Experts suspect that the problem is not that tired parents are using strollers while shopping, but rather that they may be preventing their children from moving enough the rest of the time.
Child development specialists think that freely crawling, cruising, and toddling are a normal progression in a child’s physical and cognitive development.
But as soon as babies can move independently, they tend to be confined much of the time to strollers, infant seats, high chairs, playpens, and walkers. Young muscles can languish.
In 1997, research at Case Western Reserve University found that walkers, in which children can “walk” without seeing their feet, are likely to impair motor and mental development, apparently because movement is limited and children cannot freely explore their environment.
Many experts recommend more activity for very young children, not necessarily with formal exercise but by allowing normal walking, running, and climbing — within the limits of safety—and playing games as simple as catch, tag, and chase.