Introduction to Baby Carriages

Baby carriages have long been utilized by parents as a means of transport for their infants and children. During the 20th century, this invention of convenience exploded with a diversity of design, functions and materials. While baby carriage and baby stroller is typically used interchangeably, a baby carriage usually refers to an English style carriage that is comprised of a bassinet-like enclosure attached to a simple frame and four wheels. The child lies flat in the baby carriage, much like in a small crib or bassinet. A baby stroller typically features different reclining positions, and the child usually rides in a sitting position, facing forward, with an opening for his or her legs to dangle free.

Baby carriages are also known as baby buggies and perambulators to British parents, or pram for short. Baby stroller is a mostly American term, and the typical stroller most often seen today is referred to as a pushchair in the UK. The modern baby carriage was invented in England by William Kent in 1733, commissioned by the Third Duke of Devonshire. It wasn’t until 1889 that American William H. Richardson patented his design of a baby carriage in the United States.

A traditional baby carriage consists of an upholstered wood frame that surrounds the carrying compartment. A hood folds over one end, which shields the child from the sun. Inside the baby carriage is a thin mattress for comfort, and often a belt for safety. The carriage rests on a simple, lightweight aluminum or chrome frame, with a suspension for a more comfortable ride. Depending on the manufacturer, the wheels are typically fairly large for a smoother ride.

While classic baby carriages are still produced by companies like Inglesina, many other companies have designed more modern versions that have the same features, but include many other to accommodate modern parenting needs. Some baby carriages allow the bassinet to detach and be turned to face forwards or backwards. Others can convert to a baby stroller, where a child can sit in an upright position, with openings for the legs. These often are more modern in appearance, with more durable fabrics and materials to readily accommodate parents with a more active lifestyle.

Because classic baby carriages are typically prohibitively expensive — ranging from $250 USD to over $2000 USD — many parents opt for the less expensive, albeit less fashionable, baby stroller that often has much more in the way of bells and whistles, with large storage compartments, cup holders, reclining positions, easy folding and durable materials.

Written by O. Wallace

Related Home Institute Articles

  • Introduction to Strollers
  • Baby Carriers
  • Introduction to Baby Travel Systems
  • Things you Need for your Newborn
  • Stroller Buying Guide
  • Stroller Safety
  • Baby Walkers