All you need to know… buying a double pushchair

Once the news of a pregnancy has sunk in, many of us start to think about the practicalities of having a little one in the house. If you’re planning on getting out and about with baby, some form of travel system or pushchair can be really useful. These can vary from extremely complex travel systems that “grow” with your baby, to simpler umbrella-fold pushchairs can can recline flat to accommodate a newborn. Whatever you decide upon can be dictated by budget and/or preferences.

Things get slightly more complex when you are looking at two little ones. If you have twins, from a practical point of view, a twin pushchair is pretty essential, and if you’re having your second baby quickly after your first, transporting a heavy toddler and a newborn (especially if the toddler is having a strop!) can feel near on impossible without something to carry them around. The solution is a twin pushchair or travel system, and the good news is that this sector of the market has developed hugely over the years so there’s more choice than ever. Here we answer some of your frequently asked questions about twin pushchairs/travel systems, and present some of our favourite models on the market.

Should I go for a model that changes into a double if needed?

If you’re having a baby, and all things going well, are planning on adding to your family quickly, then a model that converts might be a good option. This has been the biggest development in the sector over the last few years – whereas once there were only a few very pricey models, now, there are lots available at different price points and suitable for all sorts of combinations.

What about twins?

If you are having twins, the key is to get a system where both seats can lie flat. Some systems are only suitable for a toddler and a baby, so make sure that your choice can hold two newborns, who must be reclined completely. If you’re opting for a full travel system, look for a model that can hold two infant carriers so you can put both car seats on at once.

How about secondhand?

If you have a toddler already and pregnant again, then consider the amount of time for which you need a double pushchair. If you think you might only need it for a short period of time, then buying a secondhand twin pushchair might be the answer. Just make sure the baby part reclines completely. Otherwise, getting a chair that can convert back into a single pushchair as needed could be a good option.

Are there different types of twin pushchairs?

There are two main types of double buggies – the side-by-side twins and the tandem (one in front of the other. Side-by-side pushchairs mean that both kids are treated equally, so there are no arguments over who gets to sit in front – so these might be ideal for twins. These are often easier to steer than the other option too. The downside is that they tend to be wide, so could be tricky for getting in and out of narrow doorways.

Tandem buggies usually feature a seat in the back that can recline completely for a newborn and a larger toddler seat in the front, so are better for toddler/baby combos than twins. The advantage to these is that they are similar in size to a single buggy so fit easily in narrow passageways etc. These are available as a sturdier four-wheeler or a sporty three-wheeler, which can be easier to steer.

Are there any other features I should look out for?

Just like when you’re selecting a single buggy, it’s a good idea to consider your lifestyle when buying a double version. If you’re living in the city and use your buggy for shopping, then a tandem buggy might be the best option. Or if you’re going for walks in the country, then a sturdier side-by-side might be easier. Most importantly of all, check that your chosen model will fit through your front door, can store away simply and compactly in your home, is easy to fold and fits into your car boot, and can be taken on public transport, if needed. Remember that this is a big purchase for any parent, new or otherwise, so take your time and try out all available models before making your final choice.

What about triplets?

Triplets are becoming more and more common, and not surprisingly, it’s easier these days to get a system suitable for three babies. We’ve sourced some in Baby World in Galway.

For more advice on everything to do with having twins, triplets and more, contact the Irish Multiple Births Association