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- An introduction to sit and stand strollers
- Best sit and stand strollers:
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An introduction to sit and stand strollersSo far we have looked at double strollers that are suitable for twins or babies born within a year or two of one another. But what if you have an age gap larger than this? Let’s say 3-5 years? (a difficult age gap when it comes to double strollers).
A sit and stand stroller is just the thing you need to get kids with an age gap from A to B.
Why are they called sit and stands?
Pretty simple, huh?
At a glance it is easy to confuse a sit and stand with a regular tandem stroller. Located at the front is a regular stroller seat that can also take an infant car seat.
Moving to the rear of the sit and stand you will notice a standing platform/small bench for your older child who is tired of walking and wants to tag along for the ride. Despite the name, the older child can also ride seated (but sit and sit just sounds weird
Size-wise, sit and stand strollers are narrow, lightweight-ish (they are missing that extra seat after all) and can be hauled in and out of the car fairly easily (compared to other double strollers).
The benefits of sit and stand strollers
In addition to carrying children born years apart, sit and stands have other advantages including:
Older child remains independent
Once your child can walk there is little chance that you will be able to strap him into his stroller seat. And who can blame him? Independence rocks!
A sit and stand allows older kids walk along side you… Until the predictable happens. Give it time. Your little one will get tired and start to lag behind. Little legs can only take you so far!
At this point he will absolutely love being able to hitch a ride with his younger brother or sister. This is a huge benefit to any impatient parent as aslow walking toddler can make it take much, much longer for you to reach your destination.
Keep both your kids together
As a mom, I sometimes feel like a cattle herder trying to keep my kids together while out in public. I honestly believe a lasso would be the ultimate weapon for rounding up kids. Unfortunately for me, Child Protective Services disagrees with this theory. Fortunately a sit and stand is the next best thing to a lasso, and it won’t give your kids rope burn.
There are times when I was not comfortable with my eldest walking alongside me and his baby sister (even though he was perfectly capable). You know, on crowded sidewalks or through a busy shopping center. My eldest could easily get distracted while I would keep walking
When this happened I would simply tell the eldest that it was ride time and he would scoot on up, keeping both of my kids together an easy to manage. And avoiding the mini heart attacks that accompany the thought of losing a child.
A large storage basket
Without the second seat it can be easy to forget that you are pushing a double stroller. The easiest way to be reminded of this is to take a look at the storage basket. Like with most other doubles, the storage basket under sit and stands are generally large and spacious.
I don’t have to go into this point any further. If you have kids, you will know just how much gear you need to take with you. Anything that can help you lighten your load is like a gift from the heavens. Storage comes in handy on any outing.
But sit and stands aren’t perfect for everyone…
The disadvantages of sit and stands
There are some common complaints about sit and stands including:
Cant handle rough terrain
I hope you like walking on concrete.
With smaller sized wheels and not a whole lot of suspension, sit and stands are going to be a struggle to push off road (especially when weighed down with two heavy kids).
This isn’t a big deal if you are a city dweller as chances are you will only come across concreted sidewalks and the smoother surface of shopping center floors. Sit and stands handle these like a boss.
For those of you that walk frequently walk across rugged terrain like grass, gravel and the like; I wouldn’t recommend a sit and stand at all. You will be huffing, puffing and cursing the stroller Gods if you are brave enough (or silly enough) to take a sit and stand across any rougher surfaces.
Many parents overcome this obstacle by having both an all-terrain stroller and a tandem stroller and alternating between the two depending on their journey. Since sit and stands are not painfully expensive, buying one as a spare stroller can work quite well.
Not a whole lot of room for the elder child to sit
Sit and stands definitely favor your baby with the infant seat taking up the majority of the space on the stroller. This doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for your older child in the back, particularly if there is a big age gap between the two. While you probably wont notice this with your older child standing, it becomes brutally apparent when you need him to be seated.
If you need your older child to be seated for longer trips with an infant seat installed then the you are better off going with a sit and stand that has an optional full-sized second seat, or look at models where the infant seat sits at the rear of the sit and stand. You may also want to consider a standard tandem stroller.
This stage is only temporary mind you and once your youngest child is sitting in the front seat your older child will have more room available at the back.
No sun protection for standing child
While your little infant rides up front nicely shaded by the attached canopy, your older child will be sweating it out in the rear. If you live in exceptionally hot areas (looking at you, Arizona) then you will need to make sure your older child is wearing appropriate sun protection, otherwise he definitely will get cooked.
Isn’t that picture absolutely adorable? Too bad it couldn’t be further from the truth, well for my family anyway.
I find that my kids being close together is a ticking time bomb. It’s all fun and laughter until suddenly:
All of a sudden there is finger pointing, denial and more tears. The only solution is to separate them. If your kids constantly fight then chances are you will not want them as close as a sit and stand allows. Especially out in public! If there is one thing kids know how to do, it’s make a scene.
If your family is tight knit and gets along perfectly then you can disregard this downside. Also, pleeeeeease let me know your secret!
Best sit and stand strollers
This section will take a look at some of the best sit and stands that money can buy.
Economy Sit and stands – (Less than $150).
Surprisingly, all entry-level sit and stand strollers are quite similar right down to the price and weight.
Without question, the clear winner of the best economy sit and stand stroller is:
- MSRP: $139.99
- Standing Dimensions: 21.5″W x 49″L x 43″H
- Folded Dimensions: 21.5″W x 44″L x 13″H
- Weight: 26.5 lbs
It’s thanks to Baby Trend that Sit N Stands exist. They invented the Sit N Stand concept years ago and continue to produce many different models. Our pick of the bunch is the Sit N Stand Ultra, not only because it is Baby Trends cheapest Sit N Stand, but because it offers just about everything that the average parent will need.
The Sit N Stand Ultra allows you to carry up to 50lb in the front and 50lb in the rear before reaching the maximum weight limit. Since the average child doesn’t reach 50 lbs until 6 years of age, this sit and stand will be in use for quite some time!
Even fully loaded, the stroller is quite easy to push helped by some surprisingly decent suspension (for a basic sit and stand).
You even have the option of installing the infant car seat in the front or back
Placing the infant seat in the back allows you to interact with your baby while you walk (and laugh as your baby pulls funny faces) and allows your older child to sit comfortably in the front (although the front seat will be cramped for any child older than 3 years). This seating arrangement would be better suited for kids that that closer in age – like an infant and a 2 year old.
Once your oldest child is ready to use the sit and stand section at the rear, your infant can be moved to the front, either in a car seat or in the regular seat the infant seat has been outgrown. This good old switcheroo will keep your kids comfortable as they grow.
The child tray at the front of the stroller acts as a car seat adapter and accepts most of the major infant car seats, including:
- Baby Trend – 22 lbs & 30 lbs
- Graco – Snugride, Snugride 32, Safe Seat
- Evenflo – Embrace, Discovery
- Britax – Companion, Chaperone
- Safety 1st – On Board 35
Note: The Chicco 360 ONLY fits on the rear of this sit and stand (not front) but it reclines your baby too far back. Plus, you have to sacrifice standing room for your older child. Defeats the purpose of a sit and stand.
It is worth mentioning that some brands of infant seat will not fit underneath the front shade canopy. In this circumstance the canopy can be completely removed to give you some extra room. Since most infant car seats come with their own canopy this will hardly be an issue.
When using the regular front seat, a 5-point safety harness will prevent your little one from escaping the Sit N Stand while you are on the move. You can also lock your older child into the rear as well using the three-point safety harness on the platform seat. With both of your children trapped, you are now free to torture them with an out of tune version of “Let it go” (payback is a bitch).
The front seat can slightly recline to give your sleeping toddler a bit more comfort. One downside to the reclining seat is that it does eat into the space of the child sitting in the back. While this wont be a problem if your child is standing, it will definitely get tight back there if he is sitting.
If you want the option of a second full sized seat with canopy for your older child then baby trend also makes a regular tandem double stroller with two seats that also converts into a Sit N Stand. Perfect for kids closer in age, it is definitely worth checking out.
The stroller folds down flat for storage:.
Folding is easy enough to do with one hand, although latching it and lifting it with one hand is a different story. You will definitely have to place your infant down if you are on your own. When folded, the Sit N Stand fits in the trunk of a Honda Civic Sedan (12.5 cubic feet of trunk space, 2015 model), although there won’t be much room to spare.
Being a double stroller, the Sit N Stand Ultra is great on storage space. A parent tray located just below the handle (an absolute must on strollers) has a compartment with a lid for you to stash away your phone and keys, keeping them nearby to grab at a moments notice. Two cup holders sit either side of the storage tray allowing even the thirstiest of parents to bring along enough hydration while out with their kids.
Speaking of cup holders, the Sit N Stand Ultra has 5 in total. In addition to the two in the parent tray there is one in the snack tray (cannot be used if you are using an infant car seat) and two extras that can be moved between the front and back of the Sit N Stand.
Underneath the stroller is a large storage compartment with more than enough room to throw everything you could need to bring along on your day trip.
Baby Trend have put together this brief video that quickly covers the features of the Sit N Stand Ultra:
Pretty cool, huh?
It’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular sit and stands amongst parents. Cheap and feature packed.
The bottom line: – The Baby Trend Sit N Stand Ultra is the most versatile of the inexpensive Sit N Stands. While it is definitely better suited to children who are closer in age, If you don’t want to fork out the extra cash for the Joovy Caboose VaryLight (a near perfect sit and stand in my opinion), you will be hard pressed to buy a better sit and stand stroller than this.
If your kids are greater than 2.5 years apart then you are much better off going with the Joovy Caboose, (which is shorter and easier to maneuver).
– This is one stroller out of a whole range of Sit N Stands that Baby Trend Makes. You can check out the others here.
And now for the runner ups:
- MSRP: $149.99
- Standing Dimensions: 21.5″W x 42″L x 40.5″H
- Folded Dimensions: 21.5″W x 37″L x 15″H
- Weight: 26.5 lbs
Graco is currently updating the RoomFor2 to feature their newer Click Connect system (superseding the Classic Connect) – Due to be released at the end of August 2015.
But is it any good?
Their previous model was good enough to score second place in our list of entry level sit and stands. Once it has released I will update this section to give my thoughts as to whether or not it is a worthy sit and stand stroller
- MSRP: $149.99
- Standing Dimensions: 21.5″W x 37″L x 41.5″H
- Folded Dimensions: 21.5″W x 41.5″L x 10.5″H
- Weight: 27.9 lbs
The Standard Joovy Caboose (not to be confused with the Ultralight or Varylight) is another popular entry-level sit and stand. Like the Roomfor2, The Kaboose doesn’t allow you to put the infant car seat in the rear (while Baby Trend Ultra can)
By far the shortest entry level stroller (from front to back) the Joovy Kaboose doesn’t feel like a train when you push it. In fact, it is barely longer than a regular stroller (video here).
While this is much, much easier to steer than the sit and stands above, it definitely isn’t easier to steer than a single stroller I learned this the hard way trying to juggle the Joovy Kaboose and two children on the subway. It was amazing to use at the zoo though.
The front and rear weight limits are 45 lbs each. 5 lbs less than the Baby Trend Ultra. Included with the stroller is a Universal car seat attachment (with strap) that can accept most major car seats. The following have all been tested and confirmed to work by Joovy:
- Baby Trend – Flex-Loc
- Britax – B-safe, Chaperone, Companion, Romer BABY-SAFE
- Chicco – KeyFit, KeyFit 30
- Combi – Shuttle
- Britax – Companion, Chaperone
- Cybex – Aton
- Lamaze – Via
- Evenflo – Embrace
- Graco – Junior Baby, SnugRide, SnugRideR 32/35, Click Connect 40
- Maxi – Cosi Mico, Cabriofix, Prezi, Pebble
- Peg Perego – Primo Viaggio, SIP & SIP 30/30
- Safety 1st – Designer 22, onBoard 35/35 Air
But there is something that you need to be wary of with this Sit and Stand. When an infant car seat is installed, strapping your child into the 3-point harness located on the rear reveals something quite alarming: there is almost no sitting room for your older child. It’s seriously squashy, especially if your oldest is past the age of 2…
Check it out:
That is a lot of room that is stolen from your child in the back. Your oldest will very likely sit hunched over, which will get uncomfortable quickly. While your newborn will only be in the car seat for about 6 months (before transitioning to the regular seat), that is a long time for your older child to only be comfortable while standing.
You can remedy the situation purchasing the “Too” seat for this period of time. If you are considering this as a solution then I would argue that the added cost blows this out of the economy sit and stand tier and you should instead be considering a premium sit and stand.
But there is another problem with your older child sitting in the rear of the Caboose. And that is the foot brakes. Located right next to the foot rest on the rear of the sit and stand are little red levers. Pressing down on them locks the wheels.
After my oldest child watched me put the breaks on the sit and stand a couple of times he was more than happy to have a good go himself. Right when I was in the middle of pushing the darn stroller!
Seriously, check out how close they actually are to your child’s feet:
Fortunately it’s pretty easy for you to remove the wheel brakes, you don’t even need to bend over. You can simply kick them up and you are back on your merry way. I was able to get my toddler to kick the habit of playing with the breaks after reminding him a few times (sometimes a little too loudly).
As you can see, my major gripes come from the oldest child sitting down in this stroller. Funnily enough, if your child only stands at the back of the stroller then this sit and stand is exceptional. In fact, it is good to the point that this review would be completely different and it would almost completely good things I have to say about it.
As you would expect, a 5-point safety harness is found on the front seat to keep your little one safe and secure. The tray in front of the seat has two cup holders. And that is the only two cup holders you will find on the whole stroller.
And this brings me to my real other other gripe with the Joovy Caboose. If you want cup holders nearby for yourself, you will have to buy a parent console Which is sold separately. This seems like a major cash grab by Joovy, since both the Baby Trend and Graco sit and stands include parent consoles inside the box. You may not miss the cuo holders but as a parent who loves to keep bottles of water nearby, they were sorely missed.
The Joovy Kaboose is available in four different colors:
As always I recommend choosing black colored stroller. While it may not be as pretty to look at, you will be thankful when your little ones diaper leaks or he spills his juice all over the seat. Even if the mess does stain, it will hardly be visible on a darker colored stroller.
Other nice details include: Comfortable foam handles, reflective strapping for night walks, availability of a fitted rain shield cover ( sold separately)….But perhaps best of all, Joovy’s “call us if anything goes wrong” lifetime guarantee. If I can say just one thing about Joovy, it is that their customer service is outstanding. They know you have a choice when it comes to what brand of sit and stand you buy and will look after you very well if you buy theirs.
The Bottom Line: I know this review reads quite negatively but the Joovy Caboose is actually a great stroller if your older child only uses the stroller to stand. Sitting down it leaves a lot to be desired, but this is to be expected. To get the length shorter, something had to be removed. Unfortunately, that something was a comfortable bench seat for your older child, and I consider that to be quite important.
This is still he easiest to maneuver sit and stands that you will come across if you are spending less than $150. This combined with Joovy’s amazing customer service is a major reason why people love this sit and stand.
Now it’s time to take a look at the more expensive sit and stands available:
Best Premium Sit and Stand Strollers
Now it’s time to take a closer look at the more expensive sit and stands. To be honest, there is not a whole lot of choice but one stands out in particular:
- MSRP: $399
- Standing Dimensions (short): 24.25″W x 43.5″L x 42″H
- Standing Dimensions (extended): 24.25.5″W x 49.74″L x 42″H
- Folded Dimensions: 24.25″W x 50″L x 12.5″H
- Weight: 33.6 lbs
This is a different beast entirely. In fact, it’s pretty much the only sit and stand that I would truly consider to be called premium. The other models in this price range are little more than overpriced entry level models.
The Varylight can carry the most weight out of all the sit and stands reviewed, max of 55lbs front and 55lbs rear (that’s a whole lot of child). It can handle a little more terrain like rougher concrete due to its larger rear wheels and 4-wheel suspension system.
But the main draw of the VaryLight is it’s very unique feature. It can convert from a shorter more compact stroller to much more roomy sit and stand (similar to how a telescope extends).
In it’s compact form the VaryLight allows you to use the stroller even if you are only taking your youngest out for the day and offers much more maneuverability. While it definitely doesn’t feel as agile as a single stroller, it does a good job of imitating one considering it’s main appeal is the sit and stand feature.
Surprisingly, even in it’s most compact form, there is still enough room for your older child to stand on the back (Expand the stroller if you need sitting room).
While it may be difficult to see in the picture above, the stroller can actually extend an extra 6.25 inches. While that may not seem like much, it eliminates a major gripe of mine that is found on the other Joovy sit and stands, the lack of seating space for the passenger in the back, even when the front seat is fully reclined (although it’s still squashed when a infant seat is being used).
But it isn’t just the stroller that extends. You are going to love this:
That, my friends, is the storage basket underneath the VaryLight. When you extend the stroller, the storage basket extends with it.
But I already have too much storage on my stroller…
Said no parent ever. This is a feature that everyone can get behind!
Another one up that the Caboose VaryLight has on it’s competitors is the sheer number of seating positions that you have to choose from. Check ‘em out:
That’s 13 in total.
While there are some positions you probably won’t use (like the 2 infant car seats at once) it’s nice to have the option. Who doesn’t like choice?
Speaking of choice, the Joovy Varylight is available in numerous colors including Blue, grey, purple, red and silver (although it’s just the seat and canopy that change color).
As with the Baby Trend stroller mentioned above, the VaryLight gives you the option to either place your infant seat in the front OR back with your child facing you. If your children are closer in age then your older child will be able to comfortably sit in the front before being booted to the back when the youngest outgrows his infant seat.
Speaking of infant seat, rather than have a universal adaptor that uses a strap to hold the infant seat in place, the VaryLight sells separate adapters that are tailored to your specific brand of seat. The result is a much for snug and secure fit (and that’s definitely a good thing).
Adapters are available for the following infant seats:
- BOB B-Safe
- Britax B-Safe
- Cybex Aton
- Cybex Aton 2
- Cybex Aton Q
- Graco Snug Ride Classic Connect 35
- Graco Snug Ride Classic Connect 32
- Graco Snug Ride Click Connect 35
- Graco Snug Ride Click Connect 40
- Graco Snug Ride Click Connect 40
- Maxi-Cosi Mico
- Maxi-Cosi Mico AP
- Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP 30-30
- UPPAbaby MESA
Unfortunately, if your infant seat is on that list then you are going to have trouble installing it on this stroller. Hopefully you are reading this before you have bought your infant car seat. If so, buy one that fit’s this stroller.
But there are some drawbacks to this otherwise amazing stroller. Most noticeably when you fold it up:
Well, maybe not so much when you fold it up… More when you try and lift it. When I said that this was a beast of a stroller, I wasn’t kidding. This thing is heavy.
I am hardly what you would call strong but I can lift most strollers into a car with a good amount of heaving. I could not lift this one unassisted. If you are stronger than me (very likely) you will still have to put your infant down to get this in the car, it will be impossible to balance both your baby and lift this monstrosity.
In fact, I am confident that you could incorporate this stroller into your work out routine to get that perfect beach body you have been craving. Forget the abswing, or exerjerk or whatever phony gym equipment the talk shows are pushing, this thing will build muscle.
In my head it would look like this:If you have those days where you need to constantly lug your stroller in and out of your car (we have all had them) then you will probably want to invest in a second lighter stroller for such occasions. On the plus side the VaryLight does fit neatly into the back of a Honda Civic.
There is one more concern. The Joovy Caboose VaryLight does come with a learning curve. The stroller MUST be locked in either the fully extended or fully compressed position. If you do it half way (or don’t lock it in properly) then your stroller will very likely collapse halfway through your walk, resulting in owies and bruises for everyone.
I strongly recommend you practice shortening and lengthening the stroller as well as adjusting the rear of the front seat. These are the two adjustments that give parents the most problems. Some even report the stroller folding with their children inside. I was unable to replicate this problem with everything done correctly. Practice makes perfect.
Toe tappingly catchy. While the video may have been pretty light on information, it does give you a lovely visual guide as to how the VaryLight works.
The bottom line: If your looking for a sit and stand that come sin a range of color, can shrink right down, fits through doors, and handles rougher terrain (although not all terrain) then this is the sit and stand for you, if you can afford it.
Before we wrap up the guide, I thought I would quickly comment on the Joovy Caboose ultra light. It is a good example of a sit and stand stroller with entry level features priced in the ‘premium” range.
Joovy Caboose Ultralight Stroller
- MSRP: $249.99
- Standing Dimensions: 21.5″W x 41″L x 40.5″H
- Folded Dimensions: 21.5″W x 38″L x 10.5″H
- Weight: 22.1 lbs**
My sister bought the Caboose Ultralight after I had used the Standard Joovy Caboose. I’ll be honest: besides the larger canopy, I couldn’t tell the difference between the two, least of all determine what could possible justify dropping an extra hundred on it.
George definitely gave my Sister a judgmental look . You know, that judgmental look he gives you as if to say “This is what I am being spent on?”
Yeah, that one.
Anyway, I actually had to look online what the difference was between the Caboose Ultralight and the regular model. Turns out, not much:
3 position recline – One more position than the base model, same problem with eating up seating space the rear child as the standard model
Larger canopy – To be fair I quite like this feature and am jealous the standard model doesn’t have it. The larger canopy not only provides extra headroom and shade to the front passenger but also your older child sitting in the rear.
Parent Console – Sold as an optional add-on for the regular caboose, comes standard on the Ultralight. Nothing special.
Lighter Weight – One of the lightest sit and stand strollers on the market, made from lightweight, aircraft-grade aluminium ( I suppose planes do have to be light in order to fly).
**Also, you may have read other reviews that claim that this stroller is just 22 lbs. To put it nicely, this is a half truth. The 22 lbs is the base weight of the stroller. It does not include accessories (that come in the box) that you very likely will want to use, including:
- Canopy – 2.6 lbs
- Child tray -0.7 lbs
- Parent Organizer – 0.05 lbs
Add those to the base weight and you get 25.9 pounds. Not looking so “Ultralight” now, is it? Admittedly you can take all the accessories off and the base weight is what you would lift in and out of the car, which may be the difference between being able to pick the stroller up or not when you are on your own.
The bottom line: Not enough added value to justify the price difference between this and the basic Joovy Caboose.
As you can see, each and every sit and stand has its own flaws. How much of a deal breaker each of the flaws is will be entirely dependent on your personal situation (age of kids, size of kids, duration of trips etc.)
There is no “one best sit and stand” to suit everyone. You will need to do your own research to determine which one is most appropriate for your lifestyle.
Out of all of the Sit and stands I was most happy with the Baby Trend Ultra. While it definitely isn’t perfect, it contained the least amount of deal breakers for me at an affordable price. But if you really want a versatile do it all stroller then the Baby Trend Ultra
What is your recommendation for a good sit and stand stroller?
You know the drill guys. Leave me any questions, wisdom, love or hate in the comments section below. Stay awesome!