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Double Strollers: Side-By-Side or Tandem

June 27, 2015
Tandem or Side By Side Stroller

Here’s a hint from the team at Gugu Guru.  If you’re pregnant with numero uno and you think you’ll have another baby in the next two years, select a stroller that allows you to add a second seat and converts to a tandem double.  Our favorite is the Baby Jogger City Select. Is the City Select inexpensive? No. But it will make up for that extra investment later on when you don’t have to buy a double stroller in the future and only need to get a second seat.

Now, if this is not your first baby OR you’re having twins, this means you’re probably ready to shop doubles now. When selecting a double stroller, you will have a choice between a side-by-side or tandem.  Which one is right for you and your children?  Here are our unbiased pros and cons for both styles from the team at Gugu Guru:

Side-By-Side

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Pros

  • Pushes and turns very easily because the weight of your two children is very centered between the two side-by-side seats.
  • Easy access to both kids in case you need to give bottles or snacks.
  • A side-by-side stroller is easier than a tandem to “jack up” to get up over curbs, etc., when babies get bigger/heavier.
  • Side-by-side strollers are more agile in terms of quick turns because they are less wide vertically. You can worry less about smacking into someone with the front seat of your stroller.
  • The side-by-side position gives an equal vantage point to both kids. There is no argument between them about who gets to sit in front or on the top.
  • Many side-by-side strollers are only about 4” wider than a tandem and most are ADA compliant, meaning they will fit wherever a wheel chair would need to fit.

Cons

  • Children will always be side-by-side so it’s less likely that they’ll engage with each other in the same way they would if they were facing each other.
  • They’re heavier and wider, making it much harder to navigate narrow passageways or any tight spaces.
  • They don’t fold up very easily, making travel and storage more difficult.
  • It’s harder to find a side-by-side model that will allow car seats to interchange with the seats.

 

Tandem

tandem

Pros

  • If you live in a small apartment or have limited storage space, the tandem will always be the way to go. Tandem strollers are narrower, making it much easier to navigate smaller elevators and doorways. They also fold more compactly than a double and take up less storage space.
  • If you want your children to interact with each other, certain models of tandems that allow reversal of the front seat – like the Baby Jogger City Select – are the best choice. Babies can face each other to talk or play patty cake.
  • Alternatively, if you don’t want your children to interact with each other, you can have them both face forward.
  • Some tandem models can also work as a travel system and will accommodate infant car seats in both seats.

Cons

  • You won’t be able to access the baby in the first seat easily, especially while you’re walking. You’ll have to stop what you’re doing and walk to the front of the stroller.
  • Baby in the front can feel like an eternity away. (However, there are some models of strollers – like the Baby Jogger City Select – that allow you to turn baby to face you, allowing mom a better vantage point and more security.)
  • Hard to “jack up” a tandem stroller to get up over curbs, etc., as babies grow and get heavier.
  • Turns are very wide vertically. If you have to make a quick turn onto a sidewalk or around a corner, you need to be incredibly careful not to smack into someone with the front stroller seat.
  • Be prepared for arguing about who gets to sit where when they get older.
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Discussion about this post

  1. George D. Perkins says:

    A very good value. It has all of the features I need in an inexpensive stroller for my visits with my 6 month old great grandson. He was comfortable and smiling as we wheeled him. It folded easily as stores well for the occasional visits. The tray in back easily held our sodas as we wandered the mall.

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