There has never been a time when we did not have to carry our babies. Many cultures used a cradleboard, usually a highly decorated board covered in cloth in which baby could be tied in and secured that way. The cradleboard went on the back. Many cultures even to this day use slings tied around parent’s shoulders, neck or hip, usually the mother of course.
The Inuit’s in the coldest climates still carry their young inside their caribou-skin parkas, in Papa New Guinea they use string nets made from tree bark, enabling the mother to carry the baby and feed at the same time.
The very first baby carriages were designed to be pulled by dogs or ponies, probably on longer journeys.
In England whilst the poor probably just put a wooden box on wheels to carry their babies as the new baby carriage came about in the 1700’s would not have been affordable for many.
The English architect William Kent introduced the very first purpose built baby carriage in 1733, specifically for a British duke. It was a shell like structure and meant to be pulled along by animal power. Human powered baby carriers or perambulators were not really developed until 1848 by Charles Burton and American pedestrians did not like them as they tended to get in the way! Burton moved to England and his designs were affordable for various royal families around the world including England.
- Baumann from France devised the first collapsible baby carriage in 1906, he called it “The Dream”, perhaps the idea came to him in a dream!
The very first perambulator (now known as a pram) was thought to be introduced in Germany shortly after the end of the First World War. It comprised of four wheels and two facing seats and included a hood for the cold weather interchangeable with a parasol for hot seasons. Other accessories followed, mosquito netting, spare wheel and umbrella stand.
As it is such an essential piece of equipment for everyone the design now is highly modernized, some with small bicycle style wheels, and can be described as aerodynamic.
There are some with a small carriage which can be attached to a bicycle for allowing baby carrying and exercise and if that is not enough now jogging baby strollers are very in vogue.
We want to run
Whilst the problems of how to make our babies more portable have been addressed, have we got it right?
Possibly not; and how so?
The first baby jogger was designed by a journalist called Phil Baechler in 1984 as he wanted to spend more time with his baby son and run!
Firstly we do not really know how babies may respond to jogging. Yet.
Is it really a healthy pursuit for them? Some literature states that they should be a minimum age of one year for this type of stroller, jogging. There are also suggestions that a baby as young as 6 months can be taken out for a run. Time will tell if this is good, detrimental or indifferent to baby’s health.
Even the fact that some suggest you wait until your baby is 6 months old or able to sit up before you go jogging and others are suggesting not before one year old seems that not enough research has been carried out.
Which direction should your baby be facing? Fortunately many of the best rated baby strollers are adjustable in this respect so they can be turned around.
If baby is facing outwards how many times will you feel the need to stop and look to see what your baby is pointing to? Who are they talking to? Are you going to strain to hear them?
Historically and maybe intuitively the first baby carriages were designed so that baby could face their care giver, be it the Nanny or the parent. Although there was a reversible design in 1889, patented by William H. Richardson so it is not entirely a new idea.
Research suggests that it is far better to be facing your infant to enable interaction. It is common knowledge that baby’s development involves lots of “talking” and interaction with adults.
The first collapsible strollers were built with the more obvious design of baby facing forwards without much thought to how they may feel about that. Of course they can soon get used to facing forwards, they may even develop a way of talking to themselves about what catches their attention rather than to you!
Of course neither can you see if your baby is in difficulty if you cannot see him or her. So that is another consideration for facing your baby, never mind if he or she has to travel backwards!
Over to you
It may be a good idea to think about your child’s development as well as comfort and safety when it comes to strolling.