But today researchers add "buggy worry" to the list, with a report suggesting front-facing strollers could deprive babies of their first lessons in life by discouraging their parents from talking to them.
The study suggests that old-fashioned buggies, which allow babies to lie down and look up at their parent, give babies the best start in life. A recent wave of hi-tech, adaptable, parent-facing buggies - such as the Bugaboo Cameleon and the Stokke Xplory - can help, but they are often expensive, the researchers say.
The research into the psychological effects of buggies reveals that life in a 21st-century baby buggy can be emotionally isolating. Children in front-facing varieties are significantly less likely to talk, laugh and interact with their parents than those in buggies that face the pusher, according to the research. The study is published by the National Literacy Trust for its Talk to Your Baby campaign and funded by the educational charity the Sutton Trust.
It includes an observational study of more than 2,722 parent-infant pairs across the country, carried out by Suzanne Zeedyk, of Dundee University's school of psychology. Some 62% of the babies were in away-facing pushchairs, as were 86% of toddlers. Parents using face-to-face buggies were more than twice as likely to be talking to their child.
A separate, small-scale study monitored 20 babies wheeled in pushchairs across a one-mile stretch in Dundee. Half the journey was spent in an away-facing buggy and half in a parent-facing one. The results suggested that babies' average heart rates fell slightly in a parent-facing buggy, and babies were also twice as likely to fall asleep in this orientation, suggesting they may be more stressed when in away-facing buggies.
Mothers and infants also laughed more often in face-to-face buggies. Only one baby in the group of 20 laughed during the away-facing journey, while half laughed during the face-to-face journey.
Zeedyk emphasised that the study was small and required further investigation, but said: "If babies are spending significant amounts of time in a baby buggy that undermines their ability to communicate with their parent, at an age when the brain is developing more than it will ever again, then this has to impact negatively on their development. Our experimental study showed that, simply by turning the buggy around, parents' rate of talking to their baby doubled."
Laura Barbour of the Sutton Trust said: "The Sutton Trust hopes that buggy manufacturers will look closely at this research, which suggests that face-to-face models improve communication at a very early stage. The problem is that at present these cost a minimum of £200."
Talk to Your Baby campaign