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I need a double buggy by next week and keep going round in circles - please help a double buggy virgin!

(32 Posts)
swanlady2000 Thu 13-Dec-12 22:13:44

Hi,

I am a foster carer and have had a phone call today to take 2 children aged 7wks and 2 years so I am desperate for a buggy no later then middle of next week. I have never needed a double buggy before, so I am a bit of a virgin. I have looked at loads tonight and still don't know what I need, so I am hoping someone will help me make up my mind.

My needs are:

1. It needs to be lightweight enough to lug in and out of the car - I am only little and know I will struggle with monster weight. I have a peoples carrier so think most will actually fit, so size isnt a problem.

2. Ideally I would like one that you can fit a single carrycot on as I prefer little ones in a proper pram top especially in winter.

3. I would like the older one to be able to see everything around him, the child I am taking has had a lack of stimulation as a baby and is delayed developmentally so I need to be able to point out trees, building etc as we walk to encourage development. Therefore the tandam ones where they can see very little at the back are a no no (although would have a tandam is they can see!)

4. The buggy will need to get through shop doorways (and ideally my door as well)

5. It needs to a dream to push and not heavy and handle kerbs well as I will walk a lot when they weather is nice. my fav single buggy was actually a cheap argos ora, for the simple reason it pushed like a dream!

My budget is around £400 plus I have extra for carrycot, raincovers etc although this can be stretched a bit if it ticks all the boxes

Does the buggy I want exist? Thanks everyone.

KateShmate Thu 13-Dec-12 22:54:35

How about a Jane Powertwin?

Back seat lies flat for baby, or you can put carseat/carrycot on. Front seat reclines a bit - fine for a 2YO and the seat means that he definitely gets a good view! It pushes amazingly and although isn't the lightest to lift, feels really light to push. Can handle kerbs brilliantly too.

I would suggest that you didn't go for a pop-up as you can rarely get one that is compatible with carrycot; also you said that you walk a lot etc, I don't think that a pop-up double would be the best option.

Phil and Teds could be an option - I had this when my older 2 girls were around the same age as your foster children. When you're using the buggy with children this age the main seat lies flat and a material carrycot is laid in (is lovely and padded) and then toddler seat sits on top of the carrycot. Hard to explain but this picture shows it quite well:
http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?q=phil+and+teds+with+cocoon+and+toddler+seat&start=187&um=1&hl=en&tbo=d&biw=1024&bih=509&tbm=isch&tbnid=aIDweyaLZN_brM:&imgrefurl=http://shop.philandteds.com/adapt/rest-and-relax/cocoon-e3-phil-and-teds&docid=AeAXe0ExumjswM&imgurl=http://shop.philandteds.com/bilder/produkt/org_sport-cocoon-on-buggy-lifestyle1.jpg&w=480&h=480&ei=vFfKUNrJKqLK0AXI1oDAAQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=622&vpy=84&dur=465&hovh=179&hovw=177&tx=121&ty=152&sig=107241775122874944295&page=10&tbnh=136&tbnw=133&ndsp=26&ved=1t:429,r:4,s:200,i:16

However, as you can see from this picture, the baby does seem quite 'open' in the cocoon - there is a raincover type cover that goes across the whole area so that they baby is completely enclosed. 2YO would be very happy in this seat too as is quite high up! I absolutely love P&T's, but prefer it when children are a bit older and you can use the back seat - its a fantastic walking pushchair though and is a lovely comfortable ride. It also means that you can use this as a single, easily, if you only have one of the children. I didn't find it the 'perfect' buggy when using with a newborn and toddler, but know many, many people who did.

Haven't had it, but have heard really good reviews about the 'baby jogger city select tandem' too.

I probably wouldn't suggest the britax b-dual as if you wanted the carrycot it would mean compromising on views for the 2YO. Have heard that is very heavy too, however haven't had one myself.

From what you've said in your OP, I would probably stick to a tandem double as they are usually easier to push and mean that you can get through all doorways etc and aren't taking up too much room. I would definitely recommend the Jane Powertwin - it pushes like an absolute dream smile I agree that it isn't the 'nicest' looking buggy, but its lovely to push and steer. I would probably recommend getting a buggy off eBay - you can get some in absolutely brilliant condition and pay so much less than brand new. It also means that if you don't get on with it then you can sell on again smile

Hope this helps, good luck smile Hope everything goes brilliantly for you!

KateShmate Thu 13-Dec-12 23:02:26

Sorry, link for P&T is here

This picture shows the Powertwin really well - looks a bit funny as they've taken hood off front seat. When hood is on the seat is far more enclosed.

This is the baby jogger city select - top right hand picture shows the best 'mode' for you I think. Baby would be cosy in carrycot and you would be able to talk to 2YO.

Ihateparties Thu 13-Dec-12 23:03:37

It must exist!

Or rather a close approximation. You may have to compromise somewhere but perhaps not...

In contrast to the above I kinda feel that a pop up/one piece fold double would suit you well as they tend to be lighter to push than tandems and definitely lighter up kerbs. There are carrycot options on some of them, Baby Joggers being the obvious brand. Tandems lighter to lift into the car purely by virtue of being in pieces when you put them in really.

The very lightest to push doubles often seem to lack a carrycot option eg I would suggest a Nipper 360 double (the newest narrowest one, 72cm should get you in most places) and meet all of your other criteria except the carrycot bit.

Slightly wider and heavier options but with carrycot available include Baby Jogger City Mini Double and City Mini GT double. I had a normal BJCMD a few years ago and found it easy to push and handle, I think the GT is heavier to lift etc. but possibly better to push due to the air wheels? The GT is over budget, the normal one about on the nose or under.

The narrowest side by side available, the mountain buggy swift, is over budget and quite a lot over with a carrycot. It is fairly easy to push but not a dream and surprisingly large and heavy folded for a narrow double. I would struggle to put this in and out of the car regularly (and I am far from um, little!)

There are some good tandems but the better ones tend to be expensive. The Smyths Toys Dimples Duo is good (there is a pic of one on my profile, toddler has loads of vision, baby lies flat facing you though not in an actual carrycot) but I think you would struggle to lift it into the car and also tip it up curbs. I had no problem with curbs but my mum did, she is 6 inches or so shorter than me and it definitely had an effect. I don't know if this would apply to a lot of tandems, they are inherently that bit more of a struggle to push and handle at times. I have a Jane Twone atm, which actually does meet your criteria really, I do love mine but the seats are very close when you get to the seat/seat set up as oppose to seat/carrycot. I have cheated by using a 2nd main seat, which totally transforms it but is of course completely not recommended! I think a BJ City Select kind of meets your criteria but it is heavy to push and very very hard to lift up curbs. I have heard mixed things about various phil and teds, generally speaking that the older models were better but haven't directly experienced one so struggle to comment.

I'm still thinking, I'm sure there are more but also keeping in mind you need it soon, which rules certain things out. I've sent Tiggy in this direction, she is the true oracle of Doubles knowledge grin

Tiggywunkle Thu 13-Dec-12 23:19:11

I am scratching my head a bit simply because I struggle to speak to my two when they are in a side by side pushchair. If my eldest speaks, I have to stop the pushchair, walk round and speak to her, and then go back again. Its one reason I dont like side by sides because I get soooo frustrated with it that I end up telling her to please stop talking and enjoy the ride. Sad I know...but its true.

The best pushchairs I have had for communication were the Joovy Caboose Ultralight - great fun with a toddler on the back and the ABC Adventure Buggy with the toddler on top. But the latter is a huge hulk of a beastie - and wont suit your short stature really. The Joovy would mean the baby being in a car seat which isn't ideal either.
A second hand iCandy Pear is probably one of your better options as you can have the eldest parent facing whilst the baby sleeps behind. Its light for you to set up although a bit fiddly. It is easy to push straight ie walking but harder to handle around shops ie tight spaces and it has a big turning circle.
I would also look at the options on the Smyths Dimples Duo and the Britax B-Dual. The eldest would go on the bottom on the latter, but on the front in the B-Dual. I have to say, I have used a lot of tandem pushchairs, and unless you get a Phil&Teds, the view for the underneath child isn't usually bad. I have to say, this is very much scratching the surface because I dont know what is most important to you ie light to push, or communication with the child.

If you want a side by side - which will be much heavier and bulkier to lift and handle then I would look at a Baby Jogger City Mini with a compact carrycot on top. All round this may be your best option but as I said, I find communication hard with a side by side. A Nipper would be light and easy to push and it is much easier to speak to the child when the hood is up - but there is only one conjoined hood and no carrycot option. I also like the TFK Twinner Twist Duo but they arent cheap and dont come up on Ebay very often. The Air Buggy Mimi is very light to push too, but again there is no carrycot option.

I am not sure you will get everything you want in one pushchair....what is most important?
It may be wise to treat a pushchair like a rental. Buy something with a carrycot now thats snuggly for winter, and then swap to a Joovy Caboose or similar Sit n Stand for summer when the baby is that little bit older?

Tiggywunkle Thu 13-Dec-12 23:24:40

Just to add, I think ihateparties means the Mountain Buggy Duet not the Swift smile - its a big hulk to lift in and out of the car. I should have said to choose the new narrow 72cms Nipper for doorways.

I also would not touch a Powertwin with a bargepole. Its a pushchair with an identity crisis. The front leg room is so short that the child ends up putting their feet on the front wheel and stopping the pushchair, but yet the baby needs to go in the back. The front recline is so minimal that a baby can't realistically sleep in there once its say 8/9months but the toddler will be way too big for the front by 2 and a half.
Equally the City Select is difficult to get up kerbs and all round takes a lot of strength to push especially given you have an already over 2 year old on board.

ShowMeTheCoffee Thu 13-Dec-12 23:28:52

Wow, OP. Well done you for taking on these two kids. Best wishes - hope it all goes really well.

My two have a similar age gap and I walk everywhere. The Phil & Teds (we have the explorer bought in January this year) works really well. My DD was in the carry cot ("cocoon") for about 3 months and then I converted the pram into two seats as she was spending more time awake and it was no fun for her to be lying down if she wasn't sleeping.

It folds down very easily and is easy enough to put in a back of a car (if I can lift it, anybody can). Lovely to push though it is heavy when both children are in (mine are now three and almost one), trying to lift the pram up onto the bus, train etc. Gets through most shop doorways.

I bought ours new for just over £400 - was an online deal at Mothercare - and included the double seat and the raincover. Think I had to pay extra for the footmuff and the cocoon. But they wear well - you could probably get a second hand one in good condition from Gumtree/Ebay etc...

Hope that helps. Best of luck!

Ihateparties Thu 13-Dec-12 23:32:01

Durrr swift.. oops. Yes, Duet. blush

Argh, we all disagree - okay, start again, which bit of the criteria are most important, where can you most easily compromise?

I agree I think that a City Mini with carrycot on best meets the criteria you have described, I don't find talking to them that difficult with a side by side but also I don't much like side by sides because of constant access issues where I live. Plus overall I think I naturally favour a tandem. It does depend very much on your preferences.

Tiggywunkle Thu 13-Dec-12 23:34:27

It does depend on the side by side and how reclined into the seat they are. The Duet and Nipper for example have more upright seats so the hood doesn't get in the way as much and you can see the children. The Baby Jogger City Mini 2011 only had sit upright straps so you could make the children sit more upright. Otherwise the seats are relatively reclined.

bellabelly England Thu 13-Dec-12 23:40:31

Phil&Ted's Sport is great - I replaced my maclaren's twin techno with one of these (secondhand) and it's been a total revelation! Folds easily, pushes easily even up kerbs, on bumpy tracks etc. Bought mine second hand off ebay for about £100. Lots of bargains to be had on ebay!

bellabelly England Thu 13-Dec-12 23:41:12

My only niggle is lack of storage space but you can buy saddlebags to go on it if that's important to you.

Whatistodaysname Thu 13-Dec-12 23:44:17

I have the Jane Powertwin, I can push it one handed, its quite light, the DCs are nearly 3 and 4.8 and I still take it if we go to zoo for day etc if there is a lot of walking.

I paid £80 second hand for mine, with 2 footmuffs and rain covers. I love it.

Whatistodaysname Thu 13-Dec-12 23:44:43

(I hated the phil and teds, just didnt like having a child that close to the ground when I borrowed one to test).

HenriettaTurkey Thu 13-Dec-12 23:45:28

Don't get a second hand Phil and ted's sport or explorer. The hinges are dangerous. I had to have my finger reattached and I know I'm not the only MNer to have had bad injuries.

The post 2011 ones are safer apparently. Not that I'm going near them!

bellabelly England Thu 13-Dec-12 23:47:32

Oh my god Henrietta! What happened, if you don't mind talking about it? Do youmean the hinges where you fold it up?

swanlady2000 Fri 14-Dec-12 00:05:58

Thanks for all your help and l had looked at most of the models mentioned, but it seems none fit the bill exactly, so... will have to compromise I think and set out whats priority.

I have the addtional problem that social services is funding this (originally told me to get one for around the £250 mark! but told them they were having a laugh, so managed to get them to up it £400) but it has to be New as I need a receipt to submit so 2nd hand is out the question. I am willing to put my own money towards getting one that suits me though as I am out in town/toddlers etc most days.

I think the pushchair needs to be light to push as a priority, If its heavy and awful to use I will put off using it and make excuses to stay in rather than get out and about.

I don't mind the children being forward facing as I would just stop and talk about something of interest as we go along just so long as they could look all around and get visual stimulation, the older one can't communicate at all yet and will probably be in awe of just seeing things at first anyway (these are children that have been left in cots for days on end and never got taken out). I would like the carrycot to face me so the baby is looking at my face though as this has more of an interest than trees and things at that age.

I don't think there is a tandam that fits the bill, so it might have to be a side by side. I had looked at the Mountain Buggy Duet that seems to be suitable other than the lifting in the car, unfortunately I will need to order online without tryng it out so might be a no no.

The baby jogger city might be an option though, wider than the above, but lighter I believe.

Will go and look at a few of the other options suggested and if anyone else comes up with anything it will be appreciated

Whatistodaysname Fri 14-Dec-12 00:09:45

Powertwin, and as they get older you can take hoods off so they can see around, I looked at loads (and I HATED side by sides) I am tiny tiny and I found it an absolute doddle to push, you need to go somewhere you can try loads really - I learned the hard way, after buying a side by side without trial and then selling it on after 1 use.

KateShmate Fri 14-Dec-12 00:16:51

Like Whatistoday our Powertwin has seated a nearly 4YO (with long legs) in the front seat and we've had no issues. I also can't see how the 'wheel issue' would be a problem as there is a footrest which covers the wheel; the wheel also goes right underneath the buggy when being pushed so I cannot see any opportunity for feet to get stuck in wheel.

I had the same issue as Coffee with our P&T - there is a period where it just doesn't really work well. With newborn and toddler it was okay, and then with 2 toddlers it worked brilliantly - but not for the bit inbetween. Only my opinion though as I know loads of people who rave about P&T's!

KateShmate Fri 14-Dec-12 00:31:27

After that post OP, I do think the Powertwin is your answer.
It is light, ridiculously easy to steer. The carrycot faces you and is at a really nice height for you to see the baby.
Yes front seat is forward facing, but with my DC I've always found that they prefer to be out looking at the world anyway.

I was in the exact same position as today ; I had 14 months between my eldest 2 and probably had over 20 double buggies.
I can totally agree that heaviness is a serious factor to consider, especially as they get older.
I first had the iCandy pear - loved it at first then realised how awfully heavy it was. Went through so many doubles - I really would avoid a side-by-side if you can. You say that you go out lots - are the pavements wide enough to accommodate a double? I found myself having to walk on the road all the time, and even walking around my small town just seemed such an effort when pushing a huge side-by-side.

I can't really comment much about the mountain buggy as we had the triple version later on, which is obviously a lot heavier than the double. It did steer nicely, but it was just such a beast! I am, of course, taking into account that we had an extra seat, but even so.

Did you have a look at the baby jogger city select link? One mode looked perfect for you as had toddler seat high up so 2YO can look around. Carrycot wasn't rear facing, but then they aren't going to be in there for long.

Or the jane twone

Ah probably too expensive.

I have a b duel, you can get a soft carrycot for the bottom seat so the toddler can sit in the front and look around. I found it quite light compared to some of them.

HenriettaTurkey Fri 14-Dec-12 07:42:04

Yes, bella - the hinge where you put it up. Because of the weight of it, it swung open and I sliced my finger badly, through the middle of the nail. This was October and am still having physio etc. It should mainly recover. If you have one then google it, as they should be able to send you a clip to cover it. Apparently the clips are a bit annoying but better than nothing. I just keep thinking it could've been DS.

Pooka Fri 14-Dec-12 07:52:15

The nipper out and about double is an absolute dream to push and well within the budget. But... Lie flat for newborn, not carrycot.

We have the single. But loads of parents with the double and similar age gaps at the school run.

But again - carrycot only on the single I thnk.

swanlady2000 Fri 14-Dec-12 14:46:27

Have been to toddlers today with a little one I used to look after and had a little play with a nipper double and its perfect in everywhere except the carrycot bit, a couple of the mums also have had one and they all seem to love it. so think I will drop the need for a carrycot and get a snuggle cocoon insert of some kind and buy this. At least I feel a bit better for having a "play" with one instead of just ordering and regretting at a later date.

Thanks for all your help and I've learnt the double buggy market is a minefield - and the perfect one still hasn't been invented!

ChunkyTurkeywiththetrimmings Fri 14-Dec-12 16:14:12

I'm glad you have seen one in the flesh - it is difficult!!

Just wanted to add I used my Smyths dimples duo for the first time today & love it. DD is 2.8yo & DS is 5wo. I'm only 5'2 so not huge, but found it so easy to push. I'm not intending to use it all the time or for long, but I can see that a more expensive one might be more durable for your purpose. However, I'm.impressed so far, with the versatility, price tag & speedy delivery.

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