Sure, Your 7-Year-Old Can Walk, But Why Not Carry Him?

Filed under: Opinions, Expert Advice: Just For You

If you thought carrying your baby for the first year or two was tough, I've got some bad news for you. It's the Piggyback Rider -- a newfangled, $80 child carrier that promises it can handle kids up to 60 pounds ... and 7 years old.

Yep. Now you can schlep your little second grader around, on your back, just like you did when she was 1. Or 2. Or maybe a petite 3. Suddenly, the idea that we should be carrying our kids around for another four or five years is supposed to sound normal. Even fun. Even good for parents and kids. When actually, it's ridiculous for both.

"Children (2½ - 7 years) love the height advantage, rest and, most of all, the quality time with their parents," boasts the Piggyback Rider website.

Ack! Kids love the "rest" they get? Aren't kids supposed to be running around? Aren't they getting fat enough already? Aren't we -- the grown-ups! -- the ones who always need a rest? I know I sure do! And if I was staggering under the weight of a whiny grammar school student grabbing my hair, I'd need three days in a mud bath before I could get up again.

As for "quality time" with parents, how does this qualify? The kid is strapped in. He's talking to a ponytail. He has as much free will as a mounted moosehead. Is it really quality time when you're Mommy's backpack?

The whole idea of carrying one's children usually has to do with their inability to get around on their own. Once a kid is capable of walking, why stop them? Would you stop a kid from chewing? "Wait, honey! Let me chew that first!" Or wiping himself? "Bend over!" So why stop a kid -- and we're not talking about children with special needs here -- from literally standing on his own?

In the video about the device, the creator crows that it is great for "adventures" like "applepicking." But the joy of applepicking is freely frolicking -- a joy denied to kiddie cling-ons.

Under the guise of easing a parent's burden and helping kids, this product does just the opposite. It burdens parents far longer than anyone ever dreamed, and it stunts kids by making them dependent on their parents.

That said, I bet it'll sell. Anytime you can convince parents that they should be doing more, for longer, for their perfectly capable kids, you can usually make a buck. Or $80.

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