I thought the three year age gap between BB and Little B would eliminate the need for a double buggy. I was wrong. Although BB will quite happily walk the couple of miles to Tesco and back, anything further and she (quite rightly) starts complaining, which given that we don’t have the car during the week and go everywhere on foot is making life rather tricky.
So when MadeForMums asked me to review Phil & Ted’s latest Dot double buggy (pictured), I jumped at the chance. The double-decker style forward-facing Dot is designed to hold two children from birth to five years old, with the younger on the bottom and the older on the top.
Marketed as Phil & Ted’s ‘most compact’ double pushchair to date, its 59cm wide slimline design makes it no wider than a standard stroller. And with a seat height of 65cms the Dot boasts one of the tallest seats on the market, although the main seat is rather snug and I would say there’s only limited growing room left. I’d be surprised if BB would fit into it when she’s five.
Conversely, the seat for the baby travelling underneath is really wide and generous and with an adjustable seat suitable from birth the baby can travel lying down or more upright.
It comes with straightforward picture instructions and shopping basket and double rain cover for £508 – £399 for the buggy itself, and £109 for the double seat kit.
With a sturdy frame and comfy, well-padded seats for two the Dot is surprisingly lightweight – even with both children on board it’s easier to push than both my Quinny Buzz and Quinny Zapp, which only take one child. Mounting curbs is also easy to accomplish, and the 10” air-filled wheels really absorb the bumps. The brake pedal is easy to lock and unlock, and the pushchair really isn’t going to go anywhere when locked, even when on a slope.
The fact the Dot can be easily adapted to either a single or double pushchair by simply removing the baby seat at the bottom is also a great feature, as you don’t necessarily have both children with you all the time.
Given the durability of the frame and seats I was disappointed with the sun canopy for the main seat – it’s flimsy and doesn’t sit flush with the frame, which means there are gaps all around the back of the hood which allow cold air and wind in. However, it does have a flip-out sun visor, which is a real bonus as we live on the sea front and often walk in bright sunshine.
I was even more disappointed with the ‘canopy’ for the baby seat – this has no frame at all and is simply a piece of material which fits around the seat. Given the engineering of the rest of the Dot I really think the canopies for both the main seat and the baby seat ought to be better quality. The fact the baby seat canopy doesn’t fold forward or back due to the absence of a frame also seems a massive oversight to me.
Of course being a need of a double buggy means you’re often doing things one handed while holding a baby in the other, hence the Dot’s ‘one-handed’ folding feature. A ‘pull and slide’ design allows the frame to be unlocked using just one hand, however I found a little bit of kicking at the front wheel with one foot is also required if you really want to collapse it with just one hand.
According to Phil & Ted’s the frame’s dimensions of just 76 x 26 x 59 cms when folded mean the pushchair can ‘fit in the smallest of car boots’, however it only fit into the back of our Peugeot 208 sideways, and with the parcel shelf taken out.
The adjustable handle is a clever design – with 9 different positions it offers multiple height options and can also be folded down and out of the way, which is particularly handy for public transport.
Although the front wheel offers both straight and swivel positions, I found the Dot really hard to manoeuvre when the front wheel was locked straight: the swivel function is definitely needed when you’re loaded down with two little ones and several bags of shopping.
Given you’ve got two children on board you’d think there’d be little room for shopping bags, but there’s ample space for two full supermarket carrier bags in the basket below the baby seat. It’s worth bearing in mind though that if you’re taking the rain cover with you that will take up some space in the shopping basket.
While there’s no doubt this buggy has some great features, I don’t think it’s for us because although we need something, BB will outgrow it quite quickly so it wouldn’t be worth the investment. But if you’ve got a two year old and a new baby, great.
My verdict: 4/5.
To see my full MadeForMums review click here