Whatever you call them – we call them prams – there are a surprising number of different ones on the market that can carry three babies. The trouble is, out of necessity I suppose, they’re all pretty big. So big, in fact, that as far as we could work out not a single one of them would fit inside the boot of our 2016 Toyota Prius.
Despite not having the prams physically to hand, we steadily discounted each one we came across by using the measurements published by retailers and manufacturers. It was a frustrating experience as a couple of models were within a few centimetres of fitting.
We desperately needed to find a solution. Do we trade-in the Prius and buy a people carrier? Could we afford one? Is leasing an option? Does one even exist that could carry a large pram? Maybe we could somehow strap a pram to the roof or the rear of our car? Are there any other cars in our price range with larger boots? Do we really want the hassle of buying a new car right now?
Each possibility seemed as unpalatable as the last. In particular, the thought of having to negotiate with car dealers and the bank, a mere six months after we’d just gone through it all, was more than we could bear.
I did actually have a chat with a Toyota dealer but only because I’d visited for a service issue with my current car. I was spotted by a salesman as I was killing time opening and closing car doors on the showroom floor, so I decided I might as well kill time doing something useful instead. It turns out that Toyota only have two vehicles in the Belgian market that can carry three ISOFIX seats – the Grand Prius+ and the Proace Verso. The former sacrificed boot space in order to fit an extra row of passenger seats, ruling it out instantly, and the latter was aimed at the executive home-to-airport shuttle market, though could, for a price well beyond our means, be set up to cater for our needs.
We weren’t emotionally tied to the Toyota brand but had assumed most other brands would have similar offerings. We therefore didn’t explore the possibility of replacing our car any further, but instead became more determined to find a pram that would fit. I looked further afield, at the US market in particular, but if anything, the models there were bigger still.
My wife found an Eastern European manufacturer – Polish if memory servers – that had at one time made a triplets pram but which was now out of production. Finding the measurements of it in collapsed form proved impossible, which was especially frustrating as there were quite a few available on Ebay. I decided not to waste cash on the off chance it would work out. Another Eastern European manufacturer did still have a current model on offer, but again, this didn’t quite fit in the boot of the Prius.
We were getting desperate!
At some point, and I don’t remember if it was my wife or I that said it, one of us remarked that it would look really silly if we had to take just one of the babies to the doctor’s surgery or to the hospital, and all we had was a three-seat pram.
That’s when it dawned on us. Within a week we’d purchased a two-seat and a one-seat from Amazon. It seemed so obvious. Both together fitted comfortably in our boot with ample room left over for all the other stuff that we needed to cart everywhere. And we saved a fortune as well. All of the three-seat prams came in at around €1,000 apiece, a significant chunk of our “buy everything we need for the babies” fund, but these two prams had cost us less than €300 combined.
We will, soon enough, need to take another look at this problem. So far we’ve always had the luxury of having two people on hand, one for each pram, but that won’t always be the case. My wife has purchased one of those rucksack-type contraptions that enables you to easily carry a baby about your person, but I think the novelty of having to wear that while pushing a double pram will wear thin pretty quickly.
At least when we come to consider swapping our car, or do another sweep for suitable three-seat prams, we’ll be in a much better place emotionally and financially. And – hopefully – we’ll be talking about toddlers instead of babies, which should increase our options.
It just wasn’t the right time before for a complicated solution.