Great Strides in First Rides

Baby carriages, prams, pushers, strollers and buggies – call them what you will, babies’ first rides have come a long way. Join us on this short stroll through history

English architect William Kent invented the first baby carriage for the amusement of the children of the Duke of Devonshire. It was basically a shell-shaped basket on wheels that the children could sit in, and was intended to be pulled by a small pony, large dog or goat.

American innovator Charles Burton modified the carriage design so that it could be pushed instead of pulled. He patented the ‘perambulator’ or ‘pram’. It received a lukewarm reception in the United States but became a runaway success in England, and Queen Victoria even bought three carriages for her royal brood.

William H. Richardson patented his idea for the first reversible stroller. The bassinet could face out or in towards the parent. His design also enabled each wheel to move separately, making the carriage easier to manoeuvre.

Following World War I, prams became safer and sturdier, with larger wheels, foot brakes and lower carriages.

Rubber, plastic and chrome replaced wicker, wood and brass. Mass-manufacturing made prams fashionable and affordable.

English aeronautical engineer Owen McLaren invented the first umbrella stroller after his daughter complained about the difficulty of travelling with a child and a cumbersome, bulky pram. His compact, collapsible, lightweight stroller sold like hotcakes and an evolved version of it is still on the market today.

Phil Baechler, an American journalist and avid jogger, invented the first jogging stroller – a three-wheeled contraption with bicycle tires.

Collapsible, convertible, multiple birth-ready, hooded, harnessed, hooked and even customised, today’s prams and strollers cover a vast spectrum of complexity and affordability. House-brands sold in reputable retail chains start from under $50 and premium deluxe brands can easily soar past the $1,000 mark. Though ‘pram envy’ is a documented cultural phenomenon, do not try and keep up with the Joneses and Tans. Keep an eye on safety and budget – and enjoy the ride!


When buying a stroller, look out for:

  • a sturdy frame
  • easy steering and manoeuvrability
  • a secure footrest (except for carriage strollers)
  • a five-point harness that goes around baby’s waist, over the shoulders and between the legs
  • one or more parking brakes

Here is a quick list of the commonly available types of strollers on the market in Singapore. Not all are suitable for newborns.

Umbrella Stroller

  • small, light and folds up easily for handy storage
  • curved handles like an umbrella
  • basic and economical
Universal Car Seat Carrier (Suitable for newborns)

  • a metal frame with a handle and wheels, to which you can attach any infant car seat model
  • compatible with most car seat models
  • requires less storage space vs. an infant car seat and a stroller
Lightweight Stroller

  • lightweight, with features similar to an umbrella stroller
  • premium brands may have reclining seats, baskets and sun shades
Stroller Travel System (Suitable for newborns)

  • a stroller with a fully detachable infant car seat
  • ultimate in convenience for parents and carers of newborns
Active Stroller

  • ideal for parents who like to bring their babies when engaging in physical activities such as jogging
Bike Stroller

  • strictly for older babies
  • ideal for parents who like to bring their babies while hiking, skiing, etc.
Carriage Stroller (Suitable for newborns)

  • traditional bassinet affixed to a frame with four stroller wheels
  • large shades provide UV protection and shelter from heat and wind
  • extra bounce can soothe some cranky babies
  • large size makes it suitable for parks and wide open spaces but unsuitable for crowded public places

Sources: Baby_transport

This article is taken from our My Alvernia Magazine Issue #37. Click here to read
the issue on our website or on Magzter.