in this part. Talk about over-reliance on a stroller! And to top it off, she was walking on the opposite side of the street from the sidewalk, in the road between tanger 1 and tanger 2!
I wonder what the cardiologist would say about this! Bye the way, you should write in. They always seem to mention when people write in one way or the other. I bet there were many other mothers thinking the same thoughts you were.
12-31-2003, 12:03 PM
I heard the segment and was even more irritated with the woman asking the questions. "Don't you think it is crazy that parents push their kids around in mini SUVs?" In a whiney kind of voice she explained you can even get them in leather... After listening I assumed the woman is not a Mom. Not only becase she does not see the need for a stroller but because she was so judgemental of Moms.
12-31-2003, 12:05 PM
I saw someone do that once! That is dangerous, the worst one I have seen is putting a child or an infant seat on top of the canopy to a single stroller, get a double or use a sling/bjorn or something that is so unsafe to carry 2 kids in a single stroller! I had seen people have a younger child sit in an older one's lap also in a single.
12-31-2003, 12:16 PM
What was strollerqueen's article? Sorry if I haven't been keeping up well.
Mom to Norah 5/23/03
12-31-2003, 12:39 PM
You can listen to it on npr.org:
It's called "Big Kids, Little Strollers" - scroll down to find it.
I just listened and it's pretty lame. The Dr. just says what we all know - that kids should be able to explore their environment unassisted "at least for short periods of time" but concedes that this is tough in a store. Whatever. At the end I realized that he wrote the book that my former boss gave me when dd was born - I haven't even cracked it open and have even less interest now.
12-31-2003, 12:42 PM
I'm with you jojo--last night I had to buy a grapefruit that Audrey bit into and demolished....you never know...;)
But if I let her run wild at a mall...I'd owe a freakin fortune. She can seek and destroy better than any missle in our entire defense system! :D
I also think that this is another opinion that is good in theory, but not practical in the real world. i think there is a place and time to let them run wild and explore, but when safety (ie crossing streets, sidewalks on streets etc.) or other people's goods like a mall or store are at issue, its just not practical. And some can harp all day long about "teach them not to touch it" (ala my MIL) but a 16 month old has no impulse control; and I can tell her all day long not to touch, but when the impulse strikes, that kid will stick her hand in a buning fire!
My opinions have changed so much since having kids. I just don't think you can have a realistic opinion of raising a child until you are doing it hands on.
12-31-2003, 12:43 PM
Like we didn't all know that! It's the same as any parenting "device" swing, bouncy etc in moderation they can all be great things. As long as a kid isn't in one all day, everyday there is no real problem. I prefer to let my kids explore outside than in a store anyway. It's safer, who knows who is in a store and how fast a kid can get away from you!
12-31-2003, 01:41 PM
Here's the thread with the article in it:
http://www.auction-pix.com/katasha/stuff/snowman.gif Mary & Lane 4/6/03
12-31-2003, 06:15 PM
ITA. I heard the segment and thought that the information that the doctor presented was pretty balanced. He said that kids need to roam when possible to get some exercise, but that people now are so busy that it is not always practical. It was that woman who totally irritated me with her inflamatory and judgemental comments.
01-01-2004, 01:06 PM
I just listened to it online and didn't think it was so bad. The ped said he thought the kids who could walk should do so "for brief periods of time" (he said that several times) and he said they shouldn't be running around the grocery store ripping things off the shelves. I know I feel bad when I keep Jack in the stroller for a very long time (he can't walk yet) and try to find places where he can crawl around for a bit just to stretch his legs. The intro to the piece talked about kids who are 5,6,7 in strollers and I guess I agree that that's pretty old to be in a stroller, unless it's a special circumstance. (That said, it did sound like the reporter -- was it Melissa Block? -- was pretty anti-stroller in general.)
01-01-2004, 01:33 PM
...I just listened...
Anyway, I can't speak for the way they expressed the sentiment, but in general I don't disagree with it (I say as I'm looking to buy a massive AT). I do find it a struggle sometimes to balance having Ds in the stroller and getting everything done that I want, with not using it as a toddler cage. Whenever possible, Ds walks, unfortunately it's not terribly often (ESPECIALLY not in the grocery store, but sometimes in other stores if I know I only have to buy one thing). Actually, just yesterday the three of us went to the mall and I chastized Dh for getting out the stroller saying "Let him walk, we're not in a hurry!" Ds says, "Ride - Stroller!" No joke, yesterday, for some reason, he only wanted to ride.
I have seen giant kids in tiny umbrellas and thought it looks so odd, but who knows the story behind it, the parents could have been shopping for 6 hours and the little one's legs are exhausted. Maybe that's their point, though. A parent shouldn't be doing that if their child can't handle it. Who knows...
I've also seen someone using the basket for a second-seat. Usually in a really poor area and I feel bad for them and think "If only they could have a sit & stroll!"
Interesting that the pediatric cardiologist isn't focusing on the lack of exercise and it's affects on the heart, but more a developmental aspect.
Ouch...that woman did have a bit of a fork in her tongue, didn't she? I wonder if she's a member of one of those child-hating groups.
"Children should be uncomfortable so there's an incentive to get up and use their own two feet."
All things in moderation...
01-01-2004, 01:37 PM
Like I said, I only caught the last minute...I haven't listened to the entire segment yet. I guess it's irksome to me that it's MY reasoning that's behind Gannon being in a stroller, as opposed to the likely wrath I'll face if he's NOT.
That said, I was just traveling a few weeks ago. It was REALLY hard to find places for Gannon to run around and not be totally disruptive. (We were in Boston for several days.) We ended up going to a mall a few times and just letting him run the halls. Wouldn't it be great if malls had some sort of kiddy depot? A place with activity equipment, mats, ball pits, etc, where kids could release some energy? (Especially in locales where there isn't such a place.) I know this could lead to a whole slew of problems, like parents who leave their kids there and use it as a baby-sitting service, etc. I also know that there are some places like this out there, just not near where I live.
01-01-2004, 01:43 PM
A mall near us has a great play area for kids. It was put in by a local hospital and has fun toys to climb on that are in the shape of a stethoscope, band-aid, etc. There are also some bead toys, a full wall of books, benches around the edge and even a couple changing areas. There's a 3-4 foot wall around it with one way in and one way out. It's awesome!!!! Truly a great idea.
http://www.auction-pix.com/katasha/stuff/snowman.gif Mary & Lane 4/6/03
01-01-2004, 02:25 PM
I missed the actual piece (although I'm not sure HOW since I'm such an NPR head), so I don't know what the doc was actually saying. There a range of mothers around me with small children and there are always one or two that are hauling their kids all over creation and they spend and huge amount of time in car seats or strollers, but that is the minority. I know I try to space out long my "stroller days" say he's not spending too much time in it. But honestly that's to preserve my own sanity, because the more he crawls, the better he naps.
Of course I just got to laugh at all this "advice". If I was a woman in a developing country and had a baby strapped to my back for two years while I labored in a field they would probably label it a "bonding experience." Not just doing what I got to do as a mom to put food on the table. Woman have always struggled with the "how do I keep the kid under control and safe and still get done what I need to get done?" My guess is there have always been people around that are more than happy to tell moms they are doing it "wrong."
Mom to Harvey
01-01-2004, 04:45 PM
"Wouldn't it be great if malls had some sort of kiddy depot? A place with activity equipment, mats, ball pits, etc, where kids could release some energy?"
We have those here & they were a veritable Godsend, although few & far between when visiting Seattle this summer.
There is one enormous mall here that does not have one & that ticks me off.
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