Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Strollers - My Personal Picks and Why

From Wendy at www.themooressix.blogspot.com:

I am not sure about all of you, but the stroller was by far the most difficult piece of twin gear to choose. The reason, I think at least, is that there just isn't a perfect twin stroller. I had a singleton first and I just loved his stroller. I loved the seat, the options to recline, the canopy protection, the tray with cup holder (that you could also remove), the parent console, the storage, the ease of opening and closing it - you name it - I loved it. Now for twins, I didn't find anything that met all my needs or desires, which was frustrating. So, here was my route with stroller and also my personal favorites.

While the twins were in carriers, I bought a double snap and go frame stroller off Craig's List. These aren't used long, so you can get a nice one fairly cheap. They are light, though long, and work well for what they are. Storage is great. It was also the overwhelming recommendation that the CMOTC members gave me when I asked, still pregnant with the twins. It gives you time to research your options, decide what will ultimately work for you and it is inexpensive. Not to mention that many of the double strollers are not made for twin infants, so this frame stroller works well for your infants in their carriers.

Once they outgrew the carriers, I decided on the all terrain Baby Jogger City Mini Double stroller. It was a laboring decision (no joking here) which I spent so much time research and debating. Let's face it, strollers aren't cheap and you need them so you want the right one if you are going to shell out all that money. For me, I didn't really like the tandem strollers. The front seat didn't recline much and didn't have great canopy coverage, the back seat had little foot room and a smaller tray. And they were long. They are made for an infant and a toddler, not twins. The child in the back might not be able to see as well and might also hit (on purpose or accident) the child in the front. Etc, etc, etc. But, again, it's ALL personal preference. I know people that love their tandems and people, like me, who prefer side by side.

One other big piece of advice I received from the CMOTC moms was that if you get a tandem, you will probably want to eventually get a side by side stroller for the zoo and outings like that. Originally that was my plan, a nice tandem and then a cheap used side by side. But, the more I thought about it, the more the side by side just seemed to fit my needs more (for the reasons I already listed). The nice thing about the City Mini Double is that it fits through doorways and yet the kids aren't squashed into the seats. The major bad thing about the City Mini Double is the cost - it is expensive. But so are most of the nice side by sides. I decided to get this stroller because of all the nice side by sides (and I researched every one, from every country and called them all - sadly, I'm not joking), this one had the most options to make it what I wanted. That said, it meant more money out for these options, but at least I had the options to make it more of what I wanted. Some don't even have options.

Why I like the City Mini Double:
  • It can easily fit through doors
  • The twins have equal viewing
  • The seats are not wide open as to promote fighting or excessive touching (at least not that we have had issues with yet - which was a warning made by the CMOTC moms when I was given advice two years ago)
  • The canopies are adjustable to whatever I want AND operate independently of each other
  • It folds up easily
  • It steers wonderfully and turns on a dime - one handed even
  • I could add a parent console, a belly bar and trays (with cup holders)
What I don't like about the City Mini Double:
  • The seats are always a little reclined when the twins kind of want to be more upright*
  • The bar and trays (that snap on) are a little high (they work for my recently two year old twins, but not for a young one year old probably)
  • The storage is a pain in the rear to get to and load (although a decent size)

* I did create a little work around for the reclining seats. On the back side of the seats are mesh pockets for storage. Since the seats are fabric, you really can't put a whole lot of anything in there as the kids would be able to feel it on their backs. What I discovered, though, is that I could fold up a full size towel and stuff it in there, making the seat backs more ridged and upright.

The trays just came out this year. I just recently bought them and tried them out on a major outing. I do like them and it did help greatly to have food and drink at their finger tips. Before that I had the belly bar consoles which really weren't good for much but sticking small toys in for storage - the kids could not reach them until recently and even then it was hard for them - the trays are much better. I also bought a couple liquid holsters. My husband jokes that it is our million dollar stroller and it was truly expensive (fortunately my mom bought the stroller and we bought all the accessories). However, we take good care of things and figure at some point we can get a little money back by selling it. It definitely is an investment and for us it was worth it. I have no regrets about the decision.

If you choose to get the Baby Jogger City Mini Double stroller, I recommend searching the internet for the best deal. They only sell through distribution (though BRU and some sporting goods stores carry their product on-line as well, but sometimes not in as many colors). I found a distributor on-line that had a great deal on the price, free shipping, and threw in an accessory (the parent console) for free as well. I called the Baby Jogger Corporation and verified that they were indeed one of their distributor (since I hate to give my credit card to just anyone). The stroller drop shipped from Baby Jogger a week later. No issues.

If you can, find it on ebay or Craig's List. The City Mini Double just came out at the beginning of 2008 so there are bound to be some used ones showing up soon.

That's my two cents on strollers and review of my personal stroller.

How about all of you? Does anyone have a double stroller that they absolutely love? Please tell us what it is and why you love it (as well as what you don't like about it). The more input we provide, the easier for others to make decisions and find their perfect match! We've all been there... and we all know input from others helps the decision process immensely!

Please submit your stroller advice/review/input to columbusmultiples@gmail.com for us to post on here on our CMOTC blog.


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