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Buggies

TTYB would like to know your thoughts about our buggy campaign. Have you seen any impact since the global media coverage in November 2008 that followed the publication of our Buggy research? Please email us. Conversation and thoughts are just as valid as actions.

At a recent ante-natal class with 26 expectant mothers, 25 had already bought their buggies (the pusher-facing variety) and the one that was yet to purchase one was intending to buy an away facing one but was convinced otherwise... a triumph for the cause I think!
- Speech and Language Therapist, Devon

Buggies - which way should they face?

Young children spend a considerable amount of time each day strapped into buggies. This could be an ideal time for parents or carers to talk to their child, pointing out things along the way or responding to the things that grab their child's attention. But most children's buggies face away from the pusher, making eye contact impossible and conversation between adult and toddler difficult.

Early years professionals tell us that the unsociable design of children's buggies is a factor contributing to the poor language and communication skills of many children starting nursery or school. Young children need face-to-face communication to fully develop as sociable talkers and learners. If every parent owned a pusher-facing, sociable buggy, more toddlers would receive the one-to-one communication they need. Research published by TTYB in November 2008, and carried out by Dr Suzanne Zeedyk at the University of Dundee, shows interactions between parents and infants are significantly increased with face-to-face buggies.

At present only a few high-priced buggies have a facility to allow the toddler to sit facing the adult pusher. Talk To Your Baby believes that sociable pushchairs should be affordable for all parents and is campaigning to make cheaper, pusher-facing buggies, accessible to all families. Over 1,000 people took part in our online buggy survey, which ran from May to December 2005 and the overwhelming majority are in favour of pusher-facing buggies. We have communicated these results to the leading buggy manufacturers and we are raising awareness of the issue in the design and engineering communities.

Send your views to liz.attenborough@literacytrust.org.uk.

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The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944.
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