To Sit or Not to Sit Part 2: “The Stroller”

 

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A mural of a stroller in a Frankfurt train station.

The emphasis Germans place on “protecting baby’s spine” has huge repercussions for the German baby gear market, particularly when it comes to strollers. It is very common in America for parents to attach their baby’s carseat to a stroller frame to transport their baby before he or she is old enough to sit in  a standard stroller. I occasionally see German parents use this type of system, but it is not the norm. Most parents here use a stroller with a bassinet attachment, so that they do not risk giving the baby back problems by propping them up too soon.

Here are some photos I took of typical German strollers that I saw when I went on a walk along the Rhein back in March:

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For comparison, here is my niece sitting in a typical American stroller when she was about 3 months old:

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I think strollers here in Germany are also a sort of status symbol. They usually look really snazzy. Supposedly, the average German stroller costs 600 Euros. My husband and I were shocked when we saw several models in a baby store that cost more than 1000 Euros! I honestly have no idea what makes the strollers so expensive. I know parents look for good suspension and big wheels to roll more easily along the European cobblestone streets. I know there are also plenty of extras that parents feel obligated to buy…a sheepskin footsack for the winter time, a plastic rain cover, a parasol, a matching diaper bag…the list is endless. I know that parents use their strollers more in Germany than they do in America, because there is more of a “walking culture” here than a “driving culture”. But still I could personally never justify paying 1000 Euros for a baby carriage.

Here is a video advertising some of the features of a German stroller:

Not only are the German strollers expensive, they also strike me as rather large and bulky. This is because you need a bassinet attachment as well as a buggy attachment. German apartments and cars, however, are very small. There are also lots of stairs to deal with in cities and in apartment buildings. My apartment building does not have room on the ground floor to store a stroller. Thinking about the logistics of somehow carrying a typical German infant stroller up the stairs to my apartment with one hand while holding the baby in the other hand makes me panic, even more so than thinking about the price tag.

So I’ve decided to be a bit of a hippie with my baby. I plan to do “babywearing” for as long as possible…at least until the baby is old enough to sit in a “buggy” style of stroller without me getting scolded by German passers-by. I have a woven wrap and a simpler-to-use buckle carrier called a “Buzzidil”. These are cheaper than a stroller, take up less space, free up my hands, let me cuddle with the baby, and are supposedly also good for baby’s back when they are used properly. Hopefully I’ll quickly get the hang of the carriers and won’t regret my decision to put off buying a stroller. Maybe I’ll manage to give a babywearing update on my blog once the baby has arrived.

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4 thoughts on “To Sit or Not to Sit Part 2: “The Stroller”

  1. Strollers get very expensive in America, too. They are a status symbol and an easy way to display your wealth. I think Mimi got my stroller at a small country store where people sell all their old, worn down stuff that they no longer use so it was cheap and old and beat up. I wouldn’t consider it representative of the trend in strollers among the middle class in America at the time, aside from being forward facing. As for carrying it up the stairs, the easiest thing to do is put the baby in the crib, then go back and lug the stroller up.

    Jogging strollers were really trendy at the time, like this: http://t.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=10957915

    Here’s an $800 one from Toys-r-us that has daytime running lights, charges your phone, and can fold itself: http://t.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12623897

    Their most expensive stroller is almost $1500: http://t.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=78502026

    Baby goods are a large and expensive market because there is a lot of pressure to have all the best things in order to show what a prepared and concerned mother you are.

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    1. It’s true that the American strollers can also get very expensive and can be a status symbol, but I think the Germans take it to another level. Some women in my birthing class were talking about how they ordered a nicer color for their strollers for 100 Euros extra because at that point they had already spent so much on the stroller that another 100€ was nothing. I read so many baby forums, but I’ve never heard of an American having to special-order their stroller to have customized wheels, colors, etc. This is very common here, though.

      How often have you seen people pushing bassinet-style strollers around the neighborhood? I asked a German friend who has been living in Chicago for the past year, and she said it’s still very rare. She is surprised when she sees one. Even though your stroller was used, I think it still fairly represents the idea that the American strollers are shaped differently than the European ones. It also looks so lightweight! I think Americans place more emphasis on convenience (weight and foldability) and Germans place more emphasis on solid construction and durability. There’s always a trade-off. If we find a new apartment with space to keep a stroller at ground level, it won’t really be an issue for us anymore. I’m too lazy to bring the baby upstairs and then go back down to carry the heavy stroller up. I know myself lol.

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    1. Thanks for the tip…that’s where I’ve gotten most of my baby things so far. You can definitely get some great deals on ebaykleinanzeigen. But I still don’t like how big and heavy most strollers seem to be! 🙂

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