Dad Friendly Strollers Height Adjustable Stroller Handles Ergonomic Parenting Stoller Back Pain

With more and more daddies taking on the role of primary caregiver for their tots, baby gear manufacturers are starting to listen to what dads need and want. Thank goodness. Daddies’ aching shoulders, necks, and backs deserve a break from all the hunching over they do when pushing strollers.

– Oh, My Aching Back –
Inherently taller in stature than many mommies, daddies have long struggled to find strollers that are easy to maneuver while still allowing them to stand up straight. According to SpineUniverse (www.spineuniverse.com), whose goal is to help patients and their families understand their back or neck problems, poor posture is one of the leading causes of recurrent neck and back pain.

Daddies (and tall mommies) who slouch, or hunch over, to push a stroller, are reversing the natural curve of their spines. In fact, a SpineUniverse article entitled “How You Can Prevent Back and Neck Pain” (http://www.spineuniverse.com/displayarticle.php/article1985.html) says, “Prolonged slouching can cause damage to spinal tissues. Over the years, repetitive poor posture can cause discomfort, pain, and conditions that may lead to the need for surgery.” For tall parents who may have already begun feeling the affects of poor stroller pushing posture, SpineUniverse offers tips for changing posture habits as well as stretches and exercises to alleviate pain.

– Ergonomic Daddies –
Pampers offers some “how to push the stroller” suggestions on its web site (http://www.pampers.com/en_US/learning/page/tpc_article_details/topicId/201/type/101/contentId/17640/stageId/105.do), noting that proper form is the best way to avoid injury as well as gain strength, and identifying elbow locking and hunching over as the two most common postural mistakes.

And, Urbanbaby (www.urbanbaby.com), which touts itself as Greater Vancouver’s best print magazine for new and expectant parents, published “Parenting, the ergonomic way,” an article by Dr. Karen Nordahl and Carl Petersen, PT, that offers the following reminders when pushing a stroller:

– Keep head and chin up and ears over the shoulder;
– Keep shoulders depressed and retracted, with chest leading;
– Softly bend (don’t lock) arms;
– Keep wrists in neutral when holding handlebars (especially if experiencing carpal tunnel issues); and
– Switch on or engage abdominals through any movement.

With all this in mind, daddies are better poised to purchase a stroller that fits and allows them to take a full, comfortable stride when walking.

– Height Matters –
Fortunately, both elbow locking and hunching over can be easily avoided by purchasing a stroller with the right handle height. Many daddies praise the stroller handle extender offered by LivingXL.com, an online retailer of “accessories for larger individuals” (http://www.livingxl.com/store/en_US/catalog/browse_sku.jsp?clear=true&catID=cat40220&prodId=X1108&id=cat40220). The device secures to any standard baby stroller handle with Velcro straps. It lengthens the handles by about eight inches which eliminates bad posture and wheel kicking.

Other daddies give kudos to the Uppa Baby Vista Stroller by Stroll and Go which has a one button, telescopic handle-height adjustment and a floating arch, “no kick” rear axle. Also included on the Vista’s long list of attractive features is the fact that it keeps baby up higher, closer to daddy and further from the ground so there’s no need for deep bending.

Also a favorite among daddies, is the TallParents stroller which was invented by a 6-foot-4-inch daddy and a 5-foot-11-inch mommy who were tired of stooping over the stroller and kicking its wheels. Lightweight and convenient, it has adjustable handles that extend to 46 inches. Another stroller with an adjustable handle is the Baby Jogger City Series (http://babyjogger.com/cityseriesmain.htm).

– Bells & Whistles –
Daddies with some extra cash in their pockets can get excited about the Roddler by Kid Kustoms (www.kidcustoms.com). The “harmonious result of the automotive and apparel industries joining forces to breathe new life into juvenile product market,” Kid Kustoms offers a line of customizable strollers called the Roddler. In acknowledgement of the stroller’s extravagance, creator Jamie Colbentz of Montreal founded Dads Against Wack Strollers (D.A.W.S.), a program allowing dads to win a Roddler.

Athletic daddies, like megamarathoner Michael Wardian, praise the BOB stroller (www.bobgear.com) for its strong suspension system, ruggedness, and style. BOB is the official stroller of the Ironman Triathalon and Stroller Strides.

Other daddies like the Jeep Overland Limited Jogging Stroller which not only has a height-adjustable handle and a rear disc brake for quick stops, but also features a sound system for use with an iPod or other MP3 player.

– More Caregiver Daddies = More Dad-Friendly Strollers –
According to a report on the Today Show on April 2, 2008, the number of at-home dads has grown by 60 percent over the last four years. And, while census figures remain inaccurate and difficult to analyze, one this is certain – those who study the stay-at-home-dad movement expect the numbers will continue increasing.

AtHomeDad.org (www.athomedad.org) is a resource and community for stay-at-home dads, fathers who are primary caregivers in their family, and other involved dads. One of many web sites of its kind, it clearly illustrates the trend of more and more daddies stepping into the “Mr. Mom” role. In addition, the annual At-Home Dads Convention offers education and social support through parenting workshops, educational sessions, and social networking. As the reversal in traditional gender roles continues, consumer demands are sure to drive additional dad-friendly strollers to market.