Stroller Etiquette to Keep You (Mostly) on Everyone's Good Side

Mom Moment 9

stroller parkingStrollers 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

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Momma... MommaGreenhalge

Not necesarily etiquette, but a good tip for stroller users is use doors backwards if it opens outward. It eliminates fumbling or waiting for some kind stranger to help you out.

nonmember avatar Amy

My urban dwelling etiquette is: wear your baby whenever possible. Strollers are such a drag.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

Use an appropriate stroller. Every parent should have two strollers; a full size one for outdoor use and an umbrella for the mall and airports and the like. I had a Jeep jogger and an umbrella and I used the Jeep for our day to day travel including the supermarket; I shopped in to the basket underneath and it had a smaller footprint and more maneuverability than the store carriages. I used the umbrella at the mall, at museums, and while travelling. I hate it when you see someone with a jogging stroller in the mall, especially when they are complaining about stores being too crowded. If you have baby twins, fine. If you have one kid in a massive stroller or you have preschool age children in a double stroller then you need to get a clue.

bills... billsfan1104

At the market this past weekend, the strollers were out of control. Some of them were the size of smart cars. And one woman tool her huge ass stoller and parked in the aisle of the restaurant and got pissy when people bumped it or asked her to put it up while not in use. Many of the strollers were not being used for said child. They carried the child and pushed the stroller.

nonmember avatar Brooke

I totally agree with the "appropriate" stroller comment! And do you NEED to bring your van sized stroller to a fancy restaurant? The other day my cousin and I were trying to enjoy a lunch out at a nicer restaurant and this woman parked her giant stroller right smack next to my cousin, where she left the baby to wail during the entire meal and didn't even move it when we got up to leave. Wtf.

Monica Banks

Absolutely love this article!

Kmakk... Kmakksmom

Strollers can be a pain if you don't have the right one for your needs

SaneinSA SaneinSA

If your child is old enough to walk, make him/her walk. Don't block my way with a stroller when a kid is too big for it. When in crowded bus stops please remember that other people need to get where they're going and that your child is not the center of the universe. If your EMPTY stroller is blocking an aisle don't get mad at the person who kicks it. If anyone ever hit the back of my legs with a stroller, I wouldn't have a pleasant reaction either. It is human nature to react to pain. If you are in my way I will tell you that you are in my way. Don't just stand there looking stupid, move. Look at stores and if aisles are too small for your SUV stroller, don't take it inside. In short people, pay attention. Maybe then the world won't hate you.

nonmember avatar Anonymous

The rudest stroller pushers were over at Downtown Disney last weekend. Me and my boyfriend wanted to enjoy a nice afternoon together window-shopping and spending some quality time together and what happens, in one of the stores, a parent who is not paying any attention to foot traffic rams his stroller into my boyfriend for no reason and never did say "excuse me" to get by and "sorry" for bumping into him. This problem happened at least several more times during the day, a number of parents had the "king of the road" mentality and we've had enough and left after awhile. These parents have to realize that they too have to share the walkway as the non-stroller pushers do too.
Stroller etiquette should have parents saying "excuse me" if they want to get by someone and "sorry" if they accidentally bump into someone.

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