How to Choose the Best Travel System Stroller in 5 Easy Steps
As a new parent, there are many purchases that you will make to ensure that your life is easier and your baby is happy. One of the smartest purchases that you can make for your new bundle of joy is the best travel system stroller. You may not be familiar with them… Well, they can be a lifesaver!
What are some things to consider before buying? How will you know what to look for in a travel system stroller? What are some things you might want to avoid in your set? There are five easy steps which we will go over, that will help you choose just the right set for you.
What is a Travel System Stroller?
A travel system stroller is a stroller and car seat combo, with the car seat part of the combo being especially designed for newborns and babies of up to approx. 6 months old (this may vary from one manufacturer to the other).
The coordinating set is meant to be used together and you know that they will work smoothly. The car seat is easily moved between car and stroller while your baby slumbers on peacefully.
Newborn babies can sleep for as much as 16 hours a day (not all at once). The travel system stroller prevents having to wake your baby to move it from one place to another as you are out and about and it makes the transition simple for you, too.
When your little one falls asleep, the last thing that you want to do is wake them.
The complete set comes with a base that you place in your car. The car seat snaps out of the base with easy-to-use clips and snaps right into the matching stroller.
Why would you buy a Travel System Stroller?
Not waking your baby when you move them from place to place, is a pretty good reason already. Another reason to consider a travel system stroller is that a lot of strollers don’t provide the proper head and neck support that your tiny infant needs.
The infant car seat or capsule is designed to support your baby from newborn days until approximately 6 months old.
As your baby gets older, it will strengthen his neck, back and tummy mussels. He will also want to “see the world” and you can use the stroller alone, without the car seat attachment.
With the ease of shopping and the ease of use, travel system strollers are becoming more and more popular.
One other option that you might consider is a universal stroller frame. This is just a frame that you fasten your car seat on so you can take it along where you go. Although it is an inexpensive option, you will not be able to use it after your baby outgrows their infant car seat in a few months.
Baby Trend Snap N Go EX Universal Infant Car Seat Carrier: accepts Most: Chicco Key Fit 30, Combi Shuttle 33, Cosco, Evenflo Embrace, Graco Snugride 22 and 35 & Safe Seat 32, Maxi-Cosi Mico, Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 30, Safety 1st on Board 35
5 Steps to Choose the Best Travel System Stroller
1. Decide if you want to purchase a combo or separate pieces
There are three pieces to the combo: the car seat, the stroller, and the base that the car seat snaps into that stays in your car.
The pros to purchasing a stroller and car seat combo are that the pieces are all meant to work together already. You don’t have to do any shopping for each piece.
If you find a practical stroller or adorable car seat and you want to purchase them separately, be mindful that you will need to look for an adaptor. Always make sure the stroller and car seat you like are compatible or that an adaptor exists for them to work together.
An example would be the Maxi Cosi Infant Capsule and the Bugaboo range of strollers. Bugaboo strollers do not offer a travel systme option. However, if the Maxi Cosi car seat is purchased separate, Bugaboo sells adaptors to put them together.
Maxi Cosi Infant Car Seat or Capsule
Bugaboo Bee Stroller Adaptors that go with the Maxi Cosi baby seat
Bugaboo Bee Stroller
This is how they look together. However, the stroller seat can stay in place. There is no need to remove it (only recline the seat) and they fit perfectly.
2. Choose your car seat first
The car seat is of utmost importance. Consider a few things before making your decision:
- Does it have the five-point safety harness?
- What is the weight of the car seat? Is it lightweight?
- Is it easy to carry? There are many ergonomic car seat carrying handles. The ones that allow for a natural grip are preferred.
- Does it have a canopy? Canopies are one of the most used features of a car seat. They are not only nice for keeping bright sunlight out of your baby’s face but they are an important safety feature. Babies can sunburn and windburn quickly and the canopy keeps them protected.
- Is it noisy when getting in and out of the base? Having a car seat/base combo that clicks noisily may not be ideal. Every time you transition from car to stroller or vice versa, the loud CLICK may disturbs your infant’s sleep.
- Can it be installed without the base to make moving between vehicles easier? Most car seats can be used without the base as they have something called the LATCH system. This makes them safe to use without the base. Make sure your car has this system, too.
What is the Latch System?
Installing a car seat with the seat belt alone can be safe if done correctly. The problem is that it can be complicated. The LATCH system is an alternative to securing the car seat with a seat belt.
Look for two metal anchor points built into your vehicle near the seat belt clips. These are the anchors that the car seat clips will hook to.
When shopping for your infant car seat, look for ones that have metal clips attached or that are suitable for this system. Those metal clips will secure to the car making installation easy. A similar system is used in European vehicles known as ISOFIX. It has an additional third clip that anchors overhead or a support leg.
There are a variety of strollers from lightweight to full-size with lots of bonus features, to jogging strollers. The main things to consider when choosing your stroller are:
- Does it fold up easily? A one-hand fold-up is practical when you have your hands busy with your baby.
- Does it fit in my car? Some seats are wider and won’t fit well in tight areas like third seats of an SUV.
- Is it heavy or bulky? Heavy seats can make for long days when you are carrying your baby around a lot but they can also be well-built and sturdy.
- Does it steer well? The best travel system strollers can turn on a dime; to fit easily between the racks of clothing at your favourite mall.
- Consider the size and weight of the stroller. This is totally up to you and your preferences. It is always best to trial the strollers before you make a decision. If your stroller is heavy or bulky it can make all of your travel time harder. In that case, you may prefer models that boast “lightweight” and “compact”.
- If durability is more important to you than weight, then you will want to look for something that seems well-made and will stand the test of time. In this case a sturdy stroller may be preferable.
Are you looking for the best lightweight stroller?Check out our article on Best Lightweight Strollers for Air Travel to view our selection of top Amazon light weight strollers.
- Check if the stroller you like locks into place after you fold it away. This keeps the stroller from popping back into open position while you struggle to get them into the car.
- Make sure that it is easy to use. With all that you have to do, the last thing you want to be thinking about is ‘How did this thing work?’ while you jiggle the handle, resulting in waking your baby.
- How does it manoeuvre? Depending on your use, you might want to think about steering. If you are indoors, it is important to be able to maneuvre easily in tight places. If you are outdoors in wide open spaces, this won’t be as much of a concern.
- Wheel size is another consideration. Some strollers have small wheels, ideal for city life and others feature larger, or even tyre like wheels that some people would struggle to fit into a small elevator or car. However, bigger wheels are better for all terrain use.
- As your baby gets older and you move on to using the stroller without the car seat, one of the handiest features to look for is a full reclining option. This is great when your toddler falls asleep. They can recline and get their nap in while you run errands or maybe even sneak in some Mom shopping.
4. Decide on your budget
While the average cost of a top rated travel system stroller is $400, the options range from $100-$800 or more. After you’ve considered some of your favourites, budget will always narrow it down for you.
The lightweight strollers are more affordable with the full-featured ones having the heftiest price tag. Deciding how much use this stroller will get can help you choose a budget.
If you like an infant travel system that is over your set budget, do not despair. Consider that if you are planning to have more than one baby, you can use the same travel system stroller. In that case the extra investment may be worth a good quality product that will last for long time.
There are always priorities in everyone’s baby gear lists, so if a travel system is one for you, another option is to compromise on another baby items which rank lower in your priority list. You may even be able to borrow some other items from a friend or buy second hand (when it is safe to do so).
As a third alternative, which may not work for everyone, but it is still an option: when close friends and relatives ask you what you need or want for your new baby, you can politely ask them to contribute in any way they can to fund part of your travel system stroller. This could be your baby shower present!
5. Choose the features that are important to you
From cup holders to canopies with UV protection, the features to consider are mind boggling. Think about what features might be important to you:
- Does it have a peek-a-boo window? This allows you to check in on your baby without stopping to go around to their side.
- Do you spend time outdoors or inside more? You might want all-terrain tires or a compact design.
- Do you want an adjustable-height handle? How tall is your partner? Will you need one of these?
- Maybe you want a snack tray for your toddler or a cell phone tray for yourself.
- How much storage will you need? Do you travel light or are you a mom that plans for anything? Look at the amount of storage available.
- Design and colour scheme: Buy something you like and you are happy with. You can choose from a variety of colours and you can pick from sleek, or pretty, flashy or something that blends in.
Before we finish there are some safety considerations that we would like to bring to your attention.
Remember Always that Safety comes First
Infants should not spend long periods of time in a car seat. This is based on a study from the University of Southhampton in UK funded by the Lullaby Trust, that assessed the physiological response of infants to car seats.
This study is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which advises that infant car seats should not be used as a sleep environment on a frequent basis. Although more research is required in this field to provide clear guidelines to parents as to how long their child can spend in a car seats. Francine Bates, Chief Executive from the Lullaby Trust recommends families travelling with young children to take regular breaks and never leave their babies in car seats for long periods of time.
It is recommended that children travel in a rear facing car seats until they are 2 years of age or they reach the maximum weight and height for the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Finally, It is not recommended to buy used or second hand car seats because you do not know the history of the seat. Car seats that have been involved in car accidents are no longer safe to use as the integrity of the seat may have been compromised.
To end… ENJOY YOUR TIME TOGETHER
With these few steps, choosing the best travel system stroller for you and your baby can be quite simple.
- Decide if you want to purchase a combo or separate pieces
- Choose your car seat first
- Choose your stroller second
- Decide your budget
- Choose what features that are important to you
- Decide if you need something lighter or sturdier
- Remember, safety first
Make the best of your time with your baby while travelling. Let us know about your experiences in choosing the best travel system stroller for you and your baby, and leave us a comment. This time flies, so enjoy every minute!
Are you ready to choose the Best Baby Travel System Stroller out there?Check out our Top 5 selected Amazon Best Seller Reviews and find the travel system that suits your family.
Have you enjoyed this feature? leave us a comment!