The Stroller Struggle | What to Keep in Mind When Searching for a Buggy as a Blind Parent

Working out which buggy/pram/stroller to get was one of the first challenges that came to mind after finding out we were expecting. As a blind mama, I won’t be pushing a stroller, but pulling it behind me. The problem is most strollers are not designed for this sort of functionality. For that reason, I plan to use a baby-carrier in most situations, but more on that in another post. Back to buggies.

The Problem with Pulling a Stroller that’s Designed for Pushing

Wheels-

In most cases, strollers are designed with swivel wheels in the front that move easily in the direction you desire to travel, if you are pushing from the back, that is. If you are pulling it, the swivel wheels become a nuisance because they fishtail every time you try to turn. In addition, the fixed wheels in the back of the stroller make it difficult to turn because they do not move in accordance with your direction of travel. This means that the only way to turn while pulling is to lift the stroller slightly or allow the stroller to tip somewhat to one side. Obviously, this isn’t ideal.

Handle-

Many strollers have two vertical handles to push the chair along. These models are virtually impossible to pull comfortably as you have to choose a side, left or right, that you will use, leaving your control of the contraption quite lopsided.

Handle-Height-

Another problem with prams is that the handle is often too high to comfortably grasp from behind. If you think about a pull suitcase, one can hold the handle easily at the resting length of one’s own arm, but often times a stroller handle is waste height or higher (at least for anyone like me who’s a few inches below average height).

Direction of Chair or Carry Cot 

Some buggies have a fixed facing position for the chair or carry cot and do not allow the user to reverse their original positioning. This means that while your child may have been facing the most desirable direction when pushing the buggy, they may not be facing the direction you or your child would like when pulling it.

Price-

There are strollers with features that ameliorate some or all of these issues, but in my experience so far, they are often much more expensive.

So, What Are the Solutions?

1 Wheels that can be adjusted from swivel to fixed in both the front and back of the stroller. If this is not possible, a reversible handle may also be a functional option. If the stroller is a model which has fixed wheels in the back when pushing, and swivel wheels in the front, a reversible handle allows the user to place the swivel wheels nearest the handle, that is toward the front when pulling, and the fixed wheels furthest from the handle, or in the back when pulling.

2 A horizontal push bar. This allows the user to pull from the center of the handle, rather than only from the left or right side.

3 A low, hip-high handle (or lower if possible) that can be adjusted to be higher/longer only if need-be 

4 Reversable chair or carry cot. This allows the user to switch the facing direction of the chair or cot independent of the stroller handle.

5 Buy used! I knew this could be one of the priciest items on our baby must-haves list, so I decided to research which stroller I needed as early as possible so that I could be looking out for a suitable model on second-hand websites. I’m SO GLAD I did! Our chosen model, the Bugaboo Chameleon, retails online for around 800 euro. We were blessed to find an older version of the stroller and several handy excessories online for a grand total of 50 euro.

Another option you might consider is to purchase a travel wagon. They do tend to be bulkier than your typical stroller, but they definitely seem more practical when you have multiple children to cart around, and, of course the best thing about them is that they are designed specifically to be pulled. Keep in mind, though, that many of them have limitations when it comes to traveling with a newborn.

In every case, don’t forget to consider which carseat you plan to purchase and whether it will be compatible with the stroller or wagon you choose.

I hope this post was helpful! Please subscribe for more content, and click here to read more posts from my parenting blind series. Until next time, happy trails to you and your family.

Learning to Be a Mother

I’m a mother!

Pregnancy test. Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.comPregnancy test.

That might not be a shocking statement to anyone who doesn’t know me, but it’s still a surprise to me. I’ve had lots of defining moments in my life—graduations, baptism, international travel, engagement, wedding. They have all been profound times, but all of them somewhat different from that morning I waited, with bated breath and shaking hands, for my husband to read the result shown on the tiny digital screen of the pregnancy test.

“Yep, we’re pregnant.” my husband had said from the bathroom.

Pregnant… I thought in utter joy and disbelief. A new person existed now that hadn’t before, and God had chosen to make their first home within me?!

How can anything be the same after such a realization? My mind raced with all the implications… job, diet, health, money, the skills we would have to learn, the things we would have to purchase, everything, it seemed, had to be reconsidered in light of this new, precious life that had been entrusted to us.

I think this must be true for any parent, but especially for parents who don’t fit into what you might call the “typical mold”. As a blind mom, the world won’t look at me as normal. Often,, as already happens in other situations, they will probably see me as less capable, but with the right tools and techniques, I can be a perfectly successful mama. This may not be obvious to the ignorant bystander, but it is to me, particularly when I observe my blind friends who are parents. They breastfeed, bottle-feed, and change diapers, they get their kids to and from practices and events, they help with homework or even homeschool, they play games, they administer medication, they keep their children safe when out on the road. So, not your normal parent? Only in the sense that they do all of it without looking.

Still, just like any other new mom, I do have a lot to learn. I hope that by sharing the information I gather here, it can be an opportunity for others to learn as well, both about the capabilities of blind people in general, and about specific techniques that might help you or someone you know in their parenting journey.

So, if you’d like to learn along with me, click here for any future articles in this series, or find the “Parenting” category in the navigation bar.