March 20, 2009 / 1:43 PM / 10 years ago

Baby buggies a "status symbol" for British parents

A woman pushes a pram past the entrance to the Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool in this file photo from January 30, 2001. DC

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - More than two-thirds of British parents feel pressured to buy expensive car seats or radios for their babies and 12 percent say they regard prams as a status symbol, according to a new study.

A fifth of the 1,500 people polled online also said they wanted their children to wear clothes that matched their own.

“We see a lot of people with very expensive buggies that may not need them,” said Bruce Fair, managing director of price comparison website, which commissioned the study released on Friday.

“There’s a lot of brand kudos on the playground,” he said, referring to a tendency to buy brands favored by celebrities like Madonna that can cost a small fortune, including a 600 pound pushchair featured in the “Sex and the City” movie.

“In the current climate, however, it’s important that parents resist spending unnecessary amounts on accessories,” said Fair.

If parents have more than one child, expenditures on things like prams can add up, with some parents spending 1,000 pounds ($1,400) or more on buggies, Fair said.

Data this week showed unemployment rising above 2 million, with Britain in its first recession since the early 1990s.

Respondents voted baby buggies the most over-priced item and video baby-monitors among the least necessary, while 84 percent said they felt “unnecessary pressure” to buy expensive equipment such as strollers.

In 2007, Britain recorded the highest number of births in a decade, according to the most recent official data available.

Reporting by Catherine Bosley; Editing by Luke Baker and Paul Casciato

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