With the numerous styles of double buggies available in the market (tandem and side-by-side being the broadest categories), there’s another factor to consider: should baby face you or face forward? What this really boils down to is how a forward or rear facing double buggy can impact the development of the kids.
Although there’s copious amounts of research on rear facing and forwards facing car seats, the research on the same principles for double buggies is pretty limited.
We can, however, take some cues from the safety and developments of car seats that face forward and rear. The choice in a double buggy to face you or not also relies on the age of the kids, as well as their social and emotional needs.
Talking to your babies: Many times, it’s assumed that if the kids are facing you, then you’ll talk to them more. However, this tends to be limited to single buggy styles. It can be challenging to engage both kids who are facing you, regardless of their ages, and watch where you’re steering your double buggy.
If you are able to multitask and want to talk to both babies, a tandem style could benefit you. It puts both kids in the same line of sight and allows you to not worry about the width that you’re taking up with the buggy through doorways or narrower sidewalks. Many tandem styles, if they aren’t used for newborn carriers, can be used for one child who is older, and a newer arrival. If both seats are rear facing, the toddler may become bored, which can make the buggy ride an exercise in patience, instead of enjoyable.
A rear facing side-by-side style could be beneficial for kids who are older. The seating arrangement allows them to more easily connect with each other, if you need to focus more on where you’re headed directionally, or what you’re picking up in a store.
Forward facing in either of these styles can help with engaging in surroundings, however. Many times, walks are beneficial for some communication time. They are used as a way to relax and spend time together in a way that doesn’t involve screen time. Parents of older kids can converse with each other just as well in a forward facing double buggy, perhaps even better than a rear facing double buggy, because the kids can point things of interest out, and see more.
Safety: Just as rear facing is typically best in the car, the same reasoning can be applied to a double buggy. As it is usually used in motion, harsh stops could potentially cause a whiplash type of reaction in a forward facing double buggy. The theory is that, if a child’s seat is rear facing, the motion of a harsh stop won’t cause rapid head movement because the spine and head are better situated and protected. They won’t have to deal with the opposite force in direction.
This can also be attributed to age. The younger children are, the less developed their supportive muscles are for their necks and heads. This means that a rear facing buggy could probably be better. Naturally, you won’t be running nearly as fast as a vehicle, but in the event you have to stop suddenly, even a three to four mile per hour speed can hurt.
How to choose:
If your children are older, a rear facing double buggy might not be necessary. In addition, many double buggies, whether forward or rear facing, have the option for the seats to fully recline. This is more common in a side-by-side style, which features more room to do this, but tandem styles are becoming better at incorporating full recline options.
Sites such as https://doublebuggyreviews.com help to compare how the different features available for a double buggy might change depending on the need for rear or forward facing, and how they might impact kids of similar ages or differing ones. Doing plenty of research on the right style of double buggy, and the best direction that will meet the needs of you and the kids, will help to decide if you should invest in a rear or forward-facing double buggy.