If mum's/dad's (delete as applicable) had a superhero name, one of the obvious ones would be 'The Protector' because nature's programming makes us always be on the lookout for danger. Choking hazards, falling over or down, crossing the road, playing by an open fire, running with sharp objects there are so many exhausting things to worry about as a parent.
So, when it comes to buggy running, safety is an area I often get asked about. I've broken it down into some easy to digest rules, helpful if you are sleep deprived (like me)!
1 - Running Buggy wrist strap
Let us start simple. Having a wrist strap is essential because if you trip while running you may open your hands and therefore lose contact with the buggy/pram/stroller/pushchair but for the sake of simplicity I will refer to them as a buggy. People have preferences on the length and elasticity of the wrist strap. I'd say work with what you have got free with the buggy and then look to change if it is not working for you. The ability to switch it over easily is also important so you can push with one hand, swing with the other.
2 - Running Buggies are suitable for a baby from 6 months old (but sometimes older)
All UK manufacturers have a recommended age of suitability. For many buggies, this is 6 months (Out 'n' About, Thule, Mountain Buggy), but for some 9 months (Britax BOB & Bugaboo). This relates to the child's neck strength and their ability to hold their head up.
3 - No carrycot or car seat
A common misconception is that running with a baby in a car seat is okay. It is more dangerous than people think because it changes the centre of gravity. A heavy HIGH lump of plastic and metal, which when travelling at speed is far more likely to tip the buggy over.
And as for Carrycots/Bassinets, well the whole 6 month age aside, there is often no straps so if the buggy tips the baby could come out.
4 - Have a fit for purpose buggy
Key features on a running buggy which make it suitable for running include suspension, large air filled rear wheels to glide through uneven terrain, the ability to lock the front wheel (if not already fixed) and a 5-point safety harness. A hand brake, which many now feature, also increases the safety by allowing you to control your speed while running downhill. But in my opinion it is not essential if you don't mind physically slowing down yourself. I have another article on this topic if you want to read more HERE.
5 - Be prepared
I don't need to tell you this, but I will in case someone shouts at me for not. Take your phone (charged up), some cash and a plan if you get a puncture. For some this is a spare inner tube and pump. For others this is calling a cab. Your choice. Then pick from the following list; raincover/suncover, a suitably layered up child, suncream, hat, snack's and liquids.
I've collated some statements from the manufacturers on the topic of running with a console attached, so you know their official stance.
You can begin walking with your child on smooth terrain from as early as new-born in a car seat with the Thule Glide. But we do not recommend running with an infant in a car seat on the Thule Glide. Once the child is too old for the car seat (normally around six months) you can place the child in the main seat in a reclined position and go for lighter runs. We recommend staying on smooth paths until your child is a minimum of one year old.
Please note that these are our recommendations and it is up to every parent to judge what is suitable for their child or consult a pediatrician
OUT 'N' ABOUT SAY
With regards to running with a car seat as a company we take safety very seriously and we do not recommend this. We do not have any statements or safety warnings to pass on to you regarding this it is just a company policy. Running with a little one is not recommended until baby is 6months+ or they are able to support their own head. Due to the impact which may occur we are unsure why parents would want to run before this. We recommend the child is harnessed into the seat unit securely which has passed all required safety tests.
MOUNTAIN BUGGY SAY
As you are aware, the current European standard EN1888 (2012 version) requires mandatory warning text advising against using a buggy for running or skating, and in order to comply we state this in our user manual and on the product carton. Consequently, we deem it inappropriate to provide further warnings as to running with accessory attachment - but we would not recommend that any parent run with their child in a capsule. However, such a choice is ultimately at the discretion of the parent. We can state the the stroller is suitable for jogging in reasonable use scenarios, and recommend general safe-use practices i.e. always use the tether strap, ensure child has sufficient neck strength, lock front wheel etc.
There is such a great deal of content in the world wide web and for many parents it can be overwhelming to know what is best for our children. My aim is to unable more parents to have the freedom to exercise with their children by knowing about running buggies in the UK. If you want to see more useful articles please sign up to our newsletter below.
If you want to read more about the EU safety standards click here.