How Old Is Too Old for a Stroller? (3 Factors) - Mom Loves Best (2023)

Are you finding it difficult to let go of the stroller? Do you feel everyone is wondering why your child is riding instead of walking?

While it can be a lifesaver for parents, there comes a point when your child has to stand on their own two feet — and get walking. This is where guidelines become cloudy and why many wonder, how old is too old for stroller time?

Table of Contents

  • How Old is Too Old for Strollers?
  • Reasons to Retire the Stroller
  • Reasons For Using a Stroller
  • The Consideration Continues

How Old is Too Old for Strollers?

It seems this question has been a subject of debate for many years and it will likely continue to be so. There are no set guidelines, but the general opinion leans toward kids over the age of 4 to 5 years being stroller-free.

The transition should start at about 3 when your child is able to walk confidently and understand your directions.

This might take a little patience and perseverance on your part — your child may not take to it right away.

A gradual process of short walks combined with time in the stroller could help your youngster adjust to the change — with your sanity left intact.

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Reasons to Retire the Stroller

If you’re still wheeling your child around, you may want to think about the following:

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1. Kids Need to be Active

There are guidelines for how much exercise our kids should be getting every day. One report has indicated spending too much time sitting during a child’s formative years can lead to obesity later in life (1).

Experts consider the length of time a child sits in a stroller comparable to watching TV — it should be limited. They advise only strapping them in for a maximum of 60 minutes and to avoid extended periods in the same position (2).

Healthy exercise levels for the under 5’s is suggested as at least 3 hours a day. We’re not talking about hitting the gym with your toddler. It could be activities like dancing, swimming, a walk in the park, or even playtime in your backyard — anything that gets them moving (3).

These levels of activity can help a child:

  • Develop motor skills — they’ll move more fluently.
  • Improve cognitive development — memory, thinking, and problem-solving ability lays the foundations for academic achievement (4).
  • Maintain a healthy weight (5).
  • Develop muscles and bones — building strength.
  • Learn social skills such as interacting with others through play.

Knowing the benefits of exercise for your little one may encourage you to use a stroller less often.

2. Strollers Can Hinder

For moms, trying to navigate a stroller could have its downfalls — stores with narrow aisles and busy shopping malls may test your patience and skills.

How often have you pacified your super-active youngster by letting them out of the seat? You’re left steering an empty stroller one-handed while they walk beside you holding the other hand.

Also, why is it, when all you want is an elevator, the stairs seem to appear everywhere? If your big kids are on foot, holding their hand is less hassle than collapsing a stroller every five minutes.

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3. Parents Underestimate Walking Capabilities

If your child looks confident on their feet and shows no interest in wanting to ride in the stroller, then why use it?

Although they have shorter legs, many kids are able to cover greater distances — albeit at a slower pace — than parents give them credit for.

Reasons For Using a Stroller

Now, let’s consider why you might be reluctant to give up their ride.

1. Convenience

For parents, using a stroller to make things easier is one of the main plus points (6). Our busy mom lifestyles might mean time is limited. A stroller should get you and your child to places faster than on foot.

I’m sure most moms have faced the cries of “I’m tired” or “My legs ache.” Then there is the youngster who sits down and refuses to take another step. In these scenarios, scooping them up into a stroller gets you mobile again.

For the big day out with the kids, a stroller is worth its weight in gold. When walking all day around a zoo or theme park, long distances equals tired little legs — the wheels offer them a break while keeping you both on the move. This is the ideal use for a stroller in older toddlers. They may be perfectly fine walking for a few hours, but they need the break that a stroller can provide. During warm weather months, a shaded stroller can also prevent overheating.

Plus, not only is it great for your kiddie to enjoy what’s going on from their comfy chair. It’s also a handy place to store all the paraphernalia you can’t leave home without.

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2. Safety

There are times when having eyes in the back of your head is not enough. Opting to use a stroller could provide protection.

Losing sight of your child is possibly every parent’s nightmare. The trouble is youngsters are naturally curious and love to explore their surroundings. When buckled up, you know where they are at all times.

I had a personal experience with a two-year-old who was safer in a stroller than walking on his own. Some friends and I took him and his brother to a playground for a few hours of playtime. When it was time to leave, the two-year-old wanted to walk rather than sit in his stroller.

His mother, however, insisted on him sitting in his stroller for the walk back home. This persistent toddler then proceeded to have a temper tantrum, complete with dragging his feet onto the ground to impede stroller-pushing. Half-way through our walk, his mother decided to take him out of the stroller so that he could walk with us.

As soon as the stroller straps were released, he took off running, first down the sidewalk, then between two parked cars, and finally toward the street. Fortunately, the driver of an oncoming car saw his mother running to catch him and stopped. His mother was able to catch him just before he ended up into the street.

How Old Is Too Old for a Stroller? (3 Factors) - Mom Loves Best (5)

Editor's Note:

Dr. Leah Alexander, MD, FAAP

3. Not All Kids Are Created Equal

Children develop at different rates. You may have a 4-year-old looking more like a 6-year-old or vice versa. So who is to say whether either of them is too old for a stroller? Likewise, their physical ability can vary — some may find coping with distance an issue.

For some children, a stroller could be their only option for getting around — those less fortunate who might have a medical condition or a disability. The British Medical Journals discusses the mobility needs of children with disabilities.

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Unfortunately, in this world, people are too quick to judge on appearances without knowing the facts.

The Consideration Continues

There is little doubt, even for big kids, there are situations when strollers are appropriate. They’re a convenient way to get your kids from point A to B — particularly when time, distance, and safety are concerned.

However, placing your child in one for too long can eat into their precious activity time — essential for health and development.

While it’s all too easy to become dependent on this mode of transportation, stroller overuse is an issue in our society and something to be mindful of. That being said, no one knows their child better than you do. If you feel they need more time, don’t be pushed into ditching the wheels.

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FAQs

Whats the oldest a kid should be in a stroller? ›

Though the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't have official guidelines for when to stop using a stroller, Shu says that "kids should be transitioning out of a stroller at around three years old."

What age is stroller for? ›

At around 6 months old, the baby will be ready to move into a pushchair.

Does a 5 year old need a stroller? ›

There are no set guidelines, but the general opinion leans toward kids over the age of 4 to 5 years being stroller-free. The transition should start at about 3 when your child is able to walk confidently and understand your directions.

What age does a toddler not need a stroller? ›

However, official guidelines recommend that a child should be transitioned out of a stroller around three. Children need to develop strength and stamina, and sitting in a pushchair doesn't allow for that. Walking also encourages them to be active and independent and reduces the risk of obesity.

Is 3 years old to old for stroller? ›

I don't think a child should be in a stroller beyond three years,” said Uddin. “After 24 months, you should be weaning your child [off the stroller] with little bursts of walk that lead up to longer walking periods.” Otherwise, Uddin said, you're not giving the child the exercise they need.

Does my 7 year old need a stroller at Disney? ›

Many people waste lots of time and money on strollers at Disney World for their kids who are 6, 7, 8, 9, or even 10 years old because they think they need them. The truth is that any healthy kid over the age of 4 does not need a stroller at Disney World.

What can I use instead of a stroller? ›

The #1 alternative to strollers is baby carriers. You can use a baby carrier from birth to five or six years old, depending on your little one's height and weight. What is this? Baby carriers allow you to go hands-free, so if you have a clingy baby, you can still get things done while attending to your little one.

Can a 6 year old fit in a stroller? ›

Many big kid strollers can accommodate children from 3 to 6 years. For example, GB Pockit is an umbrella stroller that can easily fit a 5-year-old child and Joovy Zoom 360 Ultralight is a jogging stroller that parents use even for 6 year old kids!

Can a 7 year old fit in a stroller? ›

Most jogging strollers will accommodate a four- or five-year-old child with ease and may fit a child up to the age of seven, depending on the size of the child.

Does my 4 year old need double stroller? ›

If your oldest will be four or older by the time your 2nd baby arrives, you may not even need (or want) a double stroller — or you may only need it on occasion. Outside of the weight capacity problem (usually 40-45 lbs per seat), most 4-year-olds are too big (height-wise) for many of these stroller seats.

Should 2.5 year old get double stroller? ›

If you enjoy long walks with your little one in a pushchair, a double buggy is probably worth investing in, as 2 and 3 year olds only have little legs. They can't walk far and they can't walk fast, so if you usually walk a mile or two and plan to continue this, it will be tricky without a double pushchair.

Is 6 too old for a stroller at Disney? ›

The majority of 6 year olds will benefit from having a stroller, especially as a full Disney day is close to 10 miles. Below you'll find all the reasons you'll want a stroller at Disney World!

Will my 5 year old need a stroller at Disney World? ›

No matter how old you are, there's always magic around every corner, but watching it through your child's eyes is just priceless! To answer your question, yes, you should have a stroller for your 3 and 5-year olds. Adventure-filled days in the theme parks require a LOT of walking, and little legs tire easily.

Should I bring a stroller to Disneyland for my 6 year old? ›

I recommend a stroller as long as you can when visiting Walt Disney World Resort, even for children who would never consider using a stroller at home. Even though most 6-year olds are beyond capable of walking on their own, a day in the parks is unlike anything else and it can be exhausting.

Which type of stroller is best? ›

Best Baby Strollers, According to Parents
  • Best Stroller Overall : Baby Jogger City Mini GT2.
  • Best Affordable Full-Size Stroller : Graco Modes Element.
  • Best Car Seat/Stroller Hybrid : Doona Infant Car Seat/Stroller.
  • Best Lightweight Umbrella Stroller : Summer Infant 3Dlite Convenience Stroller.
17 May 2022

Are there strollers for older kids? ›

Sit and Stand Double Stroller

Our final choice for the best strollers for big kids is the Joovy Caboose Sit and Stand Stroller – it's a great everyday stroller for young children and larger children. Older children LOVE to ride on the sit and stand feature!

What is an old fashioned stroller called? ›

A hundred years ago, when someone needed to get baby from here to there or anywhere, they often used one of these (now) antique baby carriages — also called prams and go carts — and their stroller equivalents.

Is 3.5 too old for stroller? ›

“In general, strollers shouldn't be necessary past the age of 3,” says Dr. Brandon Smith, general academic pediatrics fellow in the Department of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. “By that point, children should be walking and running without issue and don't need a stroller to get around.

What kind of seat should a 7 year old be in? ›

California Law

​Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a car seat or booster seat in the back seat. Children who are 8 years of age OR have reached 4'9” in height may be secured by a booster seat, but at a minimum must be secured by a safety belt.

Can a 7 year old fit in a City Mini stroller? ›

I LOVE that my older daughter can ride in this stroller for years to come. (She just turned 4 and weighs about 30 pounds, so I know we have plenty of years to grow.) The Baby Jogger City Mini GT Double Stroller fits big kids super comfortably. I have friends with 7 and 8 year olds who still hop in when they're tired.

Is it better to have 3 or 4 wheels on a stroller? ›

Although this is often a subject of debate, when it comes to stability, generally four-wheels are better than three. The weight is distributed evenly, so there is less chance of it tipping over. Another factor here could be where you plan on using your stroller.

How many miles can a 4 year old walk? ›

Most 4 and 5 year old kids can hike 2-4 miles fairly easy. At this age, they are also generally enthusiastic about exploring nature and will come on the hike willingly. However, 4 and 5 year old kids are easily distracted.

Can a 4 year old use an umbrella stroller? ›

Children can begin using this stroller as young as 6 months old, and it is safe until they reach 50 pounds or 43 inches in height.

What do you need to travel with a 5 year old? ›

Typically, minors under the age of 18 do not have to present identification for domestic U.S. travel. Airlines will accept identification from the responsible adult on behalf of the minor(s). For international travel, minors under the age of 18 must present the same travel documents as the adult.

Does a 5 year old need a baby monitor? ›

Most experts recommended that you stop using a baby monitor when your child is about 4 years old. The reasons fell into two camps: They are aware of being watched at that point. They have fully adjusted to sleep in their own bed.

Is 5 too old for a buggy? ›

Its perfectly OK for you to keep using the pushchair as long as you want. Please don't worry about what other people think. They won't be there to pick her up, listen to the tantrum of the tired child, or fetch her as she legs it down the road. My DD is 4 and I still use the pushchair.

What age are kids easier to travel with? ›

The best time to fly with kids

The best times, most agree, are between three and nine months, when kids aren't yet mobile, and any time after age two or three. The idea here is to bypass the toddler phase, and, more importantly, to avoid flying with young infants.

At what age does traveling With kids get easier? ›

Don't get me wrong, travel doesn't really get "easy" again until they are between 3-4 years old, but somewhere between 18-24 months it does really start to get easier.

What do I do if my 2 year old won't wear a mask on a plane? ›

On American, JetBlue, United, Southwest, and the rest, the rules state that only those under the age of two years are exempt from flying with a mask. Over the age of two, there are no ifs, ands, or buts.

Are 5 year olds supposed to wear diapers? ›

Most children will complete toilet training and be ready to stop using diapers between 18 and 30 months of age,1 but this certainly isn't the case for all kids. Some children are not fully out of diapers until after the age of 4.

Can 5 month old babies watch TV? ›

Good evidence suggests that screen viewing before age 18 months has lasting negative effects on children's language development, reading skills, and short term memory. It also contributes to problems with sleep and attention.

Can 5 month old see TV? ›

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies younger than 18 months get no screen time at all. The exception to this rule is video chatting with grandparents or other family members or friends, which is considered quality time interacting with others.

Is 4 too old for a pram? ›

There are no set guidelines for when a baby is too old for a pushchair, but generally once a child is about three years old and can walk confidently by a parent's side, is when a pushchair is retired from use.

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