There are SO many options for car seats and strollers -- what are some things to think about before buying?

asked 10 Sep '09, 15:14

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Becki
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edited 20 Jan '10, 02:34

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Scottie T
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We have found that having an infant car seat that "clicks in" to your stroller easily is invaluable. I love that I can transfer my sleeping baby's car seat to the stroller without waking him up. I also love that if he is awake I can take him out of the car seat and he can stretch and sit comfortably in the stroller or lay down with the seat pulled back, which he wouldn't be able to do if we just had a frame stroller. We purchased a Graco system and really like it.

I also like the comment above about thinking about extendable handles. I'm 5'9 and my feet slightly kick our stroller when I'm walking fast. I think it would be a good idea to "test drive" the stroller in the store by walking fast or taking large strides to make sure it is a good fit for the "driver."

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answered 18 Sep '09, 07:24

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Sabrina
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Two Words: Baby Bargains!

It's one of the most useful books I've every bought. It's right up there with Alton Brown's Gear for Your Kitchen. This is "gear for your baby." They also have a Toddler Bargains.

Link to Baby Bargains @ Amazon

--JBunky

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answered 23 Sep '09, 17:56

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JBunky
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I thought the best piece of advice in Baby Bargains was to get an infant car seat and stroller frame instead of the bulky travel system. Everyone I know who bought a travel system regretted it. Plus, waiting until later to buy a stroller gives you time to see how you'll actually use it and whether your child even likes riding in a stroller (some don't). We waited 6 months to buy a regular stroller, and then we were able to take our son to the store and try out different ones with him to see which one was the best fit.

(12 Dec '09, 16:26) BetsyB

For the stroller there are a bunch of things to consider:

  1. Do the one handed push- test out the stroller by pushing it with one hand. If you can roll it and easily turn the stroller with one hand then it will be easy to push with a baby in it.
  2. CUP HOLDERS!! - make sure there are mommy & daddy cupholders for your coffee, & car keys
  3. Weight- make sure that as a Mom, you can lift the stroller up when folded, so you know that you can get it, in and out of your car by yourself.
  4. Folding- make sure you can easily fold the stroller and that it folds small enough to fit into your trunk. Also, some strollers require you to remove seats or wheels when folding, so make sure to take that into consideration; ie. is removing this seat everytime going to be very annoying when I'm trying to rush in & out of the grocery store?
  5. Baby cupholders & tray- make sure that the baby has its own cupholders and snack tray for when their toddlers.
  6. Sunshield- make sure that the sunshield is large enough to adequately shade the baby
  7. Basket- make sure the bottom basket is large enough to hold your purse/diaper bag, shopping bags, toys and anything else you may need it for
  8. Structure- make sure the stroller feels sturdy enough that you don't think it will fall apart as soon as you put your baby in it
  9. Car Seat- its very handy for your car seat to fit into your stroller and make sure it fits in snuggly and securely
  10. Straps/Buckles - Check the shoulder straps and buckles to see how the baby is strapped in. I've read many bad reviews about shoulder straps that do not tighten, and baby wiggles out and tries to jump out of the stroller.
  11. Research- lastly, I always read the reviews online to see what other moms are staying about any stroller I'm considering buying. Especially read the bad reviews to see what they don't like about it, and see if more than one person has the same complaint, and if those issues would bother you.

For the car seat you need to consider if you want to start with an infant seat or if you want to start with the all in one seats. Again, the best thing to do is read the reviews for all of the seats, and keep in mind that the infant seats typically only last 6-8mths, but tend to be safer and fit the baby better than the all in one seats. Newborns in the all in one seats are usually sitting more upright and awkwardly and usually have giant buckles across their chests and crotches. Also, the all in one seats have to be reclined at precisely the right angle so often you are wedgeing towels and blankets under the seat to ensure its in the correct position and the car seats are so tall that they hit the seats in front pushing the driver or passenger seat all the way forward which takes out all of your legroom. I just had to return my all in one carseats for this very reason.

For the car seats I would also read the safety reviews to see which seats performed best in car safety tests.

So it all comes down to alot of research and make sure you know your stores return policies, because if you're not happy with it once you get home, then it's not going to get any better once you're using these things every day.

Hope that helps!

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answered 24 Sep '09, 03:58

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Shannon B
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edited 22 Feb '10, 00:55

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Scott ♦♦
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One of the things to consider is if you want a standard bucket seat with a 22lb limit. Which is relatively light weight but may not last through the first year. Or you can get a bucket seat with a 30 lb limit, which is more likely to last the entire year and could prevent you from having to but a 3-in-1 convertable car seat. However, the seat 30 lb seat is much heavier. We got the Greco Quatro tour combo, which has a 30 lb bucket seat. The stroller is easy to maneuver and the bucket seat clipped in well. It is hard to predict how big of a baby you will have but I know that many people who had the regular 22lbs bucket carseat had to buy a 3-in-1 before the baby turned 1 as they have to stay rear facing for the first year.

The only negative thing about our stroller is that it still takes up a lot of space when folded up. You also need to consider how much space you have in your trunk. There are other carseat/stroller combo's where the bucket just snaps into a frame.

A friend of mine also has a stroller with extendable handles, which is useful for her husband who is much taller then herself.

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answered 10 Sep '09, 21:31

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Tammy ♦♦
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We have an infant car seat with a 30 lb limit, and we're having to switch to a convertible car seat (my son is 9 months old). Yes, the weight limit is 30 lbs, but there's also a 30-inch HEIGHT limit. He's reached that far sooner than he would reach 30 lbs. Anyway, I don't know that I'd want to be carting a 30 lb kid around in it--it's heavy!!

(12 Dec '09, 15:55) BetsyB
1

The height limit for our car seat was 32 inches. Height limit is also something to pay attention to. As for carting around the seat, I agree it gets heavy we didn't remove the bucket after our daughter was 6-7 months old. However, we also discovered that even convertible car seats (all the ones we had looked at) only go up to 32 inches when rear-facing when you look at the actual specs. For our tall daughter we had to switch her to forward facing a couple of weeks before her first birthda due to her height.

(13 Dec '09, 13:32) Tammy ♦♦

We bought a "click in" type stroller by a company called UPPA baby. We love it. It came with a pram and seat and we bought a car seat which fit it.

Bonuses: . easy to use and lighter than other options . our son slept in the pram full time for the first three months . this make has a back axil designed that is curved in to avoid kicking it when you walk . adjustable handle for tall folk (dad is 6'5) . all components snap in to face towards or away from you

Drawbacks: . expensive . only accommodates 22lb carseat

Would definitely purchase again

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answered 24 Sep '09, 14:21

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Helen
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We have a Chicco Keyfit 30 carseat that snaps into a base which stays latched into the car. Having a base in both cars is pretty convenient, and meant we only needed to buy one carseat. On the other hand, it also means having to remember to leave the carseat at daycare when the dropping-off parent is not the picking-up parent.

We also have the Chicco Cortina stroller, which the carseat can snap into. Though we haven't really used the carseat with the stroller-- For one, the Cortina is bulkier and harder to pack than an umbrella stroller. Also, using the stroller without the carseat gives our son a bit more room and seems more comfortable for walks around the neighborhood. I'll also second the value of adjustable push handles on the stroller.

In addition to test-driving the stroller, I'd recommend trying out the carseats in the store - check out the harness, see how easily you can snap/unsnap, adjust straps, etc. The LATCH system on the Chicco is pretty nice, and makes it pretty easy to install and tighten the base unit in the car. I had no idea how easy it was until I had to use a different brand carseat. (We decided not to bring our carseat with us on a plane trip and rented a seat along with the rental car with a different brand car seat. The LATCH system on the rental carseat involved some flimsy looking hooks and a complicated mess of straps. Granted there may have been some bias there: it was a long, tiring flight and I was already pretty familiar with our own carseat.)

The Chicco base and carseat are relatively easy and straightforward to install and adjust, and the straps and latches and buttons are pretty well labeled. That said, it's a good idea to get your carseat checked out once you install it -- you can find a place to get it inspected at SeatCheck.org

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answered 12 Dec '09, 05:59

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larcher
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If I could do it all over again I would get one of those frame strollers that the infant seat clips into. I bought one of those travel systems and I never use the stroller because it is huge. I ended up buying an umbrella stroller that is higher end and more expensive but I use it way more than the travel system stroller. Also I needed more experience as a mother to know exactly what I needed out of a stroller.

We stopped using the infant seat when my son was heavy enough to sit in a 3-in-1 because he was just too heavy for me to carry in the infant seat. Those suckers are heavy and then if you put a 20lb baby in there. Ugh, I mean I worked out but I was not ready for that!

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answered 18 Sep '09, 13:16

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superstarBJR
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I would just look at the orbit system. It has everything you'll possibly need. link text

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answered 24 Sep '09, 14:58

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Kevin
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An interesting take on car seats for older kids:

http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_levitt_on_child_carseats.html

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answered 22 Sep '09, 14:41

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UncleDoug
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Asked: 10 Sep '09, 15:14

Seen: 7,915 times

Last updated: 22 Feb '10, 00:55