Does Your Stroller Face Forward or Back?

Filed under: Opinions

A new study examines the effects of front or rear facing strollers.Breast or bottle? Plastic or wooden toys? So many decisions. Now we can add a new one to the list: Forward- vs. toward-facing strollers.

New research suggests that children who use strollers that face the person pushing them interact and laugh with them more. According to the study's author, M. Suzanne Zeedyk, a developmental psychologist, that may have a lot to do with how quickly he'll be saying "Mama."

"Vocabulary development is governed almost entirely by the daily conversations parents have with them," writes Zeedyk in a recent article in the New York Times.

Her study of 2,700 families focused on caregiver interactions with their infants and toddlers while pushing them in both kinds of strollers, facing out and toward-facing (prediction: that term will never catch on). "Caregivers were less likely to speak to infants when the child was facing forward, compared with strollers where the baby faces the caregiver."

On the surface, this study is a bit like saying "the floor is down, the ceiling is up." Of course parents will interact more with their kids if they are facing them. That's true whether they are in a stroller or sitting in the living room watching television, which, we are now told, is neither good nor bad for their cognitive development.

Although I would love to think that my children find me endlessly fascinating, I know that they also might want to look at something other than my mug. Checking out the rest of the world and interacting with it, even in an imaginary way, can also be beneficial to a child's development, right? Plus, how is the little tyke going to nap if mom/dad/caregiver is yapping away the whole time?

Frankly, this study seems like much ado about nothing. As Zeedyk concludes, "Parents needn't feel worried...Talk to your baby whenever you get the chance -- and whichever direction your stroller faces." If a problem exists with parents interacting with their children, having a "toward-facing journey" is not going to solve it. More time together playing when not strapped to a set of wheels? That might help.

What do you think? Does the direction your child's stroller faces matter, or is this a lot of nonsense?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.