Benefits of Travel System over Regular Car Seats and Strollers

What is a Travel System?

A baby travel system is a pre-packaged set that includes a baby stroller, an infant car seat and a car seat base.
The infant car seat has a handle that allows it to be used as an infant carrier. The car seat base can be seat-belted into a vehicle, then the car seat / carrier snaps onto the base for travel, making it easier for the parent to move baby from car to destination all while strapped into the same carrier.
The travel system is particularly handy for sleeping infants, since it eliminates the need to actually remove the sleeping baby from the car seat. The car seat / carrier also snaps onto the travel system stroller frame for added convenience.

What’s Included in a Travel System:

A typical Travel System includes the following items:
  1. Infant Car Seat
  2. Car Seat Base
  3. Stroller Seat
  4. Stroller Frame
Travel-System
 

Why Travel System?

Typically, you would need the following items during a child’s lifetime:
  • Stage 1: Rear-facing Infant Car Seat (plus car base); Stroller (plus Stroller Base)
  • Stage 2: Front-facing Car Seat (plus car base); Stroller (plus Stroller Base) or an Umbrella Stroller
  • Stage 3: Belt-positioning Booster Seat; Stroller (plus Stroller Base) or an Umbrella Stroller
  • Stage 4: Seat Belts (Provided by vehicle manufacturer)
Car Seat by Age- SaferCar.gov

Car Seat by Age – HealthChildren.org, American Academy of Pediatrics.
When manufacturers say “Convertible Car Seat”, it could mean any number of things – it may convert from any of the above Stages to the other. You should read the description carefully to understand what is being provided.
If you are planning to purchase a car seat or travel system before your bundle of joy arrives (which is typically the case), you will not know what length and weight your child is going to be. You can use this Child Growth by Age Timeline as a benchmark, so you know approximately when you will need to purchase these different items.
When you buy a Travel System, you will be getting a Rear-facing Infant Car Seat (plus car base), which can be used up to 2 years or when the child reaches the maximum weight or height limit. My first child outgrew his child seat at 15 months when he reached the maximum height limit of 32 inches for the model we had. You can also tell the child is too tall to be sitting rear-faced, by looking at his feet when he is in the car seat. If his legs are at a huge angle, instead of being straight out, it may be time to change him to front-facing.
Most travel systems have products where there are many combinations (or modes) of using the 4 items of the travel system –
1.       Rear-facing Infant Car Seat Carrier – You can directly use the infant car seat with the stroller frame (without having to attach the stroller seat) – where the infant is facing you.
2.       Forward-facing Infant Car Seat Carrier – You can directly use the infant car seat with the stroller frame (without having to attach the stroller seat) – where the infant is facing away from you.
3.       Traditional Travel System – You can use the infant car seat with the stroller seat – both of which are attached to the stroller frame – where the infant is facing you. This will protect the baby from the sun or harsh winds when you need complete coverage.
4.       Rear-facing Infant Stroller – Use the Stroller Frame with the Stroller Base, where infant is facing you.
5.       Forward-facing Infant Stroller – Use the Stroller Frame with the Stroller Base, where infant is facing away from you.
6.       Toddler Stroller – Use the Stroller Frame with the Stroller Base, where infant is facing away from you. Leg rest is completely flat, so toddler is more comfortable.
It is usually much more economical to buy a travel system than to buy an infant car seat separately from a stroller.

Other Important Things to Remember

  • Weight of the Car Seat – VERY important. You will be carrying the baby + car seat between the parking lot and your house and it can get very heavy as the child grows. You want the car seat to weigh as less as possible.
  • If you don’t want to buy a full size stroller and don’t want to carry the infant car seat, consider buying a universal stroller frame that snaps to the car seat bottom, letting you wheel baby around without taking the little one out of the car seat. Stroller frames are inexpensive, and let you decide on a full-size stroller later when you have a better idea of how you’ll use it.
  • If you can’t find a ready-made travel system with a car seat and stroller that you love, create your own with separate car seats and strollers. Different brands may not snap together when putting the car seat on top of the stroller, but many parents don’t use the travel systems that way. You’ll still be able to carry baby in the infant car seat carrier and use the stroller as usual. Lots of popular stroller companies make adapters for various infant car seats, too, so it can be easy to use different brands together.

How to shop for a Travel System?

The Three Steps in selecting the right travel system are as follows:
1.       First choose the right CAR SEAT (which includes car seat base)
2.       Then select the right STROLLER (which means the stroller seat and stroller frame)
3.       Now try to match up the Car Seat with the Stroller – try different combinations until you find the one you like.

Summary

Advantages

  • VERY economical.
  • Very Convenient. The car seat clips easily into a car seat base for the car, then onto a stroller base so you don’t have to move your baby from one to the other. You also have the option of unclipping the car seat from its car base and carrying your baby in her car seat. This is especially convenient if your baby is sleeping and you don’t want to disturb her.
  • Portability
  • Longevity: Many travel systems offer convertible pieces that can grow with your child. An infant car seat can be switched to a forward-facing car seat on the same base, and most travel system strollers allow you to attach an infant car seat for young babies while still offering a regular stroller seat for toddlers.
  • Looks great!

 Disadvantages

  • Rear-facing Car seat only. Will have to buy a front facing one when the baby outgrows the infant car seat (in approximately 2 years’ time, which is not too bad!)
  • Strollers may be bulky. If strollers weigh more than 25 lbs. they lose a lot of convenience when they’re folded and must be lifted in and out of the car
  • Infant stroller travel systems are NOT good for dirt and gravel roads, since they may be heavier than most strollers and tougher to push on uneven surfaces.
  • They can also be tight squeezes through grocery-store aisles (though ours wasn’t a tight squeeze, it was perfect!)
  • You can only use the car seat that comes with the stroller (and not all companies sell extra car-seat bases separately from the travel system). So if you have more than one car, you’ll need to buy a second car seat if you don’t want to unhook and reattach the one base the stroller comes with.

Resources

http://www.choosecarseat.com/
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/car-seats/buying-guide.htm
http://www.safercar.gov/parents/Car-Seat-Safety.htm
Car Seat Finder Tool – the easy-to-use tool that lets you Find the Right Car Seat to Fit Your Child. Simply enter your child’s birth date, weight and height below, and you’ll be provided car seat type results that fit your child according to NHTSA’s best practice recommendations.

Advertisements

Drop a line here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s