Remember the days when a stroller, aka a pram, was a rickety creation with two crossed steel bars and a strip of nylon fabric—you were lucky if it came outfitted with a bottle holder; and fix-its could usually be taken care of at the local cycle shop. With challenging roads and even more trying pavements, the smoothest ride for a baby was usually in someone’s arms. But that was before the pavement met the Urban Detour Glacier. Suitable from birth, this ‘all-terrain’ hooded equivalent of a Hummer is geared with pneumatic tyres (not ‘wheels’), a multi-position seating arrangement, newborn head support, covered bumper bar, even a shopping basket. Its bells and whistles are set to take baby from birth to several years. And while the Glacier may not be the lightest of baby vehicles, what it lacks in manoeuvrability, it makes up for in comfort.
Farlin, Peg Perego, Lucky Baby, Urban Detour, Maclaren and Quinny are part of the new breed of multi-purpose baby carriers in the market, meant to absorb the worst bump and grind an Indian road can throw up. From the lightweight stroller to the heavy-duty pram, these carriers are specific to use, and they promise to move babies around without the adventure quotient.
It’s a marketing promise that Sujata Kelkar Shetty took to heart while shopping for her firstborn late last year. By the time Akash was born on 22 February, a Maclaren pram, worth about Rs19,000, was already waiting for him. “I got a lot of information from friends in India and the US but, in the end, we bought what looked right,” says the Bangalore-based mother. And Kelkar intends to use it every day to “take him out to the park near the house”.
At Just Mom’s in South Mumbai, Vilas Chheda plans to increase his inventory of six brands, while the Mothercare franchise at Shoppers’ Stop already stocks close to 24 options. “Almost 10% of our turnover comes from the baby travel category,” says Rajiv Nair, business head of Mothercare India. Ritakhsi Arora of Delhi’s Bibs-N-Cribs, which stocks Peg Perego and Graco, sold out her first container of strollers in days, and has a waiting list for the second. “Whether they use it or not, strollers have become a must-have for every branded baby,” says Arora.
From lighter options starting at Rs2,500 to multi-way choices that run up to Rs30,000 for a Peg Perego, there’s one for every baby.