Whether you’re at home or on holiday, trying to navigate a pushchair or steer young children through crowded areas can be a nightmare! So what can you do to make life a bit easier for yourself?
1. Is a pushchair essential?
It may seem an obvious one, but do you really need to bring a pushchair with you? Although it might seem like the easy option in your spacious home, when you’re packed in a crowded area with people coming from all directions or trying to make your way up a busy staircase you may feel very differently. If possible, use a sling or baby carrier to travel with your child- it’ll also make life easier for hopping on and off of public transport.
2. Know what to expect
Do your research before you set off and plan pushchair friendly routes in advance. Websites such as the Transport for London Journey Planner can be used to pick out routes that avoid staircases and escalators or you may need to find out if there is a certain public transport carriage that has ramp access if there are large platform gaps.
3. Consider all of your options
If you’re travelling through a big crowded city, taking the tube or underground may seem like the obvious choice- but you shouldn’t discount overground services. Often buses or overground trains have dedicated pushchair spaces, easier access, less stairs and more flexibility, plus they can often drop you closer to your final destination.
4. Bring the pushchair you know and love
If you’re taking a day trip to a theme park then there are occasionally pushchairs you cant rent- but my advice would be to avoid these. You know how your pushchair works meaning you can put it up or down in a hurry, it’s easily identifiable and has the features you know you need and your child is comfortable with. Often lots of families all flock to the same child-friendly locations and it’s easier than you’d think to lose a stroller or get waylaid faffing around trying to put it up or down in all the busy chaos, so make sure yours is easy to find and use! If you do decide to rent one then pre-pay and keep the receipt safe.
5. Avoid peak times
If you know you’ll be using public transport or travelling through busy areas, try and avoid rush hour. It’ll be an unpleasant crowded battle, particularly with a pushchair!
6. Don’t get caught in the rain
In busy crowded areas there’s often not enough room for umbrellas or getting to shelter quickly- if it looks like it could be damp then pack a raincoat and a pushchair cover.
7. Prepare for delays
Even if you avoid peak times, travelling around crowded locations just doesn’t always go to plan. The trick is to keep calm and pack some emergency water, snacks and entertainment. It’s also a good idea to wear layers, in case you get stuck on a hot train or bus, and bring a street map so if all else fails you can take to the pavement.
8. Simple travelling
Don’t end up frantically having to root around in pushchair bags for tickets as you approach ticket barriers- keep tickets strategically placed in wallets, zip pockets or even up sleeves so you can sail through transport barriers without any stress.
9. Size matters
If you know you’ll be travelling through a busy area or need to get in and out of transport, leave your flashy super-sized baby rides at home. A simple foldable pushchair that’s light, compact and quick to put up and down will do the job just as well and won’t leave you struggling!
10. Wait for lifts
It can be tempting to keep up with the fast pace of other travellers by jumping on the escalator too, but it’s a much safer idea to use a lift when you’ve got a pushchair, particularly if you’re travelling alone. If you can’t find a lift, then ask a member a staff for help.
11. Land ahoy!
Many busy cities have a river running through, and lots of these rivers have ferry services. These can be a great option when travelling with children as there are ramps for pushchairs, plenty of space, friendly staff to help out and it’s a novelty for little ones who’ll enjoy the view! In London you can also get a discount using your Oyster card, and for the time and stress you can save, its totally worth it!
12. Pushchair friendly taxis
Lots of cities also have cabs that can carry a pushchair with a baby strapped in. This can be more expensive than public transport, but means you have personal assistance and plenty of space during travel to your destination.
13. Follow the crowds and be considerate
If everyone is walking in the same direction on one side of the pavement and the opposite on the other, then follow the crowds. Don’t be the oblivious argy bargy pushchair trying to battle against the crowds because you’re not aware of your surroundings! Remember it’s a pushchair, not a tank- go slowly so you don’t accidently mow down any passing pedestrians who swerve in your direction, and although it can be a real challenge when you’ve got kids, do try and be aware of what’s going on around you in crowded areas.
14. Can you walk?
If manoeuvring pushchairs and large bags on public transport is going to be too much of a fiasco, see if you can simply walk to where you need to go. In busy crowded locations walking to your destination may sometimes be quicker than queuing or waiting around on public transport anyway.
15. If you need help- ask!
Busy crowded public areas are packed with parents who’ll understand your predicament and kind hearted passers-by who’ll be more than happy to help you out if you get stuck, such as if you come across an unanticipated flight of stairs. Don’t be afraid to ask!