Winter is officially done, replacing frigid temperatures with sunny skies and budding wildlife. It’s the perfect time of year to get outside!
Going for a walk, or a bike ride as a family is a terrific way to get some exercise and breathe in fresh air while bonding. But with young kids, there are things to consider.
Wagons, Strollers & Carriers
Wagons are a lot of fun for short walks around the neighbourhood. They can carry a few kids at once as well as storage, but strollers are more suitable for babies and toddlers during longer walks. Not only are they comfortable, but the undercarriage found on most is particularly useful for holding all of the necessities: diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, cell phone as well as snacks and extra milk or formula. Many also include a cup holder which is perfect for water or bottles on the go.
For additional information on stroller types and safety, read The Right Stroller For You.
Carriers are great for bonding with baby while leaving your hands free. You may wish to use a carrier on a hike, a walk through the park or a stroll through town.
Different baby carriers are available depending on your needs; whether you plan on breastfeeding on the go, long treks or sharing with your partner. Two popular types include:
Slings – A comfortable and easy solution if you’re hoping baby will nap during your outing, if you’re breastfeeding or if you simply want to cuddle.
Front and back carriers – These ergo-friendly baby carriers are engineered to enforce the correct positioning of baby’s spine and hips and distribute weight evenly, so you don’t feel all of the strain on your back.
When purchasing a sling or carrier look for one that:
- Fits you and whoever else will be using the product well.
- Fits your baby well (most hold between 8 – 20 pounds), and ensures you can always see his face (i.e. his face does not push up against the material or your clothing).
When using a sling or carrier, be sure to:
- Check for ripped seams and torn straps.
- Hold onto baby when bending over (ensure he does not fall out).
- Never use a carrier or sling while biking or drinking hot beverages.
Additional sling and carrier safety information can be found on the Health Canada website.
Various bike carrier options allow the entire family to enjoy a bike ride on a nice day.
Bike trailers – Close to the ground and not prone to tipping, bike trailers are considered the safest. However, it’s still necessary to do your research and ensure you are selecting the best product. Read about Health Canada’s product recall on the Chariot bicycle trailer and conversion kits.
Front-mounted seats – These seats allow you to see and communicate with your child as you ride. Because they’re mounted in the middle, they also make getting on and off easy. The downside is they may make it difficult to steer.
Rear-mounted seats – These seats give you the space to manoeuvre and pedal with ease, but make checking on your child difficult. Getting on and off your bike may also be difficult as their position tends to shift the bike’s centre of gravity. If you do go with a rear-mounted seat, choose one with a high back and both shoulder and lap harnesses.
Bike safety: Babies less than one year of age do not have the proper neck control to support a helmet as well as the movement of a bicycle. When you do take your child out on a bike, ensure he is wearing a Canadian Standards Approved (CSA), properly-fitted helmet and is securely strapped in. Visit www.safekidscanada.ca for more information.
This season, take the family fun outdoors!