I’m a mom of four, with another on the way, and a home daycare provider for the last seven years. To say I’ve done a lot of research into large strollers would be a major understatement! I’ve owned multiple models, brands and sizes and each has its pros and cons. If you’re in the market for a large stroller, you have many options to consider. I’ve owned a Foundations Triple, a Foundations Quad, a six-passenger Bye-Bye Buggy and, finally, my pride and joy, a six to eight-passenger Runabout.
Foundations strollers definitely have their place in the market. They are relatively affordable and – their biggest plus – they fold up for storage. If you have no outside stroller storage, Foundations is the way to go. The downsides to these strollers are that they can be a bit heavy, and I struggled sometimes in the snow when it was fully loaded.
I was thrilled to own a six-passenger Bye-Bye Buggy (four-seater pictured). It turns very easily due to fully rotating front wheels and moves smoothly for its size. The weight (150 lbs before passengers) is a con for me, as is the limited storage space. The accessories (sun canopies, storage cover, and infant seat) can all be purchased separately.
Two years ago I had finally saved the funds to purchase a Runabout. I’m confident this amazing stroller will outlast my daycare career. The six to eight-seat model offers multiple seating arrangements, including being able to turn two seats backwards. The seats all have five-point harnesses and recline, so no need to purchase an additional infant seat. The large air-filled tires are the best by far in snow, and at eight months pregnant, I can push my stroller loaded with six toddlers with one hand.
The large storage basket is very useful, and I love the removable sun awning and rain shield. There is a learning curve with Runabout strollers; they are back-heavy, and so must be loaded from the front to avoid tipping backwards. Sharp turns require tilting the stroller onto its back wheels to pivot, which takes some getting used to. If you pop a tire, all four wheels easily pop off with the push of a button and replacement parts can be ordered through Quality Classrooms. The Runabout’s frame is one long metal piece, but it's still really light, and the easily removable seats, wheels, storage and awning offer flexibility when you're trying to cram it into your minivan to bring home.
With its larger price tag, a Runabout is obviously an investment in your childcare business. The brand’s superiority and flexibility, however, will make it the last stroller you will ever own. While the other strollers have their benefits and could work for other childcare centres, the Runabout is the stroller that fits my needs. I am looking forward to many years of daily use.
Written by Erin Rifkin, owner of a Reggio/Montessori daycare in Ontario