Deciding how to travel with a baby can be quite a daunting aspect for new parents. You want to be sure that the child is not only comfortable but also safe, and that the journey no matter how long or short will be a memorable one.
Should you get a car seat? A separate stroller or a combo of both? Making the right choice can be a bit overwhelming, especially since there are so many options available in the market today.
If you are shopping for a car seat then the best option is to look at a travel system that combines both a car seat and a stroller. The reason why a travel system is one of the best things to consider is it makes the transition from the car to the stroller a simple process without disturbing the baby. All you need to do is remove the car seat from the base in your car and attach it onto the stroller.
Further to this, it also reduces the strain on your body as you don’t have to be carrying an infant around the park or the zoo for a long period. A stroller will free up your hands to tend to other children or enjoy a snack. It will also provide you the space you need to store baby’s nappies, shopping bags or snacks.
When you get a travel system it will help save a bit of money too as you won’t have to spend separately for a car seat and a stroller. Children under six months will not be able to use a traditional stroller as they are incapable of sitting on their own, but a travel system does not have these constraints as it can be used right from birth until the child outgrows the stroller.
Types of travel systems available in the market
1. 3-wheel: Ideal for easy maneuverability through tight spaces like walking down streets, shopping or walking through building complexes.
2. 4-wheel: Heavy duty strollers that are easy to maneuver over a wide range of terrains. They require larger open spaces.
3. Jogger: Lightweight sturdy strollers that move quickly and can navigate bumpy terrain easily. Recommended for parents looking to get back into shape after having a baby.
4. Double or Tandem: As the name suggests, they can carry more than one child but can be tailored to suit your specific need.
Depending on your budget, the size of your family, and your lifestyle choose the one that best suits you. To narrow down your choices, and make buying easier, some of the best combo systems of 2019 are listed below.
Best baby car seat stroller combo
1. Chicco Viaro
This sporty 3 wheel model will be ideal for someone with an active lifestyle as the car seat and stroller which are on the lighter side, make switching between the car and stroller easy.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat which can hold infants from 4-30 pounds is very popular. The lightweight frame of the stroller with the double front wheel is fairly easy to maneuver and can be folded with one hand, which makes it great for airline travel.
2. Graco Fastaction Fold Sport Click Connect
This sporty 3 wheel model comes with the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 infant car seat which can hold infants from 4-35 pounds and a stroller which holds infants and children up to 50 pounds. The infant seat is highly rated, but the stroller too has an excellent feature of a one-second, one-handed fold which helps in making the transfer into the car super quick. This system is a great option for most families as it is quite affordable and performs well.
3. Baby Trend EZ Ride 5
This 3 wheel car seat stroller combo is great for someone with a tight budget. The fun looking travel system comes in a variety of prints and patterns and is great for flat terrain walking but can be a bit difficult to maneuver on loose or rough terrain. The stroller has a well-padded seat with multiple recline settings, a detachable head support pillow which can be used in the car seat too and many compartments.
4. Maxi-Cosi Zelia 5-in-1
This lightweight stroller is very popular with parents because of the trendy design, accessories and the way certain features are placed. Added to this, the 5-in-1 features make this a stand out buy. However, this stroller is not for someone with budget constraints as it is relatively expensive. The extra padding that can be added to the stroller and the premium self-wicking fabrics ensure that your baby will have a comfortable ride.
5. Evenflo Pivot Modular
This is a stroller which is high on safety and has 5 modes of use – a 2 option reversible carriage mode, a travel system, a frame stroller, and a toddler stroller. Despite these additional features, it is very lightweight and easy to maneuver or carry. Although the stroller is a little highly priced the safety features and good design make it a good buy. Also, the car seat is the highlight of this system.
6. Baby Trend Expedition Jogger
This is a great combo system for parents who are constantly on the go. Easy to assemble and fold up, the stroller can also be used as a carrier or a jogger. Baby Trend Expedition is a sturdy stroller with stylish features and easy maneuverability.
Convertible baby stroller for newborns
1. Baby Jogger City Mini GT Single Stroller
This medium priced model is a highly rated convertible stroller which can be used from birth with an infant car seat that clicks on easily. The compact, a flat fold is a great space saver and ideal for parents with a small car or small apartment. It is easy to maneuver and moves well on cobbled streets too. The large canopy protects baby from the elements. The City Mini is also a good long term investment as it can hold an older toddler too.
2. Bumbleride Indie All Terrain Stroller
This stroller is great for all types of terrain and moves as smoothly as some of the jogging strollers. The large vented canopy makes it a great option for summer. Another good feature about it is that it converts from an infant to a toddler stroller. Two options of the stroller are available for parents who want to use it for a newborn – an infant car seat or a bassinet which are sold separately. This stroller is not as popular as the rest because it is quite highly priced.
3. Cybex Balios S Stroller
The Cybex brand is renowned for designing strollers which are very fashionable and of high quality. They usually come with a heavy price tag but the Balio S is less expensive than the other Cybex strollers. Many seating options are available for this stroller which can be used from day one till the child is a toddler. The reversible seat, oversized canopy and flat recline make this a very convenient stroller to use.
4. UPPAbaby VISTA Stroller
This is one of the most high-end strollers in the market but the features that it has, like the option of expanding, make it worth the money. The convertible does not only grow with the child but can also expand to accommodate more children if you plan to have a bigger family. You could probably use the same stroller for two or even three kids. This easy to fold stroller has seating options that easily click onto the stroller and a reversible toddler seat.
5. Ergobaby 180 Reversible
One of the most popular convertible strollers, the Ergobaby 180 Reversible weighs only 20 pounds and is very convenient for everyday use. The stroller can be used right from birth if converted into a travel system with a compatible infant car seat from Chicco, Graco or Cybex. The unique feature of this stroller is the handlebar which is reversible. It folds easily with one hand so it’s not inconvenient when you’re carrying your little one on the other hand.
Doona baby car seat and stroller
Doona boasts of being the ‘world’s first infant car seat with a complete and fully integrated mobility solution.’ The company also refers to the Doona as the Next Generation Car Seat. This travel system is easy to convert from a stroller to the car. One only needs to squeeze the lever at the back of the car seat for it to be converted into a stroller or vice versa. The Doona car seat has a padded five-point harness for extra safety.
The handle of the stroller can be operated in four positions, upright, pushed back, extended out for the car seat mode or fully extended. The infant insert provides additional cushioning but even without the insert, the interior of the Doona is soft and comfortable for baby to nap in.
Storage features like an all-day bag, a smaller everyday bag or snap-on storage compartment can be purchased separately. At 16.2 pounds, the Doona is lightweight, sleek and modern.
Safety on the convertible stroller
When buying a convertible stroller, despite the comfort angle one must make sure not to compromise on the safety. A stroller that reclines is best for a newborn as the infant is unable to sit up or hold their head and needs head and back support. Jogging strollers are not recommended for babies under 6-8 months as they do not recline.
Experts advise against allowing a child to relax or sleep in the car seat for over two hours as sitting in the car seat for too long can cause a flat spot to develop at the back of the child’s head. Also, make sure that there are no sharp edges on the stroller and that the material used is sturdy.
Recommended Safety Features for a convertible stroller:
- Good brakes – Make sure that the stroller comes with user-friendly brakes which are difficult for your baby to reach.
- A Wide Base – If the base is wide there is a smaller likelihood of the stroller tipping over.
- A Secure Harness – This is probably the most important feature for safety. The 5-point system is the best feature for safety as the strap goes around the waist, between the legs, and over both shoulders. Also, you must make sure that the child cannot unlock the buckle.
- Single footrest – Even if you’re considering a side-by-side double stroller be sure to choose one that has a single footrest that extends across as small feet can get caught easily between separate footrests.
- Recalls – If you’re going in for a secondhand stroller do a little research on the model that you have decided on to make sure that it hasn’t been recalled.
There you go. All the essential information for a stroller combo with sound recommendations to start off with.