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How To Pick A Stroller And CarSeat

How To Pick A Stroller And CarSeat
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It is sometimes a task for parents to pick a stroller and carseat for their baby or to find a suitable combination of both. Buying a car stroller means that it is now easier to move your baby from your car to a stroller without stress and vice versa.

A Stroller And Car Seat
Photo Credits: ndingler, Flickr.com

Getting a compatible stroller for a car seat is a must-have if you intend to make it easier for you and your baby to go places together.

If your baby is below 6 months old, your options for a car stroller might be limited since the neck muscles are not yet strong and fit for sitting upright. At this point, you may need to get a bassinet. Alternatively, a baby car seat can be attached to the car stroller to make it adaptable to the baby.

If your baby is above 6 months, the purchase of any type of car seat and stroller is not out of place.

If you prefer learning by video, this article is also explained here.

Types of Car Seat Strollers

Video: Best Stroller and Car Seat Combos

This video will show you the best compatible strollers and car seats for your baby.

Some strollers are already built for use in cars and therefore have car adapters. Depending on your goals and needs, you can choose from the following frame strollers since they already have car attachment properties.

There are advantages to each of these types and their special attributes. They also have their disadvantages too. Some might also have features that you desire more than others. Take a look at these:

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Strollers Having Car Seat Adapters

Strollers and jogging strollers alike are designed to be able to attach to a car seat. It is, therefore, a better option to choose a stroller that can also be attached to a car seat while you drive.

However, it is a good idea to choose a car seat fit for your baby first, before considering the purchase of a stroller. This is because it is best to use a car seat fit for a younger baby before they can ease into the use of the car stroller. 

Over time, the stroller can be introduced. It is also important to choose the stroller that has a click-in connection system since it has proven to be more secure.

Remember to always check your car seat stroller first before buying to make sure it is not too bulky and too large to fit in your car.

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Strollers with Car Seat Frame

This type of stroller depends on the baby car seat stroller to carry a baby.  They also allow light and closely packed wheels to be attached to it. However, strollers with car seat frames have a short lifespan as they can only work if the infant can sit in the baby car seat.

Nevertheless, they are very convenient to use. This is because they can be folded easily, very light and compact sized. Hence, they can be stored however you choose.

Another advantage of this type of stroller is the fact that they do not depreciate. So, you can resell them when your baby overgrows them. You won’t have to worry about the compatibility of a car seat and your stroller particularly because you’ll use your stroller for about 3 years or above. 

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Travel Systems

They have a baby car seat and stroller all in a set. Although most are fairly cheap and easy to use, they do not have the needed features and quality. Most parents end up with this product and regret buying it because of some of the components. 

These features can be bought separately and so we advise you get them separately instead of purchasing the travel system strollers.

Baby Carrier

This is another alternative for parents. During the first six months, some skip the baby stroller for a baby carrier. Transporting your baby in a baby stroller is good for you and your baby. For a fact, babies love them as they can snuggle bringing pleasure for the parent as well.

It is a good choice for babies, and they are quite comfortable for you and your infant. Furthermore, they are cheaper than most strollers.

Note:

When your infant is awake or under observation, it is important that they have sufficient tummy time. Excessive usage of strollers, car seats and baby carriers can lead to a medical condition known as Positional Plagiocephaly syndrome (flat head).

Also, your baby shouldn’t be allowed to sleep in them often. This is because a routine sleep in them can put your baby in positions where they stand the risk of airway obstruction or suffocation.

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Infants Car Seats

There are 2 types of infants’ car seats. They are both safe for use. The type you choose is dependent on your preferences and needs. They include:

Car Seat for Infant Only

This type of car seats are the best for an infant until the baby’s head lies within 1” of the baby car seat top or he weighs 20-22 pounds. They are usually lightweight and very portable.

Most parents love to use infant carriers. Because they can easily remove the seat from their car without unstrapping and waking their sleeping baby in the process.

The base of the baby car seat remains fastened into the car while the infant carrier can snap in/out of it. Also, the infant-only car seats are convenient since they can simply click-in to the stroller base. 

When getting an infant car seat carrier, always make sure you get a product or model that is adaptable with your baby stroller.

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Convertible Car Seat

This type of car seat can be used for a newborn although the infant-only car seats are better fit for little babies. Ensure that you choose a type that is designed to face backward until your baby weighs 30 pounds at least. 

A convertible seat is a better choice if you need a car seat that can be used for years since you can install them either as forward or rear-facing baby car seat. Additionally, most of them have limits for allowing kids to ride facing the rear for about 2years or above.

But they are not portable in design as they are fixed inside the car permanently.

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Toddler Car Seats

These car seats are designed for toddlers that have outgrown all requirements for rear-facing baby car seats. This time he needs the forward-facing type of car seats that has a harness until he gets to the weight and height limit.

Here are the options for your toddlers:

Forward-facing Only Car Seats

Most types can carry kids that are 65pounds or above. Make sure you read your current car seat product manual again to confirm the maximum weight and height specifications. The specifications for these parameters are not general for every car seat product or model.

Combination Car Seat

They work with harnesses until your child gets to 40 to 65pounds. After this period, the harness can be removed, and your car seat can be converted to the belt-positioning method or type. Kids that are 80 to 100 pounds can use this alongside your car’s shoulder/lap belt.

Preschoolers Car Seats

A belt-positioning booster is ideal for kids that outgrow the demand for forward-facing baby car seats that use a harness. These car seats suit kids of 80 to 100 pounds. Generally, a lot of kids require these boosters from when they are 3/4 years to age 8 at least.

Remember, that all kids require head support. So, use a booster that is high-back if your car’s backseat is low. You can use backless boosters if your car seat comes with a headrest.

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What Do You When You Get A Car Seat for Your Baby?

You should practice how to buckle the baby car seat into the back of the car before taking your kid on his first ride. Always make sure the straps of the harness fits closely on the body of your baby. For a newborn baby, make use of the harness positions at the bottom of the seat.

Keep the harness belts in the positions below or at your kid’s shoulder. You must make sure that the straps fit in rightly over the baby’s shoulders and in between your baby’s legs. Your baby should wear clothes that leave their legs free.

For more comfort and space, fold a few little blankets and fold them in between the baby’s head and shoulders on both sides. If your baby still falls down, place a folded diaper in between the baby legs at the back of the crotch harness strap. 

Note

Do not place thick cushioning behind or under the baby.

Methods of Attaching Car Seats

One major difference between different car seat products is the method of attaching the baby car seat to the stroller frame. There are 2 main methods of car seat attachment, they are:

Strap-In Methods

They use a strap or belt to hold the baby car seat. This strap is passed through the belt slot in the seat and fastened down to firmly secure it to the stroller frame.

It has more instructions to follow to attach the carrier which some caregivers do not follow through. This compromises the safety of your baby. Some attachment methods use both the strap and click-in which makes them a real hassle. 

We do not recommend such connection systems because they usually waste a lot of time.

Click-In Methods

They are designed to lock the stroller frame and seat together automatically when the baby car seat lowers into the stroller frame. This method of car seat attachment can be particularly managed with 1 hand. 

It gives out a loud click to let the user know that the connection has ended. The click-in method is reliable and fast.

How to Pick the Best Stroller and Car Seat? 

Deciding the best combination for your baby can be quite challenging. This is because it has a major role to play during 6 to 9 months life of your baby. For the remaining lifespan of the stroller usually from 3 years and above, you do not need a baby car seat.

So, you have to make a decision whether to get a good stroller you will use regularly for a long time or one specifically designed for 6 to 9months when babies need a baby car seat. These steps below will help you to make a good choice for your baby that suits your needs.

Step One: Choose A Car Seat

You must first consider a car seat that suits you before getting your baby stroller. Or have a list of a few unique car seats, you can then choose a stroller that is compatible with them.

Step Two: Get Click-In Attachment Compatible Strollers 

It is important to consider strollers that have features that allow you to attach your car seat easily to the frame of the carrier. We advise that you go for click-in options that are adaptable with your car seats. 

Some stroller models offer adaptability with lots of baby car seat models, but most of them depend on restraining belts or harnesses to fasten the car seat to your stroller frame. Companies that produce both stroller and car seats usually provide a click-in attachment that is compatible with their own product brands. 

However, they may utilize straps that can work with other stroller brands. These types do not offer any compatibility. Attachment methods can be difficult to know from the company’s website, so you must check the type of attachment very well, so you’ll be sure.

Examples of Strollers That Offer Click-In Compatible

If you are looking for a stroller frame that is click-in compatible with your car seat, there are limited options. But there are some exceptional ones.

The Chicco Keyfit Caddy and Chicco Shuttle offer great click-in attachment for the Chicco Fit2 and Chicco Keyfit 30. The good news is they do not require straps.

Other examples are the Graco SnugRider Elite that has easy click-in attachment. Then Baby Trend Snap N Go does not snap rather they require some fastening work that includes a net your stroller rests in.

Note:

After making a list of stroller options, ensure you consider other alternatives of carrying your baby with a baby carrier or using a stroller frame in the first 6 months of life. This will slow down your decision of getting a stroller for long term use for 6 months at least.

And it will help you to discover how you will use utilize your stroller. That way you won’t have to worry about the compatibility limitations of your car seat to your stroller choice. 

Getting stroller models without car seats will give you other options of products that work without car seat adapters such as umbrella, jogging, and full-sized strollers.

Step Three: Choose A Stroller Type (Full-Size, Frame, or Jogging Strollers)

When getting a stroller for your baby car seat, you should remember these things. Every parent has their preferences and reasons they want to get a particular stroller. For example, folded size, weight, accessories and so on.

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Full-Size or Standard Stroller

This is the best choice for new moms. They are lightweight, small and easy to use with a car seat over a long period of time. However, it is more expensive than frame strollers.

But we love the fact that if you find it meets your need and go for this stroller type, you will not need to get another stroller as you can use it for your newborn and all through the toddler age. Even for about 3 years or above.

An example of a full-size or standard stroller is the UPPAbaby Cruz which is compatible with most car seats and can be used for a very long time.

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Frame Strollers

This type of stroller is lightweight, small, compact and easily foldable packages that are suitable for use anywhere. They are also budget-friendly and can be resold. New parents will find it handy.

These strollers do not have the unique features of standard or full-sized strollers, and they are specially made for flat or smooth terrain. They are good for new mothers who have been restricted from lifting some things or doing some work. For example, new mothers who had a cesarean section.

Also, they are perfect for shopping and a casual evening stroll. The good news is, they are cheaper or more economical than most standard strollers. So, while you are trying to decide on what stroller you need, you can get a frame baby stroller.

But they must be changed when the baby outgrows them.  An example is the Chicco Shuttle stroller that is compatible with the Chicco Keyfit 30 car seat which clicks onto the stroller frame with ease.

Other examples of stroller that is related to frame strollers in functions and features are the Doona Combo stroller. It is a naked frame stroller that has a baby car seat attached to it permanently. They do not have storage and most of the convenient features of other standard strollers.

They are not cheap or lightweight as frame strollers, but they have a car seat. So, we can say the price of one Doona Combo stroller is almost the price of one Chicco Shuttle stroller and the compatible Chicco car seat.

If you regularly use the public transportation system, then this is a better choice as you would only need to carry one product compared to two (a stroller and a baby car seat) mentioned earlier.

Special features of Doona Combo are the brake system that is nicely placed. They are easy to use and has a color-coded sign. However, its canopy is small, so it doesn’t fully protect babies from direct sunlight.

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Jogging Strollers

This is because, before this age, babies cannot support their heads. But after this time, they come in handy. 

Jogging strollers are heavy or bulky, big when folded (not good for most storage options). As a result, they are not fit for carrying babies in the first 6 to 9 months. Furthermore, you cannot jog safely with your baby in them until they are about 12 to 18 months. 

Jogger strollers are unique, comfortable and can keep your baby safe while you jog. Standard strollers cannot do this. But jogging strollers can function as a standard stroller. An example of a jogging stroller is the BOB Revolution Flex stroller.

We advise that you get a frame stroller first for carrying your baby while you figure out your stroller needs. After about 6 months you can then decide on a particular stroller model that suits your needs. Instead of getting one and realizing you need another stroller to fit your needs. That’s quite expensive you know.

Note

When getting a jogging stroller, make sure they can be easily navigated and has a large storage basket to keep your valuables and your kid’s items.

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Step Four: Consider Other Features Like Storage and Maneuverability

As earlier stated, when your newborn is using a baby car seat, you may not need a stroller until their toddler years. During these years you must consider features like storage, maneuverability and other specifications that will meet your needs for a long time.

Strollers that are easy to navigate, have large storage baskets, accessories and so on.

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Tips for Getting A Baby Car Seat

These few tips will make it easy for you to choose a good car seat suitable for your baby.

Check Your Car Manual

This is the first and foremost thing to do. Make sure you read your car manual before you get a car seat. Some car seats use a seat belt or a latch system for attachment. When you check the car manual first, you will be able to know the type of car seat to buy based on the method of attachment.

You must know where the latch system attachments are inside your car. Sometimes, there is no latch system in the middle of the back seat. This is the best and safest spot for a baby.

Also, measure the back seat. This will help you know if there is enough space there for a baby car seat. A car seat with a big base may not be a good choice for your car. The narrow base will fit better in this case. 

Consider how many people will sit in the rear seat. How many kids do you’ve? How many are still using a car seat? Take note of the measurement. If possible, take the measuring tape when you go car seat shopping to measure the baby car seat base in the store.

Get A Car Seat That Is Easy to Clean

It is easy to wash a car seat that is made with smooth fabric. This is an added advantage and should not be overlooked.  Considering the fact that your car seat needs to be clean at all times.

Important features Count

Get a car seat that offers maximum safety for your baby for a smooth ride. Other features include the cushier fabric, adjustable handlebar at the back of the seat, anti-rebound attachment below the seat and so on.

Get A New Car Seat

It is important you get a new car seat to ensure the safety of your baby. A used baby car seat is not usually considered safe for use.  If you can not clarify if it has exceeded 6 years old, do not use it.

You must thoroughly check all car seats that have been used and ensure that they still have all the original components including product instruction manuals. Used car seat strollers can only be safe if they meet all the required safety standards. They should not be under recall.

Often, manufacturers improve the safety mechanism of car seats, it is better to get a new one rather than an already used model. Most of them have outdated safety system.

Choose A Car Seat That Has Installation Diagrams and Texts

Most car seat products have a manufacturer’s manuals. Make sure you follow the installation instructions. This will enable you to correctly install the baby car seat in your stroller for the maximum safety of your baby.

You can get a professional to check your work when you are done installing it. Or allow one to install it for you.

Convertible Car Seat Is an Option

New-borns use a convertible seat instead of a baby car seat. It can save your money since it can last throughout toddler years and it is safe for use.

The downside of the convertible car seat is that they are fixed permanently onto the seat of your car. Hence, it can not be taken in or out of your car like the infant car seat option.

Final Words

Choosing the best stroller and car seat combination can be more difficult than other products you will buy for your baby. It is very important that you pick a car seat for your baby first before you get a stroller. 

The safety of your baby is essential and getting the correct car seat that is easy to fix or attach should be your goal. There are different strollers that are compatible with most car seats. 

We hope you found this article helpful in your search and that it helps you to make a good choice that suits your needs and your baby’s. 

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