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Having babies changes your outlook on life. Suddenly you’re responsible for taking care of helpless infants that rely on you for everything, and if you make mistakes, they’re the ones that suffer. As a result, you’re going to start paying a lot more attention to the products you buy, especially for your children. When it comes to items like strollers, safety will be your paramount concern.
However, you also need to consider comfort, utility, durability, and several other factors when choosing a stroller, and this becomes doubly true when you have two young kids, whether they’re twins or a toddler and an infant. How do you go about picking a double stroller that meets your high standards and strict criteria? Here are a few factors to consider.
1. Safety ratings
This is priority number one. Before you choose any vehicle to transport your kids, you want to make sure it meets the highest standards for safety and testing. Although your stroller doesn’t speed along at the same pace as your automobile, it also features a lot less protection, so you need to spend just as much time (if not more) researching stroller safety before you make your purchase.
Your kids won’t need a stroller for more than a few years, but there’s a good chance you’ll get a lot of use out of it during that time, and you need it to hold up to the abuse of not one, but two kids (unless you have more kids, in which case you’ll want it to last even longer). You don’t want to have to pay for a new product in just a couple of years or a few months, so sturdy construction and robust materials are a must.
3. Side-by-side vs. tandem
When it comes to double strollers, you have two main design choices: side-by-side or tandem (front and back) seating. Aside from the obvious difference in configuration, what separates these two styles?
The biggest difference is that side-by-side models are wider while the tandem configuration is no wider than a single stroller. The result is that the latter can more easily fit through narrow spaces like doorways or crowded park paths.
You might assume that tandem strollers are longer, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Many set one seat above the other at an angle instead of directly behind it, so there isn’t a lot of extra, unwieldy length to cope with. Of course, this could compromise stability somewhat, potentially making a side-by-side stroller less likely to tip if kids get rambunctious.
Some parents like the idea of side-by-side so kids can more easily connect with a sibling, unlike a tandem stroller, where it’s more likely the foot of the kid in back will connect with the head of the kid in front. These are all things to consider when choosing the best double stroller.
4. Performance factors
Performance is important for both you and your children. You need to choose features like number and type of wheels that will get where you want to go (in the city or off the road), and kids require comfort. With a side-by-side stroller, both kids get the same features in terms of recline, leg rests, and so on, but a tandem stroller may only offer a foot rest to the kid in front and recline to the kid in back. Make sure to ask about functional performance so you can make an informed decision that works for you and your kids.
5. Convenient extras
Does the stroller you’re looking at come with enough storage for double the diapers, toys, and snacks? Do hoods adequately cover both kids to stop exposure to the elements? Are brakes easy to set? Are straps easy to fasten and unfasten? Convenience and efficiency are essential for parents with multiples.
6. Consumer reviews
It really doesn’t matter how great a product looks on paper if customers hate it. You could have all the bells and whistles in the world, but if your kids find your double stroller uncomfortable, it doesn’t meet your functional needs, or it suffers from common failures or safety concerns, it’s definitely not the right product for your family.
Comparison shopping on your own to narrow down your options is wise, but don’t discount the advice of your peers. Other parents are happy to laud the products they love and pan the ones that fail to deliver, so don’t hesitate to seek their advice by reading consumer reviews.