The joys of parenthood are endless; the joyful smiles and giggles, sleepy hugs and kisses, first teeth, steps and words, and so much more. Still, no matter how rich the rewards are, there are some things which can be a challenge for any mom or dad. Beyond the diapers, teething and sleepless nights, having two young children either the same, or pretty close in, age brings the practical dilemma of how to best get out and about without the car.
Taking a leisurely stroll around the park or to the local store is a great opportunity to get some fresh air and show off your treasures to the neighborhood, but when you have twins, or a baby and a small child who cannot walk for long distances you need a suitable baby stroller for the job.
The most cost effective and useful option is to buy something both children can use at the same time, rather than two separate strollers. However, choosing from amongst the many double baby strollers available can be a time consuming and confusing task, so take a look at these top tips on how to choose the most suitable one for your lifestyle.
Key things to consider:
The Age of Your Children
If you have been blessed with twins look for a stroller with two identical seats, while those with a baby and a young child can choose between dual seated strollers designed to carry different weights, or opt for the type which is flexible enough to allow a seat to be removed and for the older child to stand on a rear platform if they wish. This can be a lifesaving option for children at the age where their desire to walk independently is not matched by their physical stamina.
How Long Do You Plan to Use It?
If you just need a stroller to use on a trip or for a short period of time it isn’t worth spending a lot of money on a more expensive model with features you are unlikely to use. In this case focus on just one or two features which are essential for the short term, such as cost and size.
On the other hand, it makes financial sense to buy a double stroller which can be used for as long as it is needed, so choosing a design which can be converted as your children grow may be a cost effective purchase in the long term. Beware of strollers which double up as car seats, as despite the convenience you need to be sure any future, larger sized car seats can be used with the stroller frame. [Some more expensive double strollers come with a wide range of seating options which make them good value if you plan to use them for several years.]
The longer you plan to use a stroller for, the more important things such as durability and warranty cover become. Materials which are both strong and easy to clean are important in the long term, and a comprehensive warranty gives peace of mind should the stroller need repair or replacement parts.
How Portable Does It Need to Be?
Some double baby strollers are quite easy to fold down and put together, a few even claim this can be done with one hand – useful when trying to manage small children, but others are more troublesome. If being able to collapse your stroller for car travel, storage or any other reason is important make this a priority on your ‘must have features’ list.
Double baby strollers come in two basic designs, with the seats either tandem (one behind the other), or side by side. The tandem design is easier to maneuver through doorways or on the sidewalk, while the wider side by side design allows both children to be seen equally easily. This is a choice you need to make based on practicality and personal preference.
Also worth thinking about is whether you would like the seats to offer independent positioning. This is a bonus if you have one baby who likes to be upright and another who prefers reclining.
Shopping or Sports?
Some moms and dads like to take their children out in a stroller while they are jogging, and several are specially designed to keep babies comfortable while dealing with the uneven ground a runner may encounter. Look for models with one large front wheel and good suspension. On the other hand, if your focus is less on speed but more on shopping you need to check out the strollers with baskets, or integral areas for storing your purchases safely.
Comfort and Safety for Both Parents and Children
While it is natural to look for a stroller which offers a smooth, comfortable and pleasant seat for your babies, fewer parents stop to think about their own comfort. Choosing a double stroller with an adjustable handlebar helps avoid backache caused by stooping over something that is too low.
Check out the canopies of possible strollers, particularly to see if they are rainproof, and offer protection from the sun’s UV rays.
Are Extra Features Worth It?
Whether or not to go for a model with add-on features is a very individual decision. For example, a stroller with the option of trays is great if you plan to offer snacks to your children while they are riding in it, but it’s not essential, while specially added cup or bottle holders may be more use. Older children may appreciate a space to store books or small toys, while a secure area for you to keep your phone and keys safely out of sight but close at hand may be important.
As every double baby stroller offers a different combination of features, the best way to make the right choice is to identify which of these are essential for you, and then search for the stroller which can deliver. This approach should help narrow the options, and avoid you being tempted by interesting but unnecessary functions and extras. Happy shopping!