Strollers: A Right or a Privilege?

Julie Ryan Evans
61

strollersIf you thought the mommy wars were bad, they're nothing compared to the stroller wars, which are being fought around the world. Case in point: A father in Halifax recently filed a human rights complaint against the Nova Scotia metro transit system because they wouldn't allow his 2-year-old twins to ride in their stroller while on the bus, basically because it might be inconvenient for other passengers. And they were rude about it too, he says.

Metro authorities said Mohammad Ehsan and his wife could have boarded the bus if they had a smaller stroller or if they had folded the stroller and held the babies on their laps. He says he doesn't believe that's safe or fair.

“Parents take buses with fear because they don’t know how they will be treated,” Ehsan said. “There should not be any rule that limits people’s mobility, limits their access to public services because they have a stroller.”

But you know the rights of families with children and the safety of toddlers really mean so little when compared to the convenience of other passengers.

“A bus is a fairly confined space and we’re trying to be all things to all people,” a transit official said. “We’ve had quite a few calls saying, ‘I travel the bus and I see strollers and they’re a hassle, I have to climb over them.’”

I would have a little sympathy for the bus people if they had said it was a safety hazard or that they're going to work on a solution, or something. But just that people without children shouldn't be inconvenienced for the safety of your kids, well, that doesn't cut it. And it's another example of how anti-children the world can be, especially when it comes to transportation. If you don't believe the discrimination exists, just hop aboard the nearest airplane with a small toddler in tow -- I guarantee you instant leper status.

Sure there are parents who are obnoxious and have no consideration for those around them. But most of us are just trying to survive without a huge tantrum that will inconvenience anyone within a three-mile radius. Taking children in and out of strollers is a lot of work fraught with land mines, not to mention all the stuff one needs for a small child that's usually strewn about and attached to said stroller. And if you have a toddler who runs when not strapped down (me!), then it's a safety issue too.

I know I've sat partially blocking plenty a restaurant aisle because my daughter's stroller didn't fit neatly up to the table. And yes, people might have to take an extra step around us, and I give a little apology each time they do. Guilty, and I'm sure obnoxious to some. But shouldn't society give us a little bit of a break? I mean we are raising the future generation, and like it or not, strollers help us do the job.

Have you faced stroller discrimination? Do you think buses and other locations should have rules banning strollers?


Image via Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr

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