You’ve seen them at the mall, the amusement park, and the playground. They seem to weigh a million pounds and are pushed by bleary-eyed parents that no longer care whether or not they look cool. They are double strollers, and if you have infant twins or two young children close in age, you need one.
Stadium vs. Side-by-Side Seating
There are two major types of double strollers, and the difference is in how the seats are arranged. In double strollers with stadium seating, the seats are arranged one in front of the other, with the rear seat being slightly elevated. Side-by-side strollers look just like you would imagine, with the seats being arranged next to each other. Each arrangement has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The biggest advantage to stadium strollers is their width. Since they are the same width as single strollers, they fit easily through doors and hallways. Graco makes stadium-seating double stroller travel systems. The matching infant bucket car seats snap onto the stroller, so you never have to unbuckle a sleeping baby (or two sleeping babies) and try to get them into the stroller without waking them up. However, stadium strollers are extremely heavy and can be difficult to maneuver. The added length makes it hard to see what is in front of you, and the baby in the rear seat often cannot see over the front seat’s canopy, which can lead to a lot of tears at places like the zoo.
Side-by-side strollers tend to be lighter weight than their stadium-seating counterparts, and both children can easily see all that is in front of them. The children being able to sit right next to each other can be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on how well your kids are getting along on any particular day. The biggest advantage to side-by-side strollers is that both seats can fully recline, which is important when your babies are too small to sit upright or when both of your older babies are sleeping. In stadium-seating strollers, only the rear seat reclines all the way. The width of side-by-side strollers can make them hard to maneuver through doorways and in other tight spaces; they are best used outside.
Choosing the Right One
When you buy a car you give it a test drive, and you should do the same when buying your double stroller. Make sure you know how to fold and unfold the stroller, and pay attention to whether it folds smoothly or if you have to force it. Strollers that you can fold using only one hand are a big plus when you have both of your hands full with two small children. Pick it up to feel the weight; double strollers are notoriously heavy and there can be a big discrepancy in weight between brands. If you are buying your stroller after both of your babies have been born, make sure you strap them both into the seats. Note how easy or difficult it is to strap them in, if the straps adjust easily, and if they seem comfortable. Find out how the seats recline and test them out. See if the storage area is big enough for the essentials you will be taking with you on outings. Finally, push the stroller around the store to feel how it maneuvers. Your children will be spending a lot of time in their stroller, and you will spend a lot of time pushing it, so it is important that all three of you are happy with your decision.
Using Your Double Stroller
Owning a double stroller doesn’t make sense if you don’t use it. When your twins are born or your second child arrives, take your monster baby-mobile out for a spin! Babies love observing their surroundings, and taking long walks together is a good way for all three of you to get out of the house and breathe some fresh air. The right stroller will make it that much more enjoyable.