Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Radio Flyer Triple Play Wagon

I am frequently asked about strollers for triplets. For the first eight months, I almost exclusively used a double snap-n-go stroller and wore one in the Ergo. Even now at 15 months old, I use the double umbrella and Ergo at least once a week.

We spent nearly $400 on the Foundations Quad LX stroller. I thought I would use it a lot since Jackson was only two when the triplets were born. But by the time the trio could actually use the quad stroller (sitting unassisted), Jackson preferred to walk. I have literally wrestled the quad stroller to the ground, and even collapsed it with my children sitting inside of it. I've used it dozens of times, and have never gotten used to lifting the 84 lb metal frame in and out of the van. It's very difficult to maneuver on gravel or dirt and it's so wide that it barely fits through doorways. The wheels have to be completely straight and you have to be at the exact angle.

The highly coveted stroller among the triplet community is the Twin Valco stroller with a Joey seat attachment. Those two purchases retail for $800. Since they are very specific and a fairly new model, it's hard to find any used. I don't have any personal experience with this stroller, and never will due to the hefty price tag.

The one "stroller" that I have continuously used throughout the past 15 months is the Triple Play Wagon. With a retail price of $160, you can't beat the cost. It frequently goes on sale, so I wouldn't pay full price anyway. Here is a chronological recap of how I've made the wagon work over the past year.

By stuffing the middle with firm blankets, I made a traveling bed for the trio beginning at 6 weeks old.

Jackson could ride on one side, while the trio laid down on the other side.

Using firm stuffed animals, I could bottle prop the trio for feeding on the go. They ate many meals while Jack and I played in the park.

By 3 months old, I could prop the three of them up at a comfortable incline. I used a thick blanket or folded Jackson's nap mat to stuff in the middle.

I hate to include this, but we did have a minor catastrophe when the wheel fell off during a neighborhood walk. Lesson learned: make sure the wheels are properly assembled and the tiny red hubcap is on tight!

By five months old, I could prop James and Amelia up on one side and either lay Maddie down, heavily prop her on the opposite end, or wear her in the Ergo.

At six months old, they could just barely fit laying down.

Before we installed seat belts, only two could safely ride in the middle section. Notice the four cup holders. Unlike in a stroller, each child can reach their own cup.

My favorite thing about the wagon is the amount of cargo I can carry. No more backpacks or digging underneath seats to find something. The spacious bag easily holds the diaper bag, picnic bag, and ball or blanket. It closes with a buckle.

The back storage also folds up and buckles shut when it is not in use.

The wagon also fits in handicap bathroom stalls!
Once they could sit unassisted and Jesse installed the seat belts, I just fastened them in and used the wagon anywhere. I could barely see over the quad stroller so I really like being able to see each of the kids clearly.

I use the wagon indoors and outdoors. I've used the wagon in the library, airport, zoo, etc. It turns so smoothly and doesn't require a huge turn radius. It also fits very easily through doorways.

There is enough room right now where they don't kick one another.

Sometimes Jackson still squeezes in the middle of the wagon if he gets tired. He helps entertain the trio. Who knew the wagon could accommodate a three-year-old and three one-year-olds.

There is a canopy that attaches and provides adequate shade.

And apparently the wagon is comfortable enough to fall asleep in, since each of the babies have fallen asleep in it before.

In addition to the four cup holders inside the wagon, there are also two more on the outside. I use this for my keys, phone, and drink.

The wagon takes up most of the room in the back of the van, but so would any other stroller that could accommodate 3+ children. It is my preferred mode of transportation right now and more cost effective than any other stroller option for triplets.

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