The primary mode of transporting my children around Beijing is via a double stroller. I take our double stroller pretty much everywhere I take my children. My pregnant friend recently asked me if I thought she needed to buy a double stroller as well. “Well, it depends…” I began my response. And so it does. There are multiple “complex” variables that need to be considered.
What is the age difference between your children?
If there is something like a six-year age difference between your children, you almost certainly will not require a double stroller. However, if there is a much smaller age gap you may well find one useful. My daughters are just over 18 months apart, and so my oldest daughter was still very much of stroller age when her younger sister was born.
Do you already have a good quality stroller and a good quality baby-carrier?
If your children are close enough in age so that your oldest child is still of stroller age, you may be able to get away with having the oldest one in a stroller and the youngest one in a baby carrier. However, for this to work well, you will need a good quality stroller and a comfortable baby carrier. In my case, I had neither.
What’s your lifestyle like?
I’m quite adventurous, and I like to be out and about with my children. For our daylong outings, a dodgy stroller and a painfully uncomfortable baby-carrier will not cut it; my double stroller is essential. It acts as a portable bed, a changing table, a high chair and a safe haven in the midst of the crowds. I can hang my jumbo baby bag on the back and glide weightlessly along behind it.
What’s your oldest child’s behavior like?
Are they obedient? Do they follow your instructions, or are they a law unto themselves? Some toddlers are very compliant. These children are capable of holding the side of a stroller and responsibly walking beside it without becoming too distracted by the sights and sounds around them. However, not all toddlers are there yet. There are some little people who need to be saved from themselves, and fastened securely into a stroller.
What’s your oldest child’s attitude to walking?
Are they capable of walking faster than a snail? This might not be a problem if your aim in venturing outside is to meander around without a care in the world. In this case, you might well have the time to take half an hour to travel a distance that would ordinarily take five minutes. However, when you are already running late for an important engagement, and you spot the bus that comes once every 40 minutes approaching the bus stop—matching your pace to that of a preoccupied toddler might be inadequate.
So there you have it: a detailed answer to the question of whether or not you need a double stroller. In short… it depends.