I’m a parent of three adult kids. I was there for all the big, and most of the small, moments of their childhoods. I think about parenting a lot, and I write about parenting. I am now blessed to often be asked to “help out” with our grandkids. Young kids haven’t changed that much since our kids were younger. They are still funny, curious, energetic, and smart. What has changed are the accoutrements in their lives.

I know for a fact that I was once able to open, and fold, a stroller; buckle a baby into a car seat; and affix a baby gate to a door frame. In days of yore, I was even able to safely strap a baby into a highchair. Now, with our grandkids, I can’t do any of those things without supervision by our adult kids. Thankfully, that’s not due to a physical impairment. Rather, baby gear has become far more sophisticated than I have.

Car seats used to have a male end on the chest guard and a female end on the seat. Pull the chest guard over the toddler’s head, insert the male end into the female and, end of story. Snugly and safely buckled-in for the ride to the mall. Just like a seat belt. Today, car seats have arm strap harnesses and three-way clasps – each arm strap buckles into a center piece which in turn buckles into a receptacle between their legs. If you’re lucky enough to find the receptacle between a sitting toddler’s legs. Oh, and no need to go to the mall anymore, either – just order online and your baby’s food and clothes arrive the same day. But that’s another blog subject entirely.

And how about baby gates? They have hidden release buttons, pull-and-lift runners, and flip arms; ours had tension bars. Strollers? Fuhgeddaboudit! Impossible to open, impossible to close, with mountain bike tires and brakes. One particularly challenging grandparent day required a YouTube video search to help me fold the stroller into the car trunk. No problem as long as you can find the model number under the stroller while the child is sitting in it. Or maybe put the child into his car seat while you wrestle with the stroller – oops, then there’s that car seat problem again.

Highchairs are also engineered to defy anyone older than, okay, anyone old. They too have triple harnesses, hidden buttons, slide mechanisms, and plastic snap-on trays to protect the main plastic trays. What’s the point of a washable plastic tray if it has to be covered with another washable plastic tray?

Cribs, of course, have changed dramatically, as have the allowable objects within a crib. Crib bumper pads are now a reason to call child protection services. At least that’s a safety issue I can understand, but car seats with triple buckles? Did any child ever fall out of a car seat with a simple over-the-head single buckle fitting on a chest guard? And, heaven-forbid, which seat is easier to get a child out of in the event of an emergency, the one with three clasps or the one with a single release button?

We parents of a previous generation need our adult kids standing next to us when we’re “helping out” with their kids – which begs, the question…how is that helpful?

How to Fold a Graco Stroller: 11 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow

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