No one needs more baby gear, right?! But if there is a product or a hack that makes this gig easier, were all for it. Thats why were falling hard for stroller wagons. Unlike most baby gear, these hybrid cribs-on-wheels will serve your family long after your kids can walk. Read on for the best reasons to invest in another stroller that even you can sit in.
1. You dont have to rush home for naptime.
For restless babies, a stroller wont cut it when it comes to mid-day snooze sessions. Belts are restricting for little bodies, and most strollers cant recline far enough back to mimic the comfort of a crib. A wagon lets your sleepy one curl up on the base of the unit for a deep slumber.
2. It holds multiple kids.
There is no need to head up a caravan of strollers when spending a day out and about. Whether you have a large family or a friend group of kids to tote around, the WonderFold X4 Wagon (retail: $399.99) or the School Bus (retail: $999) can hold up to 4 kids.
3. You can give your back a break.
If youre wearing all the babies (and carrying all the gear), take a break and let a wagon do the work. A stroller wagon has room for multiple babies to nap at once, and deep pockets for twice the diapers, wipes and bibs. Plus, the push/pull system makes maneuvering the unit easy on your core.
4. It folds flat.
If you have a double stroller, or even just a full-size stroller, youre intimately familiar with the lack of free trunk space you have once these monstrosities are loaded into your car. Stroller wagons usually fold flat and take up less space, leaving room for that cooler you want to tote in your can-do-all wagon.
photo: Chelsea Jean Photography
5. It can handle rough terrain.
If you find yourself carrying your stroller (and your child in the stroller) over grassy patches and rocky paths, consider a wagon that can handle off-roading, like the Veer Cruiser ($599) or the Evenflo Pivot Xplore All-Terrain Stroller Wagon ($349.99). Bring it to the beach, the park, the nature trail, wherever your adventures take you.
6. It can haul more than just kids.
An infant comes with an entourage of accessories: diapers, wipes, bottles, toys and more. Even the best strollers dont have a lot of storage room, and, frankly, were tired of carrying around half the house on our back. A wagon lets you tote all of the baby stuff along with anything you may need for the day. Going to an amusement park? Bring a cooler filled with food and drinks for the family. Headed to the beach? Pile all of the beach toys, chairs and boogie boards in these double-duty cribs-on-wheels. Some even have cupholders to carry your beverages.
7. Your big kids can use it too.
If you have an older child who still gets tired on all-day outings but is too leggy (and heavy) for a stroller, consider a wagon. While most strollers max out at 40 pounds, a stroller wagons seat can hold kids 50 pounds and up. Most top out at 65 pounds, but the overall capacity of these heavy-duty units starts at 100 pounds so even kids who no longer fit in seats can still take a rest.
8. Its easy to clean.
Strollers (and car seats, if were being honest) have way too many nooks and crannies. There isnt a vacuum with enough attachments to reach all the (very dirty) places. Due to the wagons boxy design, there are fewer hidden spaces for goldfish and raisins to hide. Some wagons have extra padding to make the utility design more comfortable, but these cushions can be tossed in the wash for easy cleaning. You can even hose down rugged models. Yes, you read that right: You can take your hose to the Keenz wagonsno spot cleaning here.
photo: Radio Flyer
9. It provides a place for adults to rest.
The 3-in-1 Tailgater Wagon by Radio Flyer ($149.99) features a drop-down side so anyone (yes, were looking at you, tired parents!) can grab a seat. Take this wagon to a sporting event or pull it along at your next outdoor adventure and youre guaranteed to have a dry, elevated seat for those who dont want to criss-cross applesauce on wet grass. Plus, theres a stow-away cooler caddy to hold a cooler, folding chairs and more.
10. Kids can self-board.
A carnival adventure or a day at the boardwalk means getting in (and out) of a stroller on repeat. Infants and toddlers need to be able to stand, balance and lift their body weight to climb into a stroller, but a wagon that has a zip-door entry lets anyone who can crawl self-board, making trips on the go easier and faster. Brands like Wonderfold make it easy for kids to enter the wagon on their own (but the zipper deters stealthy kiddos from exiting without some assistance).
11. It offers superior sun protection.
Wagons have canopies that stretch horizontally to cover the entire unit, which means your babys delicate skin isnt in direct sunlight. Some models, like theJeep Wrangler Stroller Wagon ($299), have pull-down shades for complete coverage, making them perfect for sunny strolls and wagon naps.
12. Its useful long after your kids have grown.
There will come a point when that sweet newborn will no longer fit in any sort of stroller, wagon or otherwise. But while a stroller serves no purpose once your kids can make it through an all-day adventure on their own two feet, the wagon lives on as the family mobile unit. From camping trips to picnics in the park, wagons are the Giving Tree of strollers. Kind of like wipes, youll wonder how you ever lived without one.
Meghan Yudes Meyers