Background: Despite their wide usage, it has recently been suggested that stroller use may reduce physical activity levels of young children. However, there have been no studies on stroller use as it relates to physical activity outcomes. The objectives of this study were to understand the context of stroller use for young children and parents' perceptions of the relationship between stroller use and their children's physical activity.
Methods: Parents of children 1 to 5 years of age were recruited through two sites of TARGet Kids!, a primary-care, practice-based research network in Toronto, Canada. Fourteen semi-structured interviews were conducted. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim and two independent reviewers conducted thematic analysis. A number of strategies were employed to ensure the trustworthiness of the data.
Results: Parents discussed reasons for stroller use (i.e., transportation; storage; leisure; supervision/confinement; parent physical activity; and sleep), factors that influence the decision to use a stroller (i.e., caregiver choice; convenience, timing, distance; family lifestyle; and child preference), and perceived impact of stroller use on physical activity (i.e., most parents did not recognize a connection between stroller use and physical activity).
Conclusion: This study provides a context for researchers and policy makers to consider when developing stroller related physical activity guidelines for young children.