Strollers are a necessary evil. Especially if you live in a metropolitan area where you walk everywhere and never use a car. But just because they are necessary doesn't mean you should take up the whole sidewalk with them and run into the backs of other people's legs. That's an offense I am very guilty of particularly in my early stroller pushing career. I've gone a bit pro now and have mastered the double-wide and double-long. Go me! (Or is it poor me!?)
Going pro though takes practice, along with some rules of the road/sidewalk/grassy field/mall or whatever terrain under your stroller wheels. This is important stuff, my fellow parents. No one wants to be like that jerk with the massive, golf-sized umbrella hitting everyone as he walks down the street. Plus, we don't need to give all the non-parents more fodder to hate on us. Without further adieu, here is the etiquette for strollers, your stroller code of ethics.
1. Stay to the right. That stay to the right side of the road when approaching oncoming traffic thing ... that goes for strollers, too. Unless you live where they drive on the left side, then follow that. However, if the sidewalk gets too narrow for both strollers to pass at the same time, make eye contact with the other stroller pusher, give a little smile, and nod for them to go first. Awww, how sweet, right? Perhaps you just made a new parent friend, too. Unless she has the Bugaboo and scoffs at your drugstore umbrella stroller.
2. Never just stop short in the middle of the sidewalk unless of course you have a child emergency and that child emergency better not involve feeding your kid a Cheddar Bunny. Stopping short is never okay -- it messes up the natural flow of the universe ... or the sidewalkerverse.
3. Always try to help stroller parents out. Some stroller etiquette involves times when you aren't pushing your kids around on wheels, too. If you ever see a mom struggling to fit into a doorway or who needs help up the stairs with a stroller and kid (or kids) in tow, help her out. Karma, people. It's not just a cheesy club for those kids on the Jersey Shore.
4. Follow the stroller rules in any establishment. If a restaurant doesn't allow strollers, instead of trying to buck the system and attempt to convince the owners to allow it just this one time, either follow their rules or leave. But you should totally rally for any child-centric shops in the neighborhood to follow that restaurant owner's lead and, if said resto owner appears in child-centric store hoping to shop, he/she must follow the rules of that store and wear a diaper while eating pureed peas.
5. Don't be rude while walking behind a parent pushing a stroller and want to pass. Stroller people have just as much of a right to be on the sidewalk as non-stroller people. And stroller people walk in as many different speeds as non-stroller people, too. This also goes for strollers wanting to pass strollers. Sighing loudly isn't going to help and neither is saying "beep beep". Being a Rushy McRusherson is not cool unless you left cupcakes in the oven and were planning on sharing. You will have opportunity to pass very soon and once you do it will be glorious as long as you don't trip for being so hasty.
6. Use the brakes. Strollers rolling away with all the bags you have hanging from it just gives everyone who sees it anxiety. Strollers rolling away with children in them are an even worse scene.
7. Heed the aisles and make sure your stroller doesn't make it impossible for anyone to walk by when in stores. Be polite to others and they will be po- ... okay any stroller pusher knows this isn't the case. There will always be people whose moods become nasty the minute they see a wee one strapped into a carriage. But remember karma again. And if the aisles are too narrow for your double stroller and a person to pass by, everyone should chill out and make it work together.
As a mom of twins living in NYC who has gotten several eye-rolls from those who despise breeders particularly with double wide strollers, I know how hard it is to navigate the non-baby friendly streets. I've even resorted to trying leashes (FAIL). So I wish all stroller pushers luck in having kindness on their side ... and that we all follow stroller code to ensure a more harmonious sidewalk experience.
What would make your stroller etiquette list?
Image via Saucy Salad/Flickr