Best Baby Travel System: Buyer’s Guide & Reviews
Many parents fancy the idea of a travel system as you can carry around your newborn and young babies without waking them up from sleep. Is it really something to be excited about? How easy are travel systems to use? What are the aspects to be taken care of while buying a baby travel system? Let us find out.
What are baby travel system and how do they work?
A travel system comprises an infant car seat and a stroller that are compatible with each other. The car seat can be swiftly removed from the car and attached to the stroller thus if your baby is sleeping in the car seat, you can carry him/her around without waking them up from sleep.
Usually, the car seat is attached to the car with an adapter base. This allows for easy detachment of car seat without disturbing the baby. If the base is not present, you may have to attach the car seat using seat belts—which we should say is not as convenient as an adapter base.
Should I Buy One?
If you value convenience and moreover your baby’s sleep above anything else, then by all means opt for a travel system. You know that babies tend to fall asleep in their car seat. But they wake up the instant you pick them up from it. This doesn’t happen with a travel system as you detach the whole seat and clip it on to the stroller, thus saving the stress and inconvenience associated with disturbing a sleeping baby.
However, if you do NOT make a lot of short trips by car, then you would be better off buying a car seat and a stroller separately. Most of the infant car seat that comes along with a travel system can be used only till the baby is about 12-15 months. Post this age, you will have to shift to a convertible car seat. So, in the long run, it would be wise to buy separate convertible car seat and stroller if you do not move around extensively in your car.
Yet another alternative to a travel system is buying a car seat and a baby carrier, provided you are strong and not quite susceptible to back pains. Though the baby’s sleep gets disturbed while picking him up from the car seat, he would love snuggling close to you in the baby carrier enjoying the view.
How to Choose a Baby Travel System?
When you buy a travel system, you have to primarily take care of the safety features of the car seat and the durability of the stroller. The car seat can anyway be used only till the baby is around 12-15 months. But the stroller can be used throughout toddlerhood.
Most of the infant car seats from reputed manufacturers like Graco and Chicco undergo rigorous tests to ensure crash safety. So, the safety aspect of car seat is almost taken care of if you buy one from a reliable brand.
Choosing the right stroller might be the tricky part. First of all, it has to be light weight and easy to carry around. Remember you will be attaching the car seat to the stroller which will make it difficult to maneuver unless it is light weight.
Easy foldability and compactness are also important factors so that you can single handedly fold it and have enough space to keep your luggage and stroller in your car’s boot.
Fortunately, most of the strollers from reputed brands are durable and they are likely to last till your baby crosses toddlerhood.
Best Baby Travel Systems
Now, let us get on to some of the best baby travel systems.
The Graco Lite Rider Click Connect Travel System consists of the LiteRider Click Connect stroller and SnugRide 22 infant car seat, which is a combination of one of the best stroller and infant car seat.
Talking about the stroller, what makes it really tick is the easiness to handle. With sturdy suspension, soft, padded seat and two level lying seat, the stroller is quite comfortable for the baby. As for the parent, the stroller is quite light-weight and can be folded with just one hand—a huge advantage when you have to fold the stroller with baby in one hand.
The stroller also has a parent tray, child tray and under-seat storage area which can be used to keep all essentials that you may require on a short trip with the baby.
A drawback however is that the stroller seat doesn’t recline 180 degree to support the neck of a newborn. So, without fixing the car seat, newborns might not find it quite comfortable.
Now, let us see how the infant car seat fares. As the seat comes with an adapter base, it is quite easy to detach from the car and attach to the stroller. The seat comes with deep padding and is quite wide that babies can use it till they weigh about 11-13 Kg or till they grow about 30 inch tall.
The Graco SnugRide infant car seat comes with 5-point harness system and the sides are pretty strong and act as a bumper against side crashes too. It also has an adjustable canopy that protects the baby well against harsh sunlight. A drawback however is that you can use the car seat only till the baby is about 12-15 months. After that, you will have to switch to a convertible baby car seat.
If safety and your baby’s comfort is your number one priority, then, by all means Graco Lite Rider Click Connect Travel System is the best option to go.
The Key Fit 30 infant seat was adjudged as the best in terms of crash safety by the Consumer Reports. The car seat is suitable for newborns up till they attain 13 kg weight. The seat has an adapter base that is easy to attach. It has a levelling foot that can be adjusted to fit the base at the right angle of the vehicle’s seat so that the baby is always seated in a proper reclined position. The bubble-level indicator on the seat also helps ensure that the seat is fitted in the proper angle.
Making it easier for tucking in the baby is the one pull seat belt adjustment feature. Once you fasten the five-point harness, you just have to pull the loose end and the belt snuggly fits the baby.
The Key Fit 30 infant seat also has EPS energy absorbing foam on the sides to offer protection against side crashes. The infant insert that comes along can be used when baby is less than 5 Kg and post that you can remove it for your baby’s better comfort.
Coming to the stroller, though the stroller weighs about 11 Kg, it is easy to handle, thanks to the one-hand fold feature and adjustable handle. The basket is huge enough to keep your diaper bag or any other essentials on a short trip with the baby. An advantage over the Graco Click Connect Stroller is that it can recline completely. So, your newborn will be comfortable in the stroller even if you don’t attach the infant car seat to it.
Price wise, buying the travel system is a lot easier on your pockets compared to buying the stroller and infant car seat separately.
If you are ok with the higher price tag and a slightly heavy stroller, albeit a durable one, then, Chicco SE30 Cortina System is better option as its car seat is the best in terms of safety and the stroller can be fully reclined, making it suitable for newborns too.
The Graco junior infant car seat with 5-point safety harness is suitable for newborns up till they weigh about 13 kg. The seat has 3 reclining positions, a newborn head hugger and the sides are sturdy enough to provide protection from side impacts.
A main advantage of the Graco Mirage stroller is that it is light weight weighing just around 7 Kg and can be folded with a single hand—making it one of the easiest stroller in terms of handling and maneuverability and therefore, a preferred choice for grandparents and elderly caretakers.
The seat is padded and pretty comfortable, however it cannot recline 180 degree to the level comfortable enough for a newborn, but can recline to 100 and 150 degrees. So, when you are carrying around a newborn, you will have to attach the car seat to the stroller for better comfort.
It is better to get the base adapter for the car to easily detach and attach it from the car. To fix it on to the stroller, the play tray has to be kept on. The Velcro underneath the stroller seat also provides an additional enforcement and safety.
Overall, if a light-weight stroller and infant seat is what you are looking for and maneuverability is a priority, then you would love Graco Mirage Plus Travel System.
Chicco Neuvo Travel System consists of the Chicco Keyfit 30 infant car seat and Chicco Neuvo stroller.
The car seat as mentioned when discussing about the Cortina Travel System is the best in terms of safety and user-friendliness, thanks to the adapter base, levelling foot, bubble level indicator, 5-point safety harness and one pull seat belt adjustment feature.
Chicco Neuvo stroller is not available separately in India. You can only get it as a bundle as a travel system. Weighing about 11 Kg, the stroller is suitable for children up to 25 Kg weight. With 5-point safety harness, multi-reclining position, adjustable leg support and sturdy suspension, the stroller is quite comfortable for the baby even on bumpy roads.
The stroller also has child tray and parent tray so that you can comfortably enjoy a snack while strolling. The huge canopy and peekaboo window also helps you keep an eye on the baby all the time.
Though the stroller doesn’t have one hand folding feature, the system is not quite difficult to fold. Overall, when comparing between Cortina and Neuvo strollers, Cortina is a lot sturdier, while Cortina is lighter in weight and easier to handle too.
While most of the travel systems available in India costs above Rs. 20,000, R For Rabbit Chocolate Ride Travel System costs a little less than Rs. 10,000/-
You cannot really expect the finesse of Graco and Chicco in this travel system. However, when you consider the features and price, it is quite a value for money product.
With 5-point harness, reversible handle, fairly good suspension, adjustable foot rest and removable cup tray, the stroller is pretty user-friendly for parents and comfortable for the babies. Weighing just 9.5 Kg, its moderately light-weight too. But on the flip side, it doesn’t recline completely and its seat cushioning too could have been better.
The infant car seat cum rocker is suitable for babies up till the age of 18 months. As it doesn’t have an adapter base, you will have to fix it in the car using the seat belt. The seat has a 3-point safety harness, fairly wide canopy and strong sides to protect against any side impacts.
Overall, Chocolate Ride travel system is a budget friendly option with all basic features and safety functions for a safe, comfortable ride for babies.