Monday, June 23, 2008

Mini-debates for mini-wheels

Whenever we've discussed getting a car, matters like clogged roads, safety and pollution always come up.

These issues must have seared themselves into our subconscious: When we went out and bought a stroller recently, they surfaced again - albeit in baby-realm guise.

We'd been prowling the stroller scene for a while now, wavering between three- or four-wheel models, one- or two-step folding mechanisms and so on. Finally, we chose a Maclaren and trundled home with Sonny bouncing along, looking rather miffed (he prefers Mum's sarong). Then we began noticing the parallels:

Clogged roads: Suddenly, every other sidewalk seemed crammed with prams, strollers or buggies. At the supermarket, there was a traffic jam in the aisles as strollers converged in cheery chaos. Were people wheeling their children about irresponsibly, Pa caught himself thinking, where narrowness of lane would have made a baby carrier or sarong more sensible? It was a replay of arguments for and against, say, discouraging cars in city centres - except there's no stroller equivalent of the car pool.

Safety: We started observing how some strollers come with chunky wheels and wide-body features that make them ready for urban combat. Others are slimmer and lighter, but would crumple in a collision, or easily tip over on encountering a pothole. It is just like SUVs squaring off against nippy hatchbacks. On the subject of safety, speedy - and speeding - also came to mind: What would be a sensible speed limit for a stroller?

Pollution: At least motorised strollers haven't made their debut, so current incarnations are all human-powered and cannot contribute to global warming. But when we stopped at a coffee shop for a snack, luxuriating in not having to keep Sonny to our chests either in a carrier or sarong, pollution confronted us head-on: A chap at the next table lit up, and ciggie smoke wafted our way. Unlike with a sarong and carrier, where we could at least partially shield Sonny, the stroller left him utterly exposed. We ate fast and sped off home.

Of course, our continuing soul-searching over getting a car is also roiled by questions of cost. Our son's new wheels cost us a pretty penny, but they still don't come near the price tag for, say, a Hyundai Avante. It would have been cool, however, to have had a stroller odometer installed - so we'll know just how many miles we eventually cover with our Sonnymobile.


Mumsgather said...

And if you pay attention, you will notice many kids still in their strollers jamming the errmm shopping malls waaaaay loooong after they have outgrown the need for strollers.

Anonymous said...

And you will also notice that after a while, stroller is used as a shopping cart. And who's pushing the stroller? Yup, the kid who is suppose to be sitting in it.

Cloudsters said...

You know, Mumsgather and Lian, where are the kiddy police when you need 'em? Someone needs to lay down the law (of common sense and consideration for others).