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Tandem for a newborn and 3 year old that converts easily into a single

(29 Posts)
suburban Thu 18-Oct-12 10:46:30

Hello knowledgable ladies, I hope someone can help me.

I am due DC2 in March, 6 weeks before Dc1 turns 3 and am looking for something to accommodate both of them. Dc1 is a pretty good walker, but I don't drive so tend to walk a lot, and would like the option of just strapping her in and getting on with it. Ideally I am looking for a tandem that i can put them them both in to do the preschool run of 1.5 miles, then take one of the seats off and leave at preschool, whilst I mooch about with the baby.

Am not too bothered about size and how it folds down, because if we are going in the car/on the bus, DD will be able to walk so the baby can have her old MacLaren. Have looked at Phil and Teds, but am quite confused about where the baby goes. Possibly a Britax B dual? Would prefer a tandem than a double so that I can fit into shops and cafes (shallow). Needs to be quite hard wearing and cope with the pre school trek everyday. Budget unlimited within reason, am hoping to buy on eBay and then resell when Dd starts school.

Thank you

cairnterrier Thu 18-Oct-12 11:09:35

Hi Suburban. I've got a P and T Promenade for DS1 (aged 2.10) and DS2 (aged 5 months). Overall I'm really pleased with the purchase. The top seat can be forward or rearward facing and can recline to flat in all these positions. Both seats convert from a lie flat pram mode into the seat so no extra storage of a pram bit needed and this has been very handy for a napping toddler.

With the top seat parent facing, and sitting up, there's very little room in the bottom seat which has to be lying flat, however DS1 loves this as he thinks it's a Gruffalo cave hmm. With the top seat lying flat, then the bottom seat can be sitting up.

Note that P and T recommend that the baby goes in the bottom seat and the toddler in the top seat so normally this wouldn't be a problem! With both seats forward facing, then either seat can be in any position without problems.

I walk at least 2 miles every day on pavements and it's been really good. It is a bit of a heavy push (compared to a Bugaboo Bee!!) but I'm not sure how it compares with any other double when fully laden with toddler and baby and paraphenalia. I can push one handed up a hill whilst holding DS1's hand which is good.

Downsides are that the front wheels do tend to get a bit clogged up with grass and mud and can be difficult to clean out. Also it's difficult to swap the top seat from forward to rear facing if you're by yourself and the baby is in the top seat. Again not a problem to do though, if you're somewhere that you can lie the baby down for 2 mins whilst you swap it around.

Please let me know if you'd like any other info.

RillaBlythe Thu 18-Oct-12 11:14:51

Are you sure you can leave a seat at preschool? I only ask because ours were very clear that nothing (buggies, bikes, scooters) could be left there & it seems to be definitely part of your plan!

suburban Thu 18-Oct-12 11:20:08

Thanks cairn terrier, will look into the Promenade.

Yes can deffo leave the seat at preschool, I leave DD's buggy there now they have a covered bike rack sort of thing where people leave all sorts, scooters/buggies/seats etc.

FireOverBabylon Thu 18-Oct-12 11:20:27

We had an iCandy Apple which still fitted our long 3 year old. It can be coverted into the iCandy Pear - the tandem twin buggy, and can have a combination of seat and baby carrier. You can also have both seats facing you as they just clip in and out of the holding frame.

If you want to use just the Apple pushchair, leave the inner frame and pushchair seat at pre-school and take the main frame with the baby carrier attached.

suburban Thu 18-Oct-12 12:12:04

Oh thanks both the Promenade and Pear look perfect. Any opinions on the Britax B Dual from anyone, if only because there are more on eBay near here....

Tiggywunkle Thu 18-Oct-12 12:30:24

I think with an almost 3 year old your choices will be more limited. Yes a B-Dual would work but with there being no leg rest on the front seat its not the best choice for a child so old. However, I am not saying rule it out, but go and try one and see how well your LO sits. I used one with a 3 year old with the calf rest lifted up to horizontal.

If you have time to wait then the new Babystyle Oyster Max is brilliant for an older child - the main seat has bags of space for an older child - the hood slides up the chassis and there's a great footrest for them. The only issue is that the baby would go underneath which isn't so much of an issue when they are in the carrycot, as you would just swap them over, but when the baby moves into the seat unit, then in theory you could swap the seat to the top position but you lose the full recline and bigger hood.

The iCandy Peach Blossom 2 would also work well for you. The main seat is plenty big enough for a 3 year old. But you need to research about the carrycots well because in theory the new Blossom carrycot fits in the main position as a single but its not safety tested so do some reading around that. The Peach Blossom 1 would in theory suit your age gap but you wouldn't be able to put the lower carrycot on as a single and it all gets complicated!! Don't dismiss the Peach as an option at all, but just read up and ask questions. If you are just using it as a tandem then I would simply say a Peach Blossom 1 or 2, but because you want to leave one seat at nursery, thats why I am hesitating.

Look also at the Micralite Twofold - its due out shortly I believe - and with your age gap, could well be the right solution because there are second seat and buggy board options built in. But you would need to find out more from Micralite as to where they are up to with releasing it.

I wouldn't get a Phil&Teds for many reasons including whether your eldest would sit comfortably on the doubles kit when its on the front and be able to fit under the hood (this is newborn mode and the baby lies on the main seat underneath in a dark cave!). Then later when you put the doubles kit underneath you will have issues whereby when the eldest gets out of the upper seat then the baby needs moving to the top seat. Plus its not easy to recline the upper seat for baby to nap if the toddler goes underneath and the weighting feels all wrong like this.

Look also at the Mountain Buggy +One - its fine for the first 6 months but then becomes problematic - but there are ways around it and for what you need it for then you may well be able to overcome them (especially if your nursery run isn't too long and you can then put the youngest into single lie flat mode to nap etc. We love ours, but you DO need to read all about it, and understand 100% how it works and think through what will happen in each situation. But I would hope by the time your eldest is 3 and a half that they will be walking even more but you have a second seat back up option.

The Jane Twone is again easy to push with older children, but access to the lower child is problematic - and you would need to swap children around at nursery, but its worth a look.

Finally look at the TFK Joggster Twist with Multi X carrycot and Buddy seat - we loved this, but we had issues because our eldest at rising 4 was too heavy for the buddy seat, but there are no wheelguards and our youngest was fascinated by the wheels. Again, look at it though because it may well see you through up to a year or so.

Tiggywunkle Thu 18-Oct-12 12:35:11

If you consider a Pear, then buying second hand - an Apple to Pear conversion rather than a straight Pear - otherwise you may quickly find your eldest is too tall for the seat. Its pretty expensive to do the conversion yourself ie buy an Apple and convert. However the Pear is incredibly heavy to steer (fine to push on the straight though) and has a large turning circle. Your youngest will be hidden at the back too. The Peach Blossom is way way easier and better when you already have an older child.

suburban Thu 18-Oct-12 13:43:20

tiggy perfect sort of comprehensive knowledge I was after. Thank you so much.

As far as I can tell the P&T Promenade is different but v Exxy. Otherwise I won't get a p&t because of having to push around a seemingly empty pushchair with poor newborn stuck in a cave at the back.

I guess it is probably going to come down to seat size. I'm not too bothered about Dd being comfortable so ,ong as she fits am sure she will walk more and more, just that our preschool run is along some busy roads/level crossings etc where I need to strap her in for my own piece of mind as much as anything else. I am also expecting emergency breakfast in the buggy mornings to become a bit more frequent once we have another newborn in the mix blush.

Have just come across baby jogger city select as well, does anyone have experience of this? Otherwise. Britax and I candy are the front runners.

Ihateparties Thu 18-Oct-12 14:17:21

I think from what I have heard you will struggle with a city select with a nearly 3 yr old, it becomes heavy to handle as you add more weight.

My two pence worth (esp as tiggy and I have different priorities sometimes so we come out with different answers) -
B Dual - I liked the b dual, didn't really find the lack of footrest for the toddler a problem (the Twone is also like this if you do happen to look at it) but I did find the whole thing too wide for my life. Otherwsie it was nice to push, had basket space etc. The lower seat is a little too reclined but it can easily be fixed.

iCandy Peach Blossom - I had the blossom 1 with the smaller non upright lower seat, I'm trying to figure out how you'd do the single to double swap with a peach because the lower carrycot isn't recommended for use as a single, indeed I don't even know if it physically fits on the blossom 2. It didn't on the blossom one as the adaptor spacing was different on the lower seat. It's a nice pushchair I just can't see it working in your situation, if you were leaving it as a double all the time then it would be different.

Mountain Buggy +one - same as tiggy basically, you would have to be very clear about who was going to sit where at any given stage. I think it's probably less than ideal for you in the sense that when using as a single you are still going to be pushing round an empty seat at the front, as you would a p and t, the only difference being the baby would be behind it as oppose to underneath.

Jane Twone - I have a Twone and love it but I have also cheated and there are compromises. It's lovely and light to push and the main seat is excellent. In your situation you would have the baby in lower position in carrycot, toddler in upper seat, then leave upper seat at nursery, drop carrycot onto upper position - very easy and no extra bars or anything. When you got to the seat/seat set up you hit the age old tandem problem - baby in bottom seat so can recline any time to sleep, pushing round buggy with top seat empty when toddler is walking. But if you put the baby in the top so the toddler can be in and out of lower seat more often than not the baby can't be reclined for sleeping when lower seat is occupied. This is a PITA. Also for my twone I obtained a second main seat until, which leaves a much larger gap between the two seats, with the smaller lower seat on they are very close to the point you have to use it one notch reclined really. My toddler can climb in to the lower seat but not out (not entirely a bad thing in my book!) I have a Duet in at the moment, with the air tyres I expected it to be easier to push and take cobbles and bumps better however it does not so I can sort of recommend the Twone for places with uneven surfaces... In as much as I can ever recommend it given the compromises grin

iCandy Pear - no experience of so cannot really comment. Reportedly heavy to steer with weight on board and big turning circle.

Micralite Twofold - looks great, still haven't had sight of one, lots of options, seems like it will work for all stages but can't be sure until it arrives and some reviews start to come through.

P and T promenade - have only seen and played with one of these on shop floor. It felt long because of the way the handle extends, I'm not sure what this means for things like tipping it up kerbs with children in etc. I like the theory of the convertible seats etc. I did think it seemed very expensive compared to a b dual, which when I viewed them side by side I would most liken it to.

Babystyle Oyster Max - Personally I would get this in a heartbeat, it seems to do all you require and is easy to push and use. Again no storage but you can get around that with add ons. smile

FireOverBabylon Thu 18-Oct-12 14:28:00

My DS is 3.3 and his pushchair is in the shed. If your DD will be all but 3 when the new baby arrives, have you considered getting a smaller pushchair / travel system for the baby and putting a buggy board on the back for the 3 yr old. If they have wellies and waterproofs for bad weather, they should be fine standing up / walking alongside.

Tiggywunkle Thu 18-Oct-12 14:33:37

Just to counter ihateparties

The Twone has a footrest for an older toddler at the front smile The B-Dual doesnt smile My big 3 year old (nearly 4 year old) couldnt climb in and out of the Twone lower seat and on the one occasion I put her under there we had a crisis when she needed the toilet and the baby was fast asleep on the top. I needed help to remove the upper seat and undo the bar under the seat to get her out. ihateparties would the lower seat physically fit in the upper position if the OP wanted to leave the upper seat and then move the lower seat on?

The Peach Blossom 2 carrycot does physically fit on as a single and I know people using it as such. But its not safety approved and iCandy don't recommend it. The Peach Blossom 1 lower carrycot - the one you would need - doesn't fit as a single.

The Mountain Buggy +One would be easy enough to use with one child as essentially it is a single lie flat pushchair with a hidden seat. So in baby mode, you could just take the baby out of the cocoon (you may even be able to leave them in) and place them flat on the seat as its suitable from birth. But it needs thinking about.

Ihateparties Thu 18-Oct-12 14:35:21

If I just had 1 child they would probably be walking 90% of the time, with several others to also keep track of a loose 3yr old has taken on a different meaning. It does depend a lot on the individual child though. I have one usually non compliant child who stayed on a board really well from just less than 3 and another generally much more compliant one who thinks it's a massive laugh to mess about, run away and stop so no one can get where they're going. What works for you depends on a lot of factors, your children, your lifestyle, your local area... all sorts. Do what works best for you smile

cairnterrier Thu 18-Oct-12 14:37:44

Suburban sorry me again! My choice was between the B dual and the Promenade. The game changer for us was that DH could not push the B dual with the carrycot on the bottom without kicking it at every step (6'3inches tall). Would this be an issue for you?

Kiddicare in Peterborough had a pretty comprehensive selection of all types of doubles if you wanted to go there to have a play with them all.

Jojoba1986 Thu 18-Oct-12 14:48:01

I saw something recently that's essentially a second seat that clips on to the side of your existing buggy & can be folded so it lies flat against the buggy when not in use... Can't remember what it's called or where I saw it though but I'm pretty sure I didn't dream it! grin Anyone have any idea what I'm talking about?

Tiggywunkle Thu 18-Oct-12 14:50:05

I agree....theres nothing worse than a buggy board on the back of a pushchair. Give me a double any day. My 4 year old still rides in a double when the occasion warrants it. My chiropractor bill would be huge if I were hunched over a buggy board all the time. Sometimes you DO just want to strap the kids in and go....or not worry about them knocking over china or "helping" you to shop!

Dont consider the City Select. With a 3 year old it will be way too heavy.

suburban Thu 18-Oct-12 14:51:46

Grr just lost a long message.

Fire I have a MacLaren travel system which I will wack a buggy board on the back of for going to the park/corner shop/toddler group etc. This is just for the walk to pre school which is 1.5+ miles up and down hills each way. I am sure Dd could and in fact she has walked it, but it's unfair to make her do it twice a day everyday when sometimes it nearly finishes me off.

ihateparties another expert thank you. That Oyster one looks beautiful, not sure if I can justify the cost for something that prob won't get used for more than a year though.

cairn it won't be a problem for DP because he will drive long distances or take the MacLaren and buggy board out. It really just needs to be for me and this blinking pre school run.

Lots of the Britax on eBay near here for good prices so it's looking like the front runner. Thanks for the tip on needing to get out for a wee tiggy that is exactly the sort of thing I can see happening to me. Will make sure to check it over when we try them out. Do you know where might stock the Britax?

Ihateparties Thu 18-Oct-12 14:55:28

Lol, I actually don't think the OP should get a Twone if she can get her hands on an Oyster Max but no the Twone lower seat doesn't fit in the top position.. well parent facing it doesn't, bits of frame interfered with eachother... forward facing I'm not sure, it might. (Tiggy and I have had different experiences with the Twone, I find the lower seat loading and unloading irritating but fine, Tiggy found it impossible to live with. These things do vary very much from person to person, the individual compromises we're willing to make and not make).

Cairn this makes perfect sense, I never really thought of the long handlbar for those purposes but I can see how that would work better for a tall person with a long stride. Out of interest what is it like to tip up curbs?

Tiggywunkle Thu 18-Oct-12 14:58:39

See a double pushchair as a rental - buy wisely, look after it and sell it and recoup your money back. You are better buying something better quality and costing more IF your research shows you will get more back if that makes sense? Believe me, ihateparties especially has learnt the hard way that buying cheap isnt the answer with doubles. Go and have a wander around Best Buggy because I think you will learn a lot. I think Mothercare stock Britax but most good independent pushchair shops should stock it. I do urge you to try a B-Dual before buying, and also to consider the Oyster Max. Most people only use a double for 6-12 months and the Max should have a good resale value being so new.

suburban Thu 18-Oct-12 15:02:47

Good sounds advice tiggy do you know when the Oyster comes out?

Ihateparties Thu 18-Oct-12 15:03:03

Lol I did buy one cheap one initially, it wasn't so much the cheapness that was an issue, it was the seating positions, weird handling. I suppose that could equate to cheapness depending on how you look at it. Also oddly the cheap one re sold really well for hardly any loss at all! confused
On the other side of this I have also had a number of expensive ones that I haven't loved either. You do need very much to see them and try them out!

I thought of something else but have forgotten....

cairnterrier Thu 18-Oct-12 15:22:41

Ihateparties I've not had any problems tipping it up kerbs, and this includes doing it one handed whilst holding onto DS1.

Ihateparties Thu 18-Oct-12 18:46:48

That's good, is there anything you don't like about it? I'm just being nosy, I'll never have one now so would like to know the ups and downs!

Tiggywunkle Fri 19-Oct-12 00:17:29

I dont know when the Oyster Max comes out - the last I heard it was Spring....

Tiggywunkle Fri 19-Oct-12 08:22:41

jojo for some reason I didn't see your message last night. You are thinking of a Buggypod. The old ones are supposedly awful - I know several people who had them and sold them after the first use. I heard of one collapsing whilst crossing the road. They are apparently difficult to get up kerbs. However the new Io version seems to be much better and I know one mum who uses one. Just remember though that they add considerably to the width - off the top of my head it's circa 30cms which added to a pushchair - let's say of 55cms gives an 85cm wide pushchair which is wider than most doubles and wouldn't fit through a standard door - although the child could be removed and the seat folded. TBH I think it's easier to get a double pushchair.

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