If you think you will be the sort of parent that will be making lots of short car trips with your baby, a travel system would be ideal for you. We would suggest that you research car seats first in order to establish whether or not you will need to buy the pushchair manufacturer’s seat or if other brands will fit your preferred push chair.
So What Exactly Is a Travel System?
A travel system is basically a stroller which has a removable baby car seat. The baby car seat connects to the stroller by clicking or slotting it in, or connecting by way of specific adapters. The concept of a baby car seat is to ensure it is simple to transfer your baby from car to stroller. Some travel systems include an independent carrycot, for babies up to six months old, which allows your newborn baby to lie flat, while others include a lie-flat stroller seat.
When It Comes to Buying a Travel System There Are Two Main Options:
- Purchasing an entire package, in which you purchase the stroller and baby car seat jointly – these are typically built by the same manufacturer
- Putting together your own personal travel system bundle, in which you purchase a travel-system-compatible stroller and a baby car seat independently. These could be the same or different brands. However, you might find this a more costly alternative, but it does give you more choice
Consider a Travel System if You:
- Intend on making a lot of short trips in the car with baby
- Would like the freedom of a less heavy push chair along with the adaptability of a chassis which the baby car seat clips right onto
- Drive a smaller car or have less storage space in your home – Travel systems can take up less room
- Use public transport often – as these pushchairs are lighter and smaller they are easy to get on and off public transport with
- Have less money to spend but want a durable long lasting alternative
Are All Strollers Travel Systems?
The simple answer to this question is No! However, you’ll notice the majority of the big brand names of stroller tend to be travel-system compatible, by this we mean you can purchase a baby car seat which will fit on to the stroller. Please note that not all manufacturers produce both strollers and car seats. For instance, Bugaboo only produces strollers, but they are compatible with other brands of baby car seats, including Maxi-Cosi. We would advise that if you wish to purchase a specific stroller and would like to use it as a travel system that you check first that it’s travel-system compatible. It is also important to understand you may be required to purchase car seat adaptors to be able to fit the seat to the chassis, if you decide on a different branded car seat.
So How Much do Travel Systems Cost?
The price of travel systems vary enormously.
Budget – You can pick up budget travel system packages for under $250
Brands – Graco, Baby Trend
Mid-range – You can pick up mid-range travel system packages for between $300-$500
Brands – Britax, Chicco.
Check out these travel system reviews
Which Car Seat Is Best to Use?
The number one consideration when moving around with your baby is safety. In order to ensure that you get the baby car seat right we advise that you do your research into the type of car seat you would like before you buy the stroller. We have found that the people who buy the stroller first end up with no real choice of the type of car seat they can buy. As the baby car seat is the thing designed to keep your baby safe we think it is more important you get the car seat you actually want and not the one you are left with!
The world of car seats can be confusing and expensive. What you do need to know is that the law states that it is compulsory to use a car seat for children up to a height of 135cm (around 12 years). So, you need a car seat for your newborn from the first time you take him/her out in a car.
How to Choose a Stroller?
Firstly, if you’ve already chosen a car seat, you’ll need a stroller that’s compatible with that particular car seat.
Some things to think about when choosing a stroller:
- Does it need to be forward and rear facing?
- Do you need swivel wheels?
- Do you need a one-handed or fast-fold?
- How big should the shopping basket be?
- How big is your car boot? Some pushchairs are so bulky when folded that you have to take the wheels off to get it in a car.
- Do you want a 3-wheeler, standard 4-wheeler stroller, ATP (all-terrain) or twin/tandem?
Will You Need to Buy a Carrycot?
It is recommended that you only keep babies in a car seat for a couple of hours at a time as they are not great for babies backs. This means that ideally your stroller should either offer a lie-flat seat or a carrycot or pram unit. If it doesn’t, you will require a carrycot unit with your travel system for your baby’s first 6 months. A number of travel systems incorporate a separate carrycot in the package. Others incorporate a carrycot which intelligently transforms into a seating unit.