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How to Choose a Car Seat

How to Choose a Car Seat 0

 

Did you know only about 20% of American parents install and use their car seat correctly? So the safest car seat is the one you can’t mess up on installation.

Since all new car seats pass strict federal safety regulations, how you use it matters waaaay more than which one you buy. Some car seats do over perform more on crash tests than others (more on that below). You’ll also want to consider how much you can spend, what will fit in your car, if it needs to fit in your stroller, and how the car seat grows with your kid. In this guide, we cover all that and more.

🚘 Finding the safest car seat

What makes a car seat safe?

  1. It is the right size for your child’s weight, height and age.
  2. It is installed tightly in your car (unable to move more than an inch side-to-side or front-to-back).
  3. The harness straps are positioned at or below baby’s shoulders and are tight enough that you can’t pinch the harness.
  4. The car seat is reclined to a safe angle so your baby’s head can’t fall forward.

Simple rules, but sometimes tricky to implement on the field! The best way to make sure your installation is safe is to find a Child Passenger Safety technician to check your work.

Be careful with used car seats. Look for its expiration date on the bottom and make sure it’s never been recalled. When in doubt, go new.

All star ✨ crash test performers!

When you look at crash test data, many seats have a higher safety margin than what is required. The best-performing seats are the Chicco Keyfit 30, the Nuna Pipa, and the Uppa Baby Mesa, with the Cybex Aton Q as a runner-up. (Wondering what’s up with those numbers at the end of the brand name? That refers to the maximum weight limit for your child to use the car seat).

Fun fact time! A car seat works similarly to a bike helmet with a rigid shell to resist impact, shock-absorbing hard foam filling, plus some softer padding on the inside for comfort. They reduce the risk of infant death by 71%. (For comparison, an adult’s seatbelt reduces their risk of death by half). Just imagine if you were riding inside a bike helmet that encircled your body… 👷 That’s what your baby’s doing. Yay safety!

Safety features to look for

  1. A 5-point harness: this is two shoulder straps, two waist straps, and a between-the-legs strap that all meet in a middle buckle. Five-point harnesses are safer than three-point harnesses because they spread the crash forces over more areas of the body. They also hold your baby in place, preventing them from wiggling into an unsafe position.

  2. Side-impact protection: In about a quarter of crashes, your car is hit from the side rather than the front. Currently, side impact protection is unregulated, so the National Highway Safety Administration is researching how to test side-impact protection and what laws should be passed. You definitely want something that advertises side-impact protection, but be skeptical of claims that one brand has “more” than another because there’s no objective testing standard yet.

  3. Easy harness adjustment: Having the harness fit your child perfectly makes the car seat MUCH safer for your child. If the harness is easy to adjust, you’ll probably do it more frequently.

All infant car seats must be rear facing by law (it’s five-times safer). The convertible car seats for older babies are called “convertible” because they can either be front or rear facing. However, the best convertible seats allow your child to stay rear facing for a longer period of time.

In most cars, the middle of the back seat is the safest spot for your car seat. However, if you’re dealing with two car seats or a small car, there might not be room in the middle. If you do have to put your child on the side, you can make them safer by using the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system, which is built into cars and car seats built after 2002. The two lower anchor points are found in the seat crack.

Car seats by age

An infant car seat is the light, portable kind that easily clips in and out of the car and stroller. The average baby outgrows them between 10-14 months old. (Exactly when depends both on your baby’s size and the height and weight limits on the specific car seat.) It is always rear-facing, the safest position for baby.

A convertible car seat can be used either from birth OR from when your baby outgrows the infant car seat. It’s too heavy to tote around on an everyday basis and won’t fit in a stroller.

A booster car seat is for when your kid outgrows their convertible car seat but isn’t tall enough to use an adult-sized seat belt. You’ll typically transition a kid to their booster car seat when they’re between 40 and 65 pounds. They’ll stop using it between the ages of ten and twelve.

When does your child legally graduate to a convertible or a booster? Laws vary from state to state so look up your specific regulations.

Infant car seats are sometimes advertised as having a high weight or height limit (meaning you can use the infant car seat longer). If you’re relying on cabs for transportation, springing for a roomy, long-lasting infant seat makes sense. It’s a huge pain to use a convertible car seat in a cab. If you have your own car, a roomy infant car seat matters a bit less. You’re going to have to switch at some point anyway.

Should you start with an infant or convertible seat?

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “If I just have to buy a convertible car seat ANYWAY when my baby gets bigger, why buy an infant car seat in the first place?” Well, an infant car seat is a handy-dandy portable device that can be put to good use inside and outside the car. The hefty convertible car seat is semi-permanently installed in the car.

Reasons to start with an infant car seat

  1. Babies under six months can’t sit up on their own, and only a few strollers out there have the ability to fully recline the seat. If you want to stroll with a newborn, you often HAVE to clip in an infant car seat (or bassinet).
  2. You can unclip and move your baby without interrupting a nap.
  3. During hot or really cold weather, you can store the infant car seat inside, so it’s always a comfortable temperature.
  4. Although infant car seats do click into bases, you can also install them using just a seat belt, making them easier to use in friend’s cars and cabs.
  5. Carrying the infant car seat around means your baby has a cozy place to snuggle up when you’re on the go. You can carry it into a store or restaurant with you, for example.

Reasons to start with a convertible car seat

  1. You have a philosophy of trying to limit the number of products you buy (minimalism, environmentalism, frugality, or what have you).
  2. You think your baby will be a light sleeper. (Particularly restless babies will wake up when you lift their car seat, even if you don’t take them out of it!)
  3. You’d rather wear your newborn in a carrier than carry a car seat or stroll them.
  4. A rear-facing convertible car seat can be safer than a rear-facing infant seat for babies approaching a year old. Having more head room makes it safer, because it reduces the chance of getting their head bumped.

Many car seat manufacturers specify is that a child is too tall for a car seat when the crown of their head is less than one inch from the top of the carrier shell (or when they exceed the height limits of the seat). However, in the crash tests conducted by consumer reports, a 12-month sized crash test dummy bumped its head way more often on the infant seats than the convertible seats. So infant seats become less than ideal when your child is close to outgrowing them. Whether you start with the infant or the convertible, you definitely want to upgrade to the convertible in a timely fashion!

How do most parents do it? Even though you can skip infant car seat and go right to convertible, more than 80% of parents still register for an infant car seat!

 

  • Adam Gift
  • Tags: Tech
Best Bug Sprays for Babies

Best Bug Sprays for Babies 0

No one likes getting bug bites. Even worse? Seeing your little one suffer from itchy, inflamed mosquito bites (or a latched-on tick!). And considering the horrible diseases that insects can transmit (Zika and West Nile virus and more from mosquitoes, and Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Fever from ticks) can drive you crazy with worry.

We put together a summary of the main bug repellent types and safe-use recommendations for babies, children, and pregnant women. Before your next jaunt outdoors, arm yourself with the anti-bug supplies you need to keep you and your family well.

Do you need bug spray?

Let’s put it this way. Do you want to wear long sleeves and long pants tucked into socks whenever you go outdoors, even during insanely hot weather? Yeah, we don’t either. Unless you live in an area largely free of disease-bearing, biting bugs, you need some.

What type of bug spray is best?

Insect repellents come in lotions, sprays, wipes, and balms, but there are three primary anti-bug ingredients that can be used on children.

DEET

This chemical has long been the favorite insect repellent of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the only one it recommends for combating ticks, but it is not without some controversy. Although DEET is an awesome defense against disease-carrying insects, it has, in very rare cases (think one in 100 million), caused adverse reactions in the nervous system. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendsusing formulations that contain 10% to 30% DEET (not to exceed 30%) on children. Babies two months or younger should not be exposed to DEET at all.

Note that the percentage of DEET in a product does not change the level of effectiveness. The higher the percentage though, the longer the anti-bug protections lasts. Ten percent DEET provides protection for about two hours, and 30% protects for about five hours. The AAP recommends you choose the lowest concentration that will provide the length of coverage your child needs or re-apply more regularly.

Picaridin

Similar to DEET, Picaridin is great at keeping bugs at bay, but doesn’t have any neurotoxicity issues. It also doesn’t have a strong smell like DEET, but still protects against both mosquitoes and ticks. The only downfall is that it hasn’t received as much long-term testing as DEET. A 10% concentration gets you three to eight hours of protection.

Botanicals

Many natural brands use essential oils to drive bugs away. Most essential oils haven’t undergone official testing for their repellent qualities. But there are two that have been proven effective. Catnip oil, at 7% and 15% concentrations, offers seven hours of mosquito protection. Citronella, at a 4.2% concentration, protects from mosquitoes and ticks for about an hour. While many parents report good results with botanical-based products, they often need to be reapplied more frequently, offer varying degrees of protection depending on type of mosquito, and, like any chemical, can cause an allergic reaction. It’s best to do a patch test on your baby first before applying the product all over.

Special Considerations

Newborns

For newborns ages two months and younger, the CDC recommends avoiding DEET and Picaridin products. Instead, you’ll need to rely on physical barriers like mosquito netting for strollers and carriers as well as long sleeves and pants.

Pregnant or Nursing

If you are pregnant or nursing, according to the CDC, you can still safely use DEET and Picaridin products on yourself.

Application on Babies

For babies two months and up, avoid applying insect repellent to their hands, since they often shove them in their mouths. Also, you’ll want to steer clear of putting it near their eyes or mouths or on any open cuts or scrapes.

Combo products

There are some sunscreen-and-repellent-in-one products on the market. Although it seems like a great idea, it’s not. Sunscreen needs to be reapplied more frequently than chemical bug repellents. By repeatedly slathering on a combo product, you’re exposing your child to more chemical repellent than is needed. Instead, apply a sunscreen and allow it to soak in and follow up with bug repellent. Reapply sunscreen as needed.

Phew, that’s quite a bit to digest! But if you’d like even more information, the Environmental Working Group has a comprehensive list of articles on using bug repellents on children.

Now that you’re up to speed, below are some bug repellents for you to consider that use various ingredients in their formulas. You may find that one of these popular picks works great for you and your family too.

HARDCORE DEFENSE

 

WHY WE LOVE IT

With 7% DEET, a proven safeguard against ticks and the types of mosquitos that transmit Zika and West Nile viruses, the Cutter Wipes are all about getting the job done. Plus, application is super easy since you can coat your child’s exposed skin with one wipe. The pack includes 15 wipes.

KEEP IN MIND

Since the percentage of DEET is so low, a new application will be needed in less than two hours. And don’t say we didn’t warn you that the product is kind of sticky and will definitely need to be washed off after coming inside

CONVENIENT & EFFECTIVE

WHY WE LOVE IT

Throw this resealable bag of eight bug repellent packets in your purse and chill at the next BBQ. Each packet contains a towelette and protects against mosquitoes, deer ticks, gnats, no-seeums, sand flies, and biting midges with 10% Picaridin.

KEEP IN MIND

You’ll only get eight uses from this product which makes it a pricier option. And, like DEET, Picaridin also needs to be washed off after use.

 

ORGANIC CHOICE

WHY WE LOVE IT

Relying on citronella to fend off mosquitoes and ticks, Honest Bug Spray is DEET- and Picaridin-free. Instead of synthetic or petroleum-based ingredients, the product contains organic essential oils like rosemary, lemongrass, and peppermint, and smells divine. The bonus? You don’t need to wash it off afterward.

KEEP IN MIND

We have mixed feelings about this product. Some parents report that it almost seems to attract mosquitoes while others rave about the effectiveness. What we know? If you hate feeling oily, you’re going to hate this spray. Another annoyance: You have to reapply it at least once an hour.

SOLID PROTECTION

WHY WE LOVE IT

This natural-based repellent can be slathered on the whole family to repel mosquitoes and stable flies. Very similar to the Honest Bug Spray formula, its primary anti-bug weapon is citronella. It also uses additional essential oils and smells great.

KEEP IN MIND

Again with the greasiness: the olive and castor oil balm lays like a thick coat on the skin. Even worse though are reports from multiple users that this product brought bees buzzing around.

 

NATURAL ANTI-BUG CHAMP

WHY WE LOVE IT

Usually hard to find, catnip essential oil is the main anti-bug ingredient in TerraShield along with other essential oils like lemon eucalyptus. It’s tops in keeping away mosquitoes and ticks in the all-natural category, and its Fruit-Loops-like smell is kind of addictive.

KEEP IN MIND

As far as all-natural formulations, TerraShield works well but is costly. Another downer: To ensure you’re actually getting the real deal, you need to order it from a doTERRA sales rep (it’s a direct-sales company).

Choosing What’s Right for You

Let’s face it: No repellent is 100% effective. You need to watch the clock and reapply as required and not miss a spot. If you live in an area where your child is at high-risk for getting bit by a disease-carrying mosquito or tick, it’s best to go with the heavy hitters: DEET or Picaridin. If the concern isn’t as great where you live, you can keep your options open. Most of all, don’t ditch exercising, playing and enjoying the outdoors. Just take the proper precautions and have good time.

  • Adam Gift
Best Travel Cribs of 2017

Best Travel Cribs of 2017 0

 

Whether you’re jetting off to Europe for a summer vacay or hanging at grandma’s for the weekend, your little one will need a safe place to rest. The best travel cribs are super portable to make your job as the baby-gear sherpa a tad easier.

Do you need a travel crib?

Many hotels and even home rentals will supply a travel crib (essentially a playard with a thin sleeping pad). But if you’re staying with family, or just want a crib you feel good about, a travel crib can be great.

Besides being a place to rest, travel cribs are also a safe place for your kiddo to play (no sweating the electrical sockets!). You can even use a travel crib as a napping spot on days spent at the beach or park.

Travel cribs generally accommodate newborns to toddlers about three years old.

How we chose our best picks

We asked thousands of real families about the baby products they love the most. We took the top products they shared with us and added our own research and insight to tell you about the best travel cribs.

             THE MAJOR MULTITASKER

                                Nuna Sena

WHY WE LOVE IT

This Dutch-designed travel crib is a cinch to fold and store - perfect for quick getaways (think: running late at checkout time). The SENA also has a bassinet attachment for smaller babies. It just brings the sleeping pad closer to the top of the travel crib rather than near the base.

KEEP IN MIND

This travel crib is heavy and not ideal if you plan on racking up frequent flyer miles.

WHAT PARENTS SAY

“The crib is easy to use. It has worked for us when we’ve needed it for travel and use at the grandparents’ house.” - Cristina

ADDITIONAL SPECS

Weight: 25 lbs.

Care: Spot clean with damp cloth

Measurements: 29.5” L x 41.3” W x 30.7” H

Recommended Use: Ages 0-3

                       EASY PEASY

                        

4moms breeze Playard    $299

WHY WE LOVE IT

It doesn’t get any easier than this: Push the center of this playard and it falls open and into place. Pull the center loop and it folds up. Basically, 4Moms Breeze just one-upped the SENA. It’s sturdy and roomy too, with a removable bassinet level for the sleeping pad to sit higher in the crib.

KEEP IN MIND

Like the SENA, the Breeze is heavier for a travel crib.

WHAT PARENTS SAY

“Compared to my friends who have other popular brands that include changing tables and a bunch of ‘extras’ the 4Moms Breeze only took seconds to set-up. So we were ready to go while they were still trying to figure theirs out.” - Mary Ashley

ADDITIONAL SPECS

Weight: 24 lbs.

Care: Spot clean with damp cloth

Measurements: 46” L x 32.5” W x 29” H

Recommended Use: Bassinet: For babies up to 18 pounds, or until the child can push up onto hands and knees. Playard: For children up to 30 lbs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Adam Gift
8 Important Signs of a Great Daycare

8 Important Signs of a Great Daycare 0

You simply want the most affordable, highest quality daycare, that’s as close to your home or work as humanly possible.

It’s not too much to ask, is it? Until you start doing your research. The options can suddenly seem overwhelming (or severely lacking) and stress can start creeping in. Wait, how do I know this one is better than this one? Which reviews can I trust?

First, breathe. “The search for the right daycare is going to be stressful, but don’t get discouraged,” says Sydney Ziverts, Health & Nutrition Investigator at Consumersafety.org. “It’s important to start thinking about childcare well before the baby arrives. A general rule of thumb for parents going right back to work after the baby is born is to begin looking in the second trimester. If you live in a big city, the sooner the better.”

Having time on your side is one way to ensure that you’ll get the best daycare for you and your baby’s needs, but what else should you keep in mind? Here are eight things every great daycare has.

1. Stellar Reviews

Every great daycare will have a solid reputation, including positive reviews from previous or current parents.

This doesn’t necessarily mean just the ones you’ll read online (though, of course, check those too!). Ask the daycare to provide you with a few names and numbers of parents you can call for references, or tap your network of friends and family to see which local center’s their favorite.

As you’re sifting through reviews, take note of any patterns, good or bad. “No provider is perfect, but if the same type of complaints are lodged, something isn’t right,” says Traci Sanders, author of Right at Home: A Parent’s Guide to Choosing Quality Child Care.

When you do go online, don’t underestimate social media. “Many daycare providers have Facebook pages,” says Ziverts. “Read what they are posting, and pay attention to what parents are saying too. When parents are engaged, it’s a healthy sign of a trusted childcare business.”

2. A Caring, Stimulating Environment With Happy Kids

You’ll feel it right when you walk in the door.

In this situation, first impressions really are everything. Does it seem like a vibrant, clean, fun space for your child? “Take a look at the environment and be sure it’s home-like, welcoming, and reflective of diversity and the children in the classroom,” says Rachel Robertson Vice President for Education and Development at Bright Horizons. Note whether they have age-appropriate environments for each stage. For example, does the infant room have plenty of floor space for crawlers or babies that need tummy time? Or do the older kids have desks or tables for coloring or crafts?

Observe the children. Are they happy and engaged? Do they have access to diverse activities and projects? Do they seem responsive and comfortable with the caregivers? “Assess how children are encouraged to explore the environment. Can they make independent choices?” adds Robertson. “Also, look for evidence that children’s interests and ideas are respected and reflected. Do you see displays of what the children are doing and learning?”

You want to feel like the children and space are happily humming along. When you’re feeling really great about the environment, you can probably imagine your child there: standing by the play kitchen sink, gabbing away with another child, or crawling around on the foam mats searching for a book to read, or, you know, eat.

3. An Interesting and Varied Schedule or Curriculum

What constitutes “great” here will have more to do with what you want for your child’s ideal day.

Do you want them to have a loose, fluid schedule that is more child-led and changes often? Or would you prefer a more school-like educational environment with a rigid curriculum? Either way, an excellent daycare will meet your needs. And make sure television or videos play a minimal role (or none at all) unless they’re part of the curriculum and are age-appropriate.

“Excellent early care and education programs allow for children to be invested in the materials and their learning. Skilled teachers balance important learning outcomes with children’s natural interests,” says Robertson. “No matter what kind of program you select for your child, you and your child’s teachers can join in a partnership to enhance your child’s learning experience. By building strong home-school relationships from the start, parents and teachers can support children and prepare them for future success, both in and outside the classroom.”

4. Qualified Caregivers Who Really Care

Make sure they have the basic certifications.

How do you assess the adults in the room? First, make sure they have the basics in terms of certification and training. Most should have degrees related to early childhood development or in the process of obtaining one, with at least two years of college under their belt. They should also be trained in CPR and any other emergency procedures.

When it comes to the intangibles, you can learn a lot simply by observing. Listen to how the teachers or caregivers interact with the children and take note of their body language. “Look for teachers talking respectfully to children at children’s eye-level,” says Robertson. “Parents want to hear meaningful conversations and respectful tone of voice, even in infant and toddler rooms, rather than an authoritative tone, constant directions, or a lot of no’s.”

Beyond interacting with the children, how comfortable do you feel with the caregivers? Are they communicative, clear and seem eager to be a partner with you in caring for and educating your children? “Do not hesitate asking hard questions,” says Joshua Wagner, a personal injury lawyer and author of a forthcoming book about protecting your children. “You are interviewing them. It is normal. They like parents that are engaged in their child’s safety and wellbeing.”

5. Safety, Safety, Safety

This is a no-brainer

Great daycare centers go above and beyond to ensure children’s safety. This includes childproofing, food safety practices, a well-kept and maintained play space with sets of toys (making sure none of have been recalled) and constant supervision.

A well child-proofed space will have:

  • Covers on every outlet

  • Cribs out of reach of blinds or windows

  • Window blind pull strings are out of reach or fastened with anchors

  • Stairs blocked by stair

  • Changing tables and high chairs with straps

  • Clean toys in good condition (no broken toys)

  • No small objects around that children could choke on (especially important in centers that cover multiple age groups)

  • Potentially toxic substances (like medications and cleaning supplies) are secured

6. Low Child-to-Caregivers Ratio and Low Employee Turnover

Look for 1:4 caregiver to child ratio for infants

The more hands on deck, the better. So you want to see a high amount of caregivers per group of children. And ideally, you’d have the same caregivers day in and day out. “It’s best if children stay with the same caregiver for at least a year,” says Krystal Rogers-Nelson, a parenting and child safety expert for A Secure Life. Consistency for your child goes a long way to maintaining a happy well-being.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (or NAEYC as it’s more commonly known) has a useful chart that shows the recommended ratios for each age group and group size. For infants under 15 months old, with a group size of 8 or less, the ratio should be 1:4. For toddlers up to 2.5 years old with a group size of 10 or less, the recommended ratio is 1:4, and for preschool aged kids up to 4 years old with a group size of 10 or less, the recommended ratio is 1:6.

7. Established Policies and Consistent Rules

Written-down, well-established operating policies go a long way

When a business at its core is consistent and well-organized, you know this will probably reflect throughout every facet of their operation. Great daycares have written-down, well-established operating policies from small things like when they do circle time to more crucial rules like how to handle sick children or emergency situations. You don’t want a place that’s so inflexible you can’t do something like pack a special meal for your child, but you also don’t want one that’s so loose with their rules and policies that it can be confusing or feels unsafe.

8. Licensed (and Maybe Accredited)

Licensing is the legal state requirements and accreditation is a higher bar

Each state has basic legal requirements for operating a daycare, so being licensed is non-negotiable. But whether or not a great daycare center needs to also be accredited is completely up to you and may depend on availability in your area.

State licensing agencies validate that the center is safe and abides by all official regulations. Accreditation agencies are private and evaluate centers based on a wider range of criteria that can be very specific. For example, benefits are provided to all employees, vehicles do not idle in the parking lot, wheel toys that are used outside are not used inside, etc.

Three organizations run accreditation programs in the US:

If you want to find an accredited program, NAEYC has the largest list and is a good starting place. Keep in mind: Only about 7,000 centers (approximately less than 1% of the over 700,000 daycares that exist nationwide) are accredited by NAEYC.

Remember, accreditation is not an end-all-be-all for quality childcare. Very few childcare programs in California are accredited by any of these organizations, for instance. There can be plenty of other criteria (location, price, childcare philosophies) that may be more important to you.

Overall, the best daycares have the magical combination of everything we’ve discussed while also checking the boxes on your own personal checklist, especially making you feel secure and happy to leave your child there every day. “Their teachers and friends become their first away from home village family,” says Wagner. “I never really thought about that part until my first child started daycare.”

  • Adam Gift

How to Choose a Travel System 0

It means you can transfer baby from car to stroller without waking them up! (This is a big deal). Also it makes it possible to use a regular stroller with a newborn. Since newborns can’t hold up their head, they can’t sit up in a stroller seat. To stroll your newborn, you either need a stroller seat that reclines all the way flat (very rare) or you need a car seat or bassinet that clips into your stroller.

Are there any downsides to having a travel system? One big downside: putting a car seat on top of a regular seat means you’re hauling two seats everywhere you go, and that gets heavy. Strollers burdened with a car seat don’t glide and maneuver as easily, and your baby won’t be able to use the regular stroller seat until they’re six months old. The weight isn’t such a big deal if you have smooth neighborhood sidewalks, but on bumpy cobblestones it could become tiresome.

Alternatives to know about

Consider using a stroller frame or a multi-mode convertible stroller rather than a travel system if you don’t want the extra weight of the doubled seat. A stroller frame (AKA a snap ‘n go or stroller caddy) is just a wheeled frame you can rest your infant car seat in. It’s very inexpensive, but it stops being useful once your baby outgrows their infant car seat at about a year old. A multi-mode convertible stroller is a frame that can accept a car seat, a bassinet, or a regular stroller seat; super handy, but often pricey.

Another option of course is just to wear your baby in a carrier or wrap, and not use the stroller at all until your baby gets old enough to sit up. If you’re strong and don’t get back pain easily, that could be a great option!

So you want to get a travel system

Definitely want a travel system? There are two ways to get a travel system: buy a pair or select a stroller and car seat that connect with an adapter.

Option 1) Buy car seat & stroller as one purchase

Buying your infant car seat and your stroller together as one purchase typically saves you $60 - $100. The trick is to make sure you love both the stroller and the car seat. Our store carries several excellent parent-recommended travel systems for you to use as a starting point.

Depending on the size of your baby and how fast they grow, they’ll outgrow the infant car seat at around 10-14 months (and switch to a convertible car seat that stays installed in the car). The stroller, on the other hand, you’ll be using during their entire toddlerhood. So in terms of length of use, it’s more important to be satisfied with the stroller. In terms of safety, the car seat is the higher-stakes decision. All new car seats follow pretty stringent federal safety regulations.

Option 2) Purchase them separately & connect with adapter

Say you have a favorite stroller and a favorite car seat, and they’re made by different brands, and you just don’t want to compromise. Totally understandable! Often you can buy a car seat adapter that makes one brand compatible with the other brand (they can cost anywhere from $10-$80). The annoying and confusing part is checking to see if the adapter exists between the brands in question.

Which strollers accept the most different types of car seats?

For the stroller brands we carry in our Stroller Dept, here’s a quick run-down of how compatible they are with different car seats.

Keep in mind that the adapter you purchase has to connect your EXACT car seat with your EXACT stroller including model and year, otherwise it might not click in safely and correctly. To check exact compatibilities, check out the links below to read complete information on the manufacturer sites.

Stroller brands with a lot of flexibility

  • Baby Jogger: You can purchase adapters for 14 different kinds of car seat, including popular ones from Chicco, Graco, Britax and NUNA.

  • BOB: Adapters are available for 7 seats from the 4 most popular brands, including Graco, Chicco and Britax.

Stroller brands with some flexibility

  • Britax strollers: Besides working with all Britax car seats (no adapter necessary), there’s also one adapter you can buy which works with 3 outside brands including Chicco and Graco.

  • 4moms strollers: 4moms moxi has adapters for 3 outside brands; 4moms origami only has an adapter for a Graco seat.

  • Bugaboo strollers: adapters for 4 different brands, but it varies depending on which specific Bugaboo stroller you own.

Stroller brands that tend to prefer same-brand car seats

Chicco and Graco manufacture some of the most popular car seats around (and their car seats fit in a lot of other brand’s strollers). Considering they have so many car seat choices within their own brand, they didn’t bother going out of their way to make their strollers compatible with other brand’s car seats! Likewise, NUNA strollers need NUNA car seats (although the NUNA Pipa car seat does have adapters for four different stroller brands). Nuna Car Seats

What Makes a Good Stroller in a Travel System?

Try to pick a stroller that you’ll love in the long-term. You’ll be using it long after the infant car seat is unnecessary. A lot of lightweight strollers can’t support the weight of a car seat, so if you need something really lightweight, it may make sense to make that a separate purchase from your travel system. The perfect stroller depends on your situation and how you’ll be using it. (Read more in How to Choose a Stroller.) The gist of it is to pick a weight you can handle, a compactness you can store, and wheels and suspension that match your terrain.

What Makes a Good Car Seat in a Travel System?

Having a lightweight infant car seat can be really nice in a travel system, since you’ll be dealing with the weight of the stroller and the car seat combined. Ofthe five best infant car seats according to Babylist parents, the Graco Snugrideis the lightest weight at 7.5 lbs. Because of its popularity, a lot of strollers have adapters for it, so you won’t be limited to only Graco strollers if you select this car seat.

TraveI System Use Tips

  1. If you close both the stroller canopy and the car seat canopy, they meet in the middle and give your baby 100% coverage from the sun.

  2. Don’t leave your child in the car seat for more than two hours: it’s unhealthy. Break up longer drives and strolls with little rest breaks!

  3. Travel systems can be tough to push across gravel and uneven surfaces. Plan your route accordingly.

True, finding an adapter that connects your perfect stroller with your perfect car seat is sometimes difficult and/or expensive. BUT, being able to transfer your baby from one mode of transportation to another without waking them up? Priceless.

Unless your baby is a light sleeper. Then they’ll just wake up inside the infant car seat no matter what you do. 😂 Parenthood is an adventure! Good luck!

Introducing the beautiful Mon Bebe Recliners! 0

The Mon Bebe Recliners are incredibly beautiful and will complete the perfect nursery. The recliners have a contemporary touch that will add an extra special element of style to your nursery room.

The Gliders are really simple to adjust with the precision glide mechanism that allows you to choose from the most comfortable upright or relaxed reclined position attainable for you and your little one. Sit back and fall into relaxed bliss with the new Mon Bebe Recliners – order yours today!

  • Elvis Kraljev
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