The first photo is of two of my grand daughters being pushed around by their very pleased grandmother. The vehicle in which they are riding is called a jogger, specifically designed for parents who run, and is a wonder of technology. The second photo shows its Indianapolis 500 personality, The kids will clearly become race drivers, and I have already requested the vehicle when they are done with it so I can install the proper engine. It is a large device, but can be collapsed onto its frame (providing one knows the proper controls to do so –it helps to be an engineer) to fit into a car (the larger the better). All in all it is an impressive device. It is comfortable, smoothly running, complete with convertible top, seat belts, water bottle and miscellaneous equipment holders, rugged, and light weight for its size. The photo on the left below shows one of its brakes (?) and its general high quality of craftsmanship. The frame is almost bicycle like in appearance.
I am almost ashamed to include the photo on the right, which shows me at the age of 5 months in my stroller. No spoke wheels, no bright colors, no comfortable seat, no roof, no brakes, no seat belts—it wasn’t even very big. I didn’t understand what a deprived childhood I had. Mothers and fathers could not jog very rapidly with this machine. Fortunately that was not a problem, because when I was a baby, any adult seen running for exercise would have been suspected of fleeing the scene of a crime they had committed.
But wait! My stroller had a tray that would hold small toys and beads to push around, and a handle I could pretend I was steering with. I could either sit or stand in it, and the foot plate could be removed when I became larger so that it became a “walker”. In fact, eventually the front wheels could be replaced with a steerable single wheel, the enclosure could be removed, and I had a tricycle I could kick around with my feet. It had rubber-coated bumpers and was a combination stroller and play pen. It was light in weight, low in cost, sturdy, and with a single obvious fold of the handle, extremely portable. And since I was unable to get into trouble inside it at an early age, I required less monitoring. Maybe some things have been lost over time.
In a post some time ago, I complained about the inexorable growth of pick-up trucks. Baby equipment shows the same tendency. Strollers are approaching golf carts in size and car seats approaching the size of the seats already in the automobile. Meanwhile in the recent past automobiles have approached vans in size and vans have approached busses, perhaps partly to haul this equipment around. There are some signs of reversal in this, as smaller efficient cars are now in vogue, and perhaps baby equipment will follow the trend, But over long periods of time we seem to think that generally bigger is always better, except for digital devices. I am not convinced. Bigger seems to be often accompanied by higher cost, more unnecessary features, more difficulty in operation, and the need for more space and materials.
But perhaps if baby equipment continues to grow, there will be a backlash because parents will have increasing difficulty finding their babies in the midst of their equipment, and require trailers to haul it around with their smaller more efficient automobiles.