|Contours Optima tandem from Kolcraft|
For those of you who are new to the world of double strollers, a side-by-side stroller is just that - the two kids sit in seats directly next to each other. A tandem-style stroller has one child's seat behind the other child's seat. Sometimes a tandem-style stroller has the back seat higher than the front seat, to allow both children to see out. This is called stadium seating.
|Mountain Buggy Duet|
A side-by-side double stroller is easier to maneuver, and most (if not all) double jogging strollers opt for this design. A side-by-side can usually turn on a dime and the two children can see and interact with each other. This style stroller may have one canopy over both children, or each child may have his or her own independent canopy. Foot rests vary similarly from stroller to stroller. Some have three wheels and some have four. Most seats also have independent reclines, so one child can sleep completely flat and another can be sitting up straight. Usually a side-by-side stroller can accommodate one infant car seat (usually with the use of a car seat adapter), but two won't fit together, which is something factor in if you have twins. Some also have the ability to use a removable bassinet or two to convert the stroller to a more traditional carriage-style double stroller. The biggest factor in a side-by-side stroller is usually size, namely width. Can it fit through a standard doorway easily? Is the folded stroller small enough to fit in my car? Can I easily heft the folded stroller into my trunk? Is the stroller too light to be stable? Is the storage basket big enough, and accessible? All of these questions are valid concerns to consider when beginning research.
|Kolcraft Contours Options|
|Baby Jogger City Select|
|Joovy Caboose Ultralight|
What do I personally look for in a double stroller?
- I want versatility...I don't want to have four different double strollers, I want one that can work in many situations.
- I want a tall seat and high weight limit. I want to be able to put a tired 5-year-old in the stroller when she is tired of walking and let her rest.
- I want both seats to have the option of a flat or nearly flat recline and a very upright position as well.
- I want a compact fold. The stroller needs to fit into my trunk.
- I need to be able to lift it myself. I do not need it to be ultralight, but I need to be able to get it into and out of the car myself, and carry it into the shed. I want my stroller to be sturdy, so if it needs to be a little heavier to be sturdy, so be it.
- I want really big canopies. We have very fair skin, and I strongly dislike sunscreen.
- I need to be able to walk with a long stride without kicking or stepping on the stroller.
- I want it to still be easy to maneuver with one child alone - in case the other one decides to walk. That most likely means a side-by-side stroller.
- I want a smooth ride/push. We live on a dirt road, and the stroller will see a lot of rough terrain, as well as occasional smooth terrain. I may not jog, but I do walk fast.
- Front wheel(s) can swivel for smooth walking or be locked into place for rougher terrain.
- I want a solid parking brake.
- I want good visibility for both children.
- I want the ability to put my brand and style of car seat on the stroller securely (even though I most likely won't use this feature).
- I would like the stroller to fit through the doorway at the grocery store and the door to our porch and our shed (so I don't have to fold it every time I put it away).
- I want decent and accessible storage space for a large diaper bag and for other items as well.
- Price. I need the stroller to be a wise investment.
|Bumbleride Indie Twin|
There are also many features that I'd like but wouldn't necessarily base my decision on. For example:
- included bumper bars that can swing away and be removed completely
- peek-a-boo window in the canopy. A magnetic closure would be my preference since it is quiet, and some way to hold it up out of the way.
- included rain cover
- included tire pump (if one is necessary)
- one-handed recline on the seats (a strap recline can be put at any angle, but a bar recline can be adjusted easily to one of many set positions. I'd still prefer the bar recline for the convenience factor).
- easily adjusted harness - it is nice not to have to completely re-thread the straps to use the seat with a larger or smaller child
- adjustable footrests
- good customer service availability, in case problems should arise
- automatic locking mechanism when folding to keep the stroller closed for transportation or storage
- height-adjustable handlebar
- removable and/or machine washable fabric
- included newborn head bumpers and seat padding
- accessible storage for keys, cell phone, i-pod, nalgene etc. for the parent without stopping
- easily removable rear wheels