If you've got twins—or a baby and a toddler close in age —a two-seater stroller could be just what you need for getting everyone from A to B.
- Most cost around the same as single-seat models of the same brand, and will comfortably transport two kids, a nappy bag and bottles, and maybe even some groceries.
- But double strollers are bigger and bulkier than single-seaters and can be hard work to push around.
- Double strollers are available in the same general designs as their single-seat counterparts and have similar features but usually don’t have reversible handles; presumably these are too hard to incorporate in a double stroller.
- There are four-wheel (or in some cases, six-wheel) models and jogger-style models with three or four wheels, though you'd have to be very fit to go jogging with any of these.
Side-by-side or tandem?
Double strollers generally come in one of two basic designs:
Side-by-side strollers have the two seats next to each other.
- It’s easier to see both children at once.
- Are quite wide and potentially difficult to fit through doorways or narrow supermarket aisles, and can take up a fair amount of space on footpaths too.
- Usually both seats can recline independently, making this type suitable for either two babies, two toddlers or one of each.
- Babies under six months shouldn't be placed in a stroller seat unless the backrest can be reclined more than 130° to the seat; many side-by-side strollers allow this.
Tandem strollers have one seat in front of the other. This keeps the stroller narrow similar to many single-seat models.
- Although they can be easier to manoeuvre through a doorway, their length means you could have trouble reaching the door to open it; you'd probably have to back in through the door and pull the stroller after you.
- The extra length can also make them harder to steer and it can be difficult to get the stroller up a step or kerb by pushing down on the rear handle.
- It can be harder to keep an eye on the child seated up front.
- The back seats of tandem-style strollers may recline far enough for a baby under six months. But only some have front seats that also recline far enough to make the stroller suitable if you have young twins.
Instead of buying a double stroller a quick solution is to convert your normal stroller into a twin-stroller by attaching a toddler seat. But how safe are they?
In May 2005 CHOICE tested three stroller seats. All the seats were easy to attach to the stroller and detach again, but otherwise the results were disappointing. Two seats had potential finger or limb entrapments and the third posed a potential safety hazard to the child in it.
What to look for
When shopping for a seat attachment for your stroller, here's what to look for. If possible, take your stroller and toddler into the shop and try fitting the seat.
- The seat should be easy to attach and detach. Give the seat a tug in each direction to make sure it attaches securely to the stroller.
- Check that your toddler fits comfortably in the seat.
- The stroller will be heavier with two children on board, so make sure it's still stable and manoeuvrable.
- The five-point safety harness should be adjustable and fit securely to the seat. It should be easy for you, but not your child, to buckle and unbuckle.
- Make sure there are no sharp edges, detachable parts that could pose a choking hazard and gaps that could trap fingers or limbs.
- Neither child in the stroller should be able to reach any moving parts like wheels or brakes.