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The Info on Infant Stroller Travel Systems

Products that do double duty, like these stroller/car-seat combos, can save space in your home and money in your pocket.

Want to knock two big items off your buying for baby checklist with one swipe of your credit card? Invest in an infant stroller travel system – a combination stroller and detachable car seat – to make getting around with a baby a whole lot easier.

Why should I buy an infant stroller
travel system?

Portability. A travel system is basically a full-size, stand-alone stroller and a compatible infant car seat that clips into the stroller when you're on foot or into the car when you're on (big) wheels. The beauty is that since most babies drift off on even short car rides, an infant stroller travel system allows you to switch sleeping beauty from car to stroller without disturbing her dreams. Another plus: An infant stroller travel system provides the only stroller you'll ever need. Once your baby outgrows the infant car seat, the stand-alone stroller goes solo for the long haul.

Once I've made my purchase, how doI keep my baby safe in an infant stroller travel system?

Take these steps to ensure that your little one's secure:

  • As you put the system together, be sure to include all the pieces. There may be a lot of
    them, but every last one has a purpose.
  • Practice clipping the car seat into the stroller and unclipping it again before your baby's sitting in it (so you're a pro before you add a wee wiggler to the mix). Once your baby's in the car seat, gently shake the handle to make sure the seat's fully attached to the stroller before you hit the road.

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  • Check the car seat's expiration date. Sounds odd, but they do have these, most around six years from the time the seat hits the store. And
    for good reason: Older models might not have
    the advantage of the latest safety features. So check the manual to make sure your seat
    doesn't expire before your baby grows out of it.
  • Look for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers
    Association (JPMA) seal, which indicates the
    product has passed rigorous safety standards.
What else should I consider before I buy an infant stroller travel system?

A travel system can come in handy, but there are some downsides:

  • Even the best travel system stroller (read: the lightest-weight models) can be bulky, making it tough to load into and out of your trunk.
  • Infant stroller travel systems aren't good for dirt and gravel roads, since they're heavier than most strollers and tougher to push on uneven surfaces. They can also be tight squeezes through grocery-store aisles.
  • 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.
  • Your child will outgrow the travel system's
    infant car seat once he reaches the maximum
    weight limit, typically around 20 pounds.
  • Prices vary widely, from about $100 for the basics to more than $1,000 for some of the best travel system strollers you see celebrity moms pushing. Do your homework, then decide what works best for your needs and your budget.

for more pregnancy and parenting information,

visit WhatToExpect.com