What Age to Give up the Stroller?

Updated on August 02, 2012
D.K. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
30 answers

So, I was reading the last question about strapping your child into the stroller or supermarket cart and it seemed that people were talking about 4 and 5 year olds strapping themselves into the stroller. The last time I used my stroller, my son was probably 16 months old. The last time I took it to the airport (the most walking we do at a quick pace) he was 18 months and we didn't use it. How long did you use a stroller?

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answers from Houston on

My DD will be 5 in October and we STILL use the stroller for her! Her legs tire when we are walking quickly. If I am running into the store for just a few things, it is SO much easier to use the double stroller (also have a 2yo) than it is to push around one of those gigantic car carts! The two of them have more fun sitting side by side playing, and I don't have to worry about 4yo getting into things :)
ETA: I just read some other responses and I'd ask for those of you to please not assume that every 5 year old you see in a stroller is lazy. What if it's more fun in the moment for the child to be in the stroller? Less stressful for the mom? 110 degrees outside & you need to walk quickly from the car to indoors? Just finished swimming in the pool or playing at the park all morning long? Nap time? There are endless possibilities where a stroller ride for a 4 or 5 year old may be the better option. And we all know what happens when you assume. Geez.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I agree with Leslie, 5 year olds sitting in strollers (even if it's a long day) is too old! Same with pacis in public after 2 or 3. My son was out of his stroller by two. He just was not the kind of kid to just sit and watch the world go by. I wish he had stayed in there longer...would have made walks around the track easier...Luckily he always stayed with us and never wandered away.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I'm about the same as you. My boy rarely if ever wants to sit down! I think I used the stroller when he was 2yrs old, for use at the airport.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

We never really used one. we're unusual in both that regard and how much we walked/ran (5-10miles a day).

((This isn't anything nifty, though. I had BOUGHT a stroller... But was just blessed/cursed with a VERY active kid. He was only still about 1 hour a day. Tops. Even then, he was just as likely to be upside down, or bouncing in place. I 'count' that as "still" which should tell you something.))

In other countries, though, where 5-10mile days are common (Europe especially is where I'm thinking), kids are commonly in strollers until 5+ or, like us, never use them at all. A lot depends on the physicality of the child in question.

HERE it blows my mind how many kids can't walk a block, purely for lack of practice. My family in the EU, strollers are brought along, because it's a 4mile walk every morning, and letting them rest in the stroller for 5 minutes every couple miles keeps the pace up. It's not that they DON'T walk, it's just to let them catch their breath for a few minutes.

But here? I'm serious. I know many families who put their kids in the stroller to walk next door. That just smacks of Wall-E to me.

There are always medical and mental exceptions... These are not the kids in talking about.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I don't think my son used a stroller after turning 2 1/2, and with the exception of an umbrella stroller on a trip to italy, he was only in a jogging stroller for my morning dog walk once he was 18 months or so. Once he could walk well for a good distance, that is what we expected of him. We had three strollers and rarely used them (except for the BOB - loved that!).

I am surprised by children 3 and older in strollers at the zoo, parks, museums, parades, the boardwalk, aquariums, etc. Sure, it's crowded and my 4 year old is VERY active and I have to keep a close eye on him, but part of the experience involves him walking and interacting on his own. Before we got a second car a few months ago, we walked everywhere, including more than a mile to the pool and park when he was only 3. He has some friends now that complain before we get to the bottom of our street!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

We stopped with my son around 18 months - 2 years. He is 3 now. I do have a jogging stroller I use for exercise. He simply can't keep up when I want to get exercise. That's the only time I use it. He walks everywhere else. Even at all day long events. We just make sure to rest enough. I hate strollers, I was glad to be done with them. I wish I didn't need it for exercise, too!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Yeah, I get you! I sold my stroller when DD was 18 months, I still had a jogger we used only for running until about 3.5. My DD always hated the stroller, so it's not like we used it much in the first place, if I ever had another kid I would't even buy one.
Even travelling internationally, airports and all by myself we never took a stroller. I say if your child has two healthy legs and is old enough to walk they should be walking.
My DD can easily run a mile, on her fourth birthday we went on a 4 mile hike up a small mountain... walking, running, skipping - moving is healthy.
Kids get little enough opportunity to move as it is (even mine) so I have to say I do cringe when I see an (almost) Kindergartner strapped into a stroller...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Stockton on

I know some moms with older kids (3-5 years old) use stroller because of special needs. They may not look special needs but they are and some strangers, mainly mothers, would give them dirty looks. If they only knew how hard it is take care of special needs on a daily basis....

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Generally between two and three but by two we were using it only at very large, all-day outings like zoos or festivals anyway.

I recall once seeing a huge boy, I would guess at the very least five to seven years old, in a stroller at the zoo, playing a handheld game rather than looking at any animals. At first I thought "how awful" but then thought that it was possible he had special needs and it was safest for everyone in his family if he used a stroller at places like that. So now I try to assume special needs when I see bigger kids in strollers.

But last weekend, at a festival that was not large or overwhelming (in fact, it was out in the country at a historic site and quite calm and uncrowded) one family was carting three kids from site to site in a huge double stroller and all three of the kids were about four, five and six -- they were bulging out of the stroller! They would get out and run around, do activities etc. at the "stops" and seemed fine both physically and developmentally (my child did a craft with them at one place). That made me raise my eyebrows because the distances weren't worth it -- it was pretty small. With kids needing more exercise, not less, it would have been an easy day for getting those three kids some walking time -- and there were at least three adults with them, not one harried parent. I thought about my "maybe they need it for some reason I can't see" attitude but having observed them, I think it was just the parents' way to corral them, but it wasn't needed with that many adults or with such short distances. It does not send kids a good message to be chauffered like that!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

We used the umbrella stoller quite a long time - my daughter, who is really tall, still used it until she was about 5 - it was good for those long days of walking, amusement parks, etc. my son used it until about 3. Once they were done I missed having that place to dump the back pack, wipes, jackets, etc. Once the stroller's done then you have the backpack - forever.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

At not quite 2.5 my little guy didn't even want to use it at Disneyland, I made him, lol! That was it...but I do make him sit in the cart when we go shopping, he turned 3 in April.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

I'm with BB. 5 is too old and the binki in public after 2 is too old.
I think the last my youngest was in his was 3 though not two for the simple reason that we walked to and from my daughters school every day twice a day and it's half a mile away.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Our son got tall fast, so he was too big for it by 2 1/2.
But he still got tired walking.
For awhile we could carry him and give him piggy back rides.
What worked great for us was our all terrain wagon.
We have pictures of him helping Daddy assemble it.
He could pull it himself before he was tired, then lay down in it for a nap when he got tired.
We used the wagon till he was 4 1/2 and we use it now for toting yard tools when I'm gardening.
I saw my sister a few years ago and we went to an amusement park with the kids and I was shocked when she rented a stroller for her athletic cheer leading 10 yr old daughter.
She sat in it some of the time (it was ridiculous to see this big gangly girl in that thing) but my sister liked keeping her purse in it.
It was the darnedest thing I ever saw - and they had absolutely no shame about it at all.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

We have a sit and stand stroller. My son is 12 months, and will be in it for a while, I think. My daughter is 4 and for the most part she walks everywhere, but if it is a long walk she will sit for a while, or if we are someplace that is extremely crowded (a busy city street, for example), I feel more comfortable with her riding along, whether she is sitting or standing. If it was just her and me, I would hold her hand, but she is a wanderer, so if the baby is with me, I like to make sure I don't lose my munchkin!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I hate to see kids whose feet is hangng off the end of the stroller almost dragging the ground. That is plain out ridiculous. I also thnk its ridiculous for kids to still be sucking a pacifier that is 2 and up. I stopped using the stroller when my kids were 2 or 3. Mainky because when they are strapped in the stroller there are less problems. Eventually when they get tird or fall asleep, I dont have to hold them. And I dont have to worry about chasing them or keeping up with them because they are strapped in the stroller

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

I think it depends on how much walking you do...

We walk, almost daily (unless it's rainy or too hot...), to a park that is a few miles away. It takes just over an hour to go one way... So we use the stroller because there is no way my 2yo DD is going to make it that far. She will walk most of the way, but after the first mile or so she needs to stop and rest every few minutes. We also use it when we are going somewhere (like the big mall in another city, which is an all-day trip, or an amusement park) that we will be walking a lot, and needing more than I am willing to carry. I don't use a purse or diaper bag, so it's nice to have the stroller to toss her diaper kit, change of clothes, drink, and snack into. And even though I push it empty for the most part, it's nice to be able to plunk her in it if she needs a nap or just to rest.

Other than that, my DD walks herself almost everywhere.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I really think it depends on what you are doing. When my kids were really little I wore them for basic running around, going to the mall (unless I was shopping for myself and would need to try things on) whatever and used the stroller for very long days like trips to Disneyland or the Zoo or something like the San Diego Comic Book Convention or some other very heavy walking, standing, crowded etc type trip. Once they got to walking age I wore them a little less but still used the stroller for days that would be draining for them and that I would not enjoy having to carry them for the better part of.
Yes, at 4 & 5 we still used the stroller for super long things like Disneyland. My 3 year old still uses her stroller for times like that. She can nap and have a reprieve from the crowds and I do not have to carry a very tired and heavy 35+ pound child when I too have been beating the pavement all day.
We don't use it for trips to the mall or to the park etc much past 2 or 2 1/2.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

my 3.5 yr old still uses hers, but not often, MAINLY when we are at the zoo when it can get really crowded, and she puts herself into it and everything. the last time we used her stroller was when we were in niagara falls a few weeks ago, and that is because it is super hilly where our hotel was and with how crowded it was it was safer to use the stroller instead of her walking, and we do not use the leashes so they are out of the question

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Totally depends on the kid. My son gave his up at around 16mos, but then went thru horrible growing pains after turning 2yo, so out came the stroller again (mostly for backup) for things like the zoo, long walks to parks, etc. Then it went away for a while until around 3-1/2 when some of his sleeping issues returned and we used it again for the zoo, long walks, etc. He's 4y3m and I can't remember using or seeing the stroller since last September.

We know a 5yo who still rides in his stroller, it's his comfort, he enjoys it, he gets tons of activity otherwise. We know a 4yo girl who was/is an extreme bolter and her mom used the stroller for a while longer than some to help contain her in crowded situations (while trying everything else to curb the bolting). We know a girl that's my son's age who stopped riding in hers around 2yo, until her little brother was born, then she wanted to ride every time he did.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

We invested in a sit-and-stand double stroller because we take our kids on a lot of "adventures". My 4 yr old really doesn't like to be in the stroller, but sometimes it's a safety measure to have him on the "sit" part. If we didn't have an infant, he would be completely finished with it. We'll use this one for probably a year and then go back to a single stroller for the little one!


answers from Houston on

Well, I had two, so I used my double stroller when the oldest was around 5 and the youngest was 3. Only for bigger events, like going to the zoo and such.



answers from Washington DC on

My DD is almost 4 and I see no problem with her riding in the cart. We mostly gave up the stroller in the past year, unless we are doing something like walking through the zoo or city. Then I take it and don't use it unless we need to. I used to take it for mall trips and now it mostly stays in the trunk. It is just an umbrella stroller. I'm only 5ft tall, and DD is more than half my height, so if she gets tired, I can't carry her long. She does go out in the jogging stroller with DH - so he can jog and she can get some time at a park they always stop at. But most of the time she walks.



answers from Allentown on

I used a baby carrier when the lids were little didn't use a stroller much until they got older. My dd still used it at times when she was 6, she is special needs and has medical issues, at 7 now I really would only use it on vacation or the zoo for her things like that. I did get a double after my son was born but he stopped using it around age 2. He preferred to walk. So unless we are going for a long day, I don't use it and they are 4 and 7, but I still take it for the zoo and vacations. I think I would even without my daughter's issues, they may not always want to ride, but they can if they get in if tired, cranky or don't feel well, and if they don't, I can use it to haul our stuff around. But again that would be for long day trips or vacations. I got more funny looks carrying them in baby carriers than i ever did when using a stroller. And i even put my son in a carrier recently as I no longer have the stroller in the car but had a carrier in the trunk from when they were little and thank goodness, he fell asleep in the car and I couldn't wake him up and he is way too heavy to carry in arms at 4 he is huge, so on went the carrier with him in it, and he woke up 45 mins later, happy and rested and I got to get to my appt. on time. So i say use what you need to in order to get the job done. And if you don't need anything to assist you be thankful for that, you have an easy kid.



answers from Portland on

At four, it was limited to longer outings, otherwise we walked. (Because I don't drive, we walk everywhere during the week, or bus it. I'll happily walk two miles to the store and back, but it's a lot to expect of a four year old.) If I drove, I'd likely have given it up long before then.

At five, we have passed the stroller along. He's hardy enough to do most of our walks now, even if we have to go slow or take a bus for part of it. My husband still likes to take him out for a run (to give me some peace at home alone), but I've finally convinced him that we get rid of the jogger this fall. I don't like to use it and I'm ready to reclaim that space on my porch.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm still using my double stroller for my 4 year old and 2 year old when we go for walks (I want the exercise and they'll "slow" me down if not in the stroller) and the mall. Frankly, the mall is a must for me as there is no way I'd get any shopping done if I'm chasing them through the clothes racks!


answers from San Francisco on

Depends on the kid.
Once my youngest (3rd child) started walking the stroller was basically a rolling supply cart (snacks, water, clothes, etc.)
Prior to that, the older two actually used it up until almost two, but only on very long days, like if we were at a fair or something.



answers from Huntsville on

We used ours for a while, though not very often. When the weather is decent, we would take our daughter for long walks around the neighborhood. Usually it was in the evening, before bed. So, daughter could walk as much as she wanted, but as she got tired she could sit in the stroller.

That's pretty much the only time we used it for the last few years. She's 6 now and we haven't done that in a while. I did look up the weight limit on our strollers not too long ago. 40lbs for our Graco travel system and for the Jeep smaller stroller. We do have a jogging stroller that will hold up to 50 lbs. Daughter is right at 40lbs lol We decided if we go for walks this fall, we will use the jogging stroller. When she reaches 50 lbs tho, that will be it! haha

We also use the wagon when we go trick-or-treating on Halloween :) Allows for a friend to ride too.


answers from Austin on

Sometimes if we were going to an all day festival or I was going to be shopping for a long time, I knew she would get tired or not be able to keep up with us,

i think she was almost 4 when we started taking a wagon with a cooler if we went to an event and were worried she might not be able to keep up with us.


answers from Chicago on

My oldest is 5.5 and will sometimes ask to sit in the stroller if we have gont for a very long walk, like a mile or so.

My 3 yr old would LOVE to never have to be in the stroller, but he's still learning to walk nicely without running too far ahead or lagging too far behind.

My 16 month old says, "I walk!" Sometimes he does, but most of the time he is a rider.



answers from Chicago on

I use my stroller for my 2. 5 year old when we go to the Zoo and places were there is a lot of walking. It's a double, so sometimes my 4 year old will jump on.

I don't strap my 2.5 year old in, and he spends a good half the time running instead of riding, but it's a great thing to have getting them back to the car after a long day of walking.

I think it all depends on what you are doing.

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