A travel system, or car seat and stroller combo, is a must-have for many new parents. In a world of uncertainty, it’s nice to have two of your most important purchases knocked out in one blow. Here’s how to master the art of buying the right travel system for your family.
Keep It Simple
One approach is to purchase something that is safe and affordable just to get you through the young stages of your baby’s life. Then as you learn your individual family’s needs, you can grow into a pricier system for the long term. With most travel systems, the car seats are made for infants, so keep in mind that unless you have a convertible car seat, you’ll be purchasing new ones as the baby grows into toddlerhood.
Consider a Jogging Stroller Travel System
The biggest mistake I have made in buying baby gear has been not purchasing a jogging stroller and car seat combo. I originally thought that I didn’t want a jogging stroller, because I didn’t think I would ever jog with my baby. However, I quickly realized that buying a jogging stroller is much better for just every day walking. It is easier to push (doesn’t feel as heavy) and is a smoother ride. It also can go on any terrain.
Expensive Doesn’t Mean Safer
Every car seat must pass the same exact regulations and they all have to pass the same safety procedures. For example, a $300 system isn’t automatically safer than a $150 one. The reason that it is more expensive might have to do with the brand or the accessories that come along with the system. Some car seat may be more expensive due to comfort for your child, but they will all be equally safe.
Does It Fit in Your Car?
Don’t make the mistake of investing into a system, then finding out that it won’t fit into your small car. Many places will let you try out the car seat in your car on-site before taking it home. Getting familiar with the best car seats for small cars ahead of time can help you narrow down the endless options.
Check Weight Limit on Car Seat
Most travel systems will come with Stage 1 car seat, which is typically forward-facing only. They commonly have a weight limit of 5 to 20 lbs and will lack height adjustment. While this will be all you need for a while, being aware of these limits will help you plan your long-term travel system plan.
Convenience of Straps
Make sure before you commit to your car seat that you can tolerate the straps. Some straps are so inconvenient that it’ll drive you crazy each and every time you need to go somewhere. Better instead to know ahead of time you won’t be dealing with this sort of frustration, especially when you need to be able to get out the door and get on with your day quickly.
Most cars that were created past 2000 have latch systems built in, but some of them do not. First, check to see if your car is equipped with the latches in order to hook up your car seat. Second, you need to make sure that the car seat you purchase for your child has the latches in them. These latches are not only safer, but they are also much more convenient.
The best thing to do is to see what other moms have to say. Any manufacturer is going to make their travel system sound amazing, but the best people to trust are the customers. Moms are always trying to help other moms, so check the reviews before you purchase any of your travel system components.
About The Author:
Sarah is the writer (and brains) behind Baby Brain, a blog about baby gear and new mom life. Check out her recent post on best car seats for small cars. When she isn’t at her 9 to 5, she’s playing superhero with her baby girl and geeking out on Game of Thrones with her husband.