Worth Every Penny!
June 7, 2013
I first saw a Phil & Ted's inline stroller four years ago, just after I had my second child. I wanted one then, but could not justify the price tag. Instead, I purchased an Inglesina Twin Swift double stroller (a side-by-side, umbrella type) from a Craigslist seller. That stroller has lasted to date, but our family's needs have changed with the addition of a third and fourth child.
I entered the market of double strollers again last fall when pregnant with my fourth child. My third child is wheelchair-bound and has cancer, meaning weekly trips to the hospital for chemo. I had no idea how I would tote a baby along on these day-long trips, being shuttled from (teeny, doctor's) room to room with a wheelchair and a baby (in the infant carrier/car seat? in an Ergo?) Finally, it came to me (in the middle of the night, of course) - I needed a Phil & Teds. These are the most inline, narrow strollers that I could remember, and they also seem to offer enough support for my special needs child. I knew it just might be my salvation in this scenario.
I did a ton of research on almost every model. Most issues that people cited were the lack of a cupholder (boo hoo) and the tires popping. For my purposes, the stroller has been wonderful. One thing that is unique to this stroller and an absolute "must" for my wheelchair-bound daughter is the back support. This daughter rides up front in the main seat, and the back to this seat is a firm plastic (with nice, durable padding on top). Though she cannot walk, this chair is comfortable enough for her to spend the day in while we are at the hospital. (Or at the amusement park, museum, etc.)
I have been using this stroller with the doubles kit for seven months now. When the baby was born, I attached the doubles kit to the top of the stroller, putting my older child up there, while fully-reclining the main seat and laying the infant in the bassinet-like pocket underneath. This worked well till the baby reached 2.5 months old. (Though, it was always a bit difficult to pull her out of there; I never could master that.) At that point, I put the doubles kit down underneath the main seat, as is usually shown. This position would not have worked at such a young age if the seat did not have the recline feature. She could not yet hold her head up well enough for long periods of time. So for the next few months, I put the baby back there always with the seat reclined. The only problem with this set up was getting that doubles kit off of the stroller every time I would fold the stroller up and put it in the car. Many times, I felt like I was wrestling an alligator! What I figured out to do is this: depress each button individually, with one hand on the button and one hand on the frame directly behind the button. Tug the frame while pressing down on the button AND pressing down toward the tires for resistance(with the brake on). Free one side, then the other. (I used to try to do it simultaneously.)
I bought an extra tire to have on hand should a tire pop, but I have used the stroller (on sidewalks, indoors, and on grassy surfaces and playgrounds) about 3 times/week for seven months and have had no issues to date.
One thing that has posed a small problem is that I have had the stroller almost tip over. This has happened when going down a curb while I have had only one hand on the stroller, placed in the middle of the handle bar. I believe that this has to do with the design of the Dot stroller. The selling point of this stroller is that it features the full-size frame on smaller tires, making the stroller just a bit smaller. I tried to recreate this tipping action on a friend's BOB stroller (bigger tires), but was unable to do so. I could be wrong, but I believe that the larger frame on these smaller tires could cause the stroller to tip more easily, in the scenario that I described above. I have simply been more mindful of this and try to keep both hands on the stroller, placed on the sides of the handlebar, at all times.
One other negative thing is that the recline feature on the doubles kit sometimes gets stuck. It is not always easy to do. And there is no way to adjust the sun shade for the doubles kit either. It snaps on, and so is either "on" or "off." There is not pulling it forward or pushing it back. Still, it's better than nothing.
The other model that I seriously considered was the Explorer. Even with the aforementioned, potential "tipping" issue, I do not regret my decision to get the Dot (mainly because of the recline feature of the doubles kit).
I also tried the Britax B-Ready stroller as an option, but it did not offer the bassinet style for the infant, and I could not lift my special needs child in and out of the lower seat. She has to ride up top. We also put her in the BOB jogging stroller for a day, but though she is only two and a half years old, she could not sit fully upright - it was too short.
In all, we are very pleased with this stroller. It meets all my needs and expectations and I could not possibly make our weekly chemo trips without it. Thank you, Phil & Ted!