City Premier Travel System by Baby Jogger Review

If you’re looking for a comprehensive stroller system, I have to tell you about the City Premier Travel System by Baby Jogger. We’ve owned this system for twelve months, and we’re still excited about it. It’s that good.

Just so you know, the City Premier Travel System is far more than a stroller. It’s a complete ensemble including car seat, stroller, deluxe pram, and a set of adapters. You can add accessories like a glider board for older children.

What’s a Travel System?

In a nutshell, this system is everything your baby will need for transportation from birth to two years old.

To start, the car seat. The Baby Jogger City Go is a great seat that will serve your little one from birth (we took our youngest from the hospital with when she was born) to well over a year old. It includes a base that stays in the car, along with adapters so it can fit onto the stroller. Being able to stroll your baby from home, place them in the car, and then take them out, all without waking her up is a huge boon.

The bassinet itself is a dream, and our little one spent much of her first few months in it. While traveling it served as her full-time bed, and while at home it was her favorite nap spot.

The stroller itself is also great. You can easily maneuver it with one hand, and even when riding over bumpy gravel driveways, it doesn’t jostle baby around. It’s got a great sunshade canopy. There’s also a huge, ultra-convenient storage basket that’s easily accessible from all sides (we have even used it for our carry-on luggage while traveling).

What I Love Most About the City Premier Travel System

  1. The adjustable handlebar is excellent for switching between my (short) self and my (tall) husband.
  2. The lock is easy to use and well-placed on the side of the stroller, making it one easy click to secure the stroller.
  3. For our family, the reversible riding option for the stroller chair is great. My mother-in-law prefers it one way, I prefer it another, and our little one gets to enjoy both directions. Everyone wins.
  4. The UV Canopy is great for coverage on sunny days.
  5. The magnetic peek-a-boo windows are perfect for me to check on my baby without disturbing her enjoyment.

Pros of City Premier Travel System

  • The large wheels are excellent for maneuvering up and down urban sidewalks and stairs. Although I have an elevator in my apartment building, there are three stairs before I get to the elevator. The smoothness of this stroller allows me to easily navigate these steps—even if the stroller storage area is filled with groceries.
  • The seats are spacious, snug and comfortable. Our little one was really comfortable in each seating option – the bassinet, stroller, and the car seat.
  • Lots of options that will serve you from birth to walking.
  • One hand folding. This is really nice compared to some other strollers in the market.
  • Reversible riding option, again, so handy for my mother-in-law’s preferences when she has our daughter.
  • Road steering/handling is smooth and sure.

Cons of City Premier Travel System

To be fair, there are both pros and cons to this travel system. While we definitely believe the pros outweighed the cons, here are some things that bothered us.

  • Not convenient when attaching the car seat. See below.
  • Canopy doesn’t stay in place. It keeps slowly folding, and we needed to push it back in place every couple of minutes.
  • All the attachments must fit the City Premier brand, and many of them are quite pricey. We bought the complete system, but for families who already have a car seat they like, this could pose a problem.

My biggest frustration with the City Premier stroller set is when I have to switch the bassinet/stroller seat to the car seat, which we do quite often. The car seat is a great fit once it is securely on the stroller, but it takes a few tries to get it on. There are no good indicators of where to fit the car seat onto the adapters, so each time feels like a guessing game.

All in all, the City Premier Travel System offered us exactly what we wanted for our daughter: a quality, convenient, comfortable ride that we could use for the long haul. We hope this review helps you as you’re deciding what to use for your little traveler.

How to Choose the Right Stroller (Hint: It’s all about age)

You grasp the registry scanner as if it can magically deliver all the baby gear your heart could desire. You point it at onesies, blankies, jammies, and pull the trigger with glee.

You round the corner and skid to a halt. There, spread before you like a wall of confusion, is every stroller known to man. More intimidating than the bike aisle, you advance with caution, lest you accidentally pull the trigger toward the wrong one.

You start looking, immediately bypassing the fifteen-buck cheap-looking umbrella strollers. After all, this is going on the registry!

You scrutinize jogging strollers complete with phone hookups and speakers. Double strollers that look like a full-blown locomotive for parents of multiples. Brand-name designer strollers that, despite their exorbitant price tag, look suspiciously similar to those fifteen-buck strollers.

Thirty minutes later and more confused than ever, you flee the stroller section looking for refuge. You take sanctuary in the diaper aisle and your scanner resumes its cheerful chirping.

A stroller for every age

If you’re a new parent who hasn’t spent a lot of time around babies, you may think like I did, “Surely a stroller’s a stroller!”

After eight children, I’ve come to learn that all strollers are not created equally.

I’ve used the high-end Cadillacs of strollers and the cheap strollers. I’ve used the locomotive double strollers and the side-by-side double strollers for my twins. I’ve even used a jogging stroller. And guess what? Each of them was perfect for the season I found myself. It all depends on how old your child is.

Here’s what you need to know about buying strollers by age:

A newborn’s number one stroller need is support.

As you’ll soon discover, a consuming job for every new parent is to support baby’s head, whether they’re balancing a paper plate while holding a sleeping baby or warning the new cousin to “keep her head up!”

That’s why simple, bare-bones umbrella type strollers that seem perfect, both for the budget and for the back, aren’t suitable for newborns.

A newborn stroller needs to allow baby to recline with his head supported from falling to the side. Of course, some high-end umbrella strollers offer these features. More often, though, a parent of a newborn will prefer a stroller that allows for the car-seat to simply snap into position, eliminating the need for elaborate buckling rituals with a newborn who’s figuring out sleep and wake cycles.

Another thing for the first-time parent to consider is that, with a newborn, you may not realize how much your life is about to change. You may think you’ll immediately be carting your baby off to the mall and the park, but realistically, you might be surprised how much you’ll want to stay close to home those first sleep-deprived weeks. Unless you know for sure you’re going to be using a stroller with your newborn regularly, you might want to wait until your baby has a little more upper body control before shelling out beaucoups of bucks for a conveyance that won’t be often used.

A 3 to 12 month old baby’s primary stroller need is safety.

Once your baby can hold his head up enough to actually enjoy a stroller ride, chances are your trips out will have gotten more frequent. Once this occurs, your primary focus should be on safety. Obviously, safety will always be a concern, but at this tender age group, it’s especially vital.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if a stroller offers that safety you’ll need:

  1. Does this stroller have a brake that’s easy to use for when I’m digging in my purse at the top of a hill at the park?
  2. Does this stroller allow me to see my baby when I’m walking, or is there an obstruction?
  3. Does this stroller provide shade if we’re at the amusement park or my nephew’s Little League game?
  4. Will this stroller require me to leave my child unattended in the car for long stretches while I try to remember how to fold it up and stow it in the trunk?

Every parent’s situation is different, so depending on which of the above questions applies to you, you should be able to determine where you need to focus your priorities in choosing a stroller.

A 1-year-old baby’s primary stroller need is security.

While all the above questions still apply for one-year-olds, by the time your baby becomes mobile a new factor enters into the equation: will my baby stay put in the stroller?

By this age range, you’ll want to make sure your baby is securely buckled in, especially if you have a wild child who loves to practice his escape act. While home is a great place to practice going out and about and teach your child so that embarrassing store scenes don’t happen to you, when you are out and about you’ll appreciate a tough five-point harness that keeps Buddy occupied while you’re shopping.

A toddler’s primary stroller need is convenience.

By the time your child is old enough to alternate between riding and walking, you’ll appreciate a stroller portable enough to not require you to require your child to ride.

This is when umbrella strollers are worth their weight in gold. Small enough to hang on a hook in the closet, light enough to carry while you hold your child’s hand, these strollers are perfect both for the park and the plane ride.

Every Situation Is Different

As you stare at the wall of strollers, remember that every situation is different. We all have different budgets, different priorities, and different needs. Once you’ve considered what you’re needing most at this point, it’s a good idea to find a friend in similar circumstances and find out what works for them.

Above all, enjoy every minute with your new love. I know you’ve heard it before, but soon you’ll be saying it too: It goes by fast.

Do Babies Need Sunscreen?

The short answer is “yes.” In fact, according to experts, it is best for babies to avoid prolonged sun exposure altogether, if possible.

When exposed to direct sunlight, you should use sunscreen on all exposed areas, paying particular attention to vulnerable areas such as the head, neck, and shoulders.

Sunscreens must be reapplied periodically for maximum effectiveness. How often they must be re-applied varies by product, so be sure to read the package directions and follow them carefully. Keep in mind that when children are playing in the water, sunscreen may need to be reapplied more frequently.

What kind of baby sunscreen should you choose?

Babies have sensitive skin that can’t handle the same chemical compounds that the skin of adults and older children can. For this reason, it is advised to use a mineral-based sunscreen for infants, particularly those under the age of six months. Mineral-based sunscreens will contain titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide which stay on top of the screen rather than be absorbed by it.

Look for a mineral-based broad-spectrum sunblock with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30. Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. The sunscreens that work best are waterproof and have a UVA rating of at least four stars.

Many products that are suitable for infants are organic and contain no artificial colors or fragrances. Some contain natural moisturizers such as sunflower oil, olive oil, beeswax, and aloe vera. For newborns, products with artificial fragrances may be unsuitable. Pay attention to any age recommendations that may be on the packaging. Look for products that are specifically labeled as being for sensitive skin when choosing a sunscreen for newborns.

Sunscreen Tips

  • Be careful when applying sunscreen on a child’s face, especially around the eyes.
  • Wipe your child’s hands with a damp cloth to prevent them from getting it in their eyes when they rub them.
  • Don’t forget to protect your child’s eyes from the harmful sun. Be sure to read about protecting children’s eyes with sunglasses.

Our favorite sun care products:

Do Kids and Babies Need Sunglasses?

The short answer is yes. Because the cornea, lens, and fluids in children’s eyes are much clearer than in adult eyes, shortwave light (such as harmful ultraviolet rays) can more easily reach and damage the retina.

Add to this the fact that the younger we are the more likely we are to spend more time outside (experts estimate that between 60-80% of sun exposure in a person’s life happens before the age of 18), and the answer becomes an even more resounding yes.

But this is often easier said than done. Many babies will attempt to take off sunglasses as soon as you put them on. If they do, there is no need for you to fret over it. You can put a wide-brimmed hat on your baby. But before you do that, be sure to check out special baby sunglasses. These sunglasses have a stretchy band that goes around your baby’s head; making it harder for your baby to pull off these sunglasses.

Choosing the Right Pair of Sunglasses

When it comes to sunglasses (for kids, as well as adults), the quality of the lens really matters. Make sure glasses meet ANSI (American National Standards Institute) requirements, and that the labels clearly states that they block UV absorption up to 400 nm (nanometers), or 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays.

Keep in mind that it does not matter how light or dark the sunglasses are. The lenses have a chemical in it that block out the ultraviolet rays.

Finally, make sure you buy sunglasses from a reputable source. Any pair that is labeled appropriately in an established store or online should be fine, but stay away from street vendors when it comes to sunglasses.

Our Favorite Sunglasses:

Is Your Child Ready for an Umbrella Stroller?

Umbrella strollers are a lightweight, compact, and affordable option for parents of young children. This extremely maneuverable style of stroller can be a highly convenient choice for on-the-go parents. Often manufactured with lightweight fabric and a collapsible feature, umbrella strollers are easy to travel with and pull out whenever required.

What is an Umbrella Stroller?

An umbrella stroller is lightweight baby stroller that has the ability to collapse into a much smaller size. It’s weightless and foldable design makes the umbrella stroller suitable for traveling families, as it can be easily stored and reassembled. This stroller gets its name from is easily foldable structure, umbrella J-shaped handles, and sun/rain shield. Umbrella strollers are popular for use on public transport, use in shopping malls, or even use at carnivals and outdoor festivals. An umbrella stroller can be the perfect addition to your child’s collection of necessities, however ensuring that your child is in the ideal age range to use one is crucial. Is your child old enough for an umbrella stroller?

What Age is Safe to Use an Umbrella Stroller

There are various designs of umbrella strollers. While some may be suitable for slightly younger babies, others are better suited for toddlers and bigger babies. The age that is most safe to use an umbrella stroller with your child depends on the manufacturer’s design of the stroller. Some umbrella strollers have a recline feature that allows the backrest to recline, which enables the child to lie horizontally. These strollers are great for younger babies that are only a few months old. Younger babies have not developed the supportive neck and back muscles that will allow them to remain in a seated position throughout their stroller journey, therefore the recline feature would be highly useful. Babies that have developed their required neck and back muscles would best benefit from the umbrella strollers that allow them the ability to sit up as opposed to laying down.

Are Umbrella Strollers Safe For Infants?

Infants are bundles of joy that are new to the world. Infants need to be loved and protected from harm’s way at all times. This includes choosing a stroller that is compatible with your needs as a parent. As the parent of an infant child, you are still able to experience the great pros of an umbrella stroller. However, you do need to critically evaluate the key features of the umbrella stroller prior to making the decision to purchase it.

If you are opting for an umbrella stroller for your infant, ensure that there is optimal padding and cushioning around the seat. Seeing that infants’ supportive neck and back muscles are yet to be developed, extra cushioning will be required. Not only will the padding provide support for the baby’s neck and back, but it will also ensure that the baby’s stroller experience is a comfortable one. Your typical umbrella strollers with extremely thin fabric are not recommended for infants due to the lack of support that is provided. Once the baby is capable of sitting upright on their own, usually from 4 to 7 months of age, then it is safer to use an umbrella stroller with less padding.

Is My Child Ready For an Umbrella Stroller?

Umbrella strollers come in several styles, each offering unique features that are suitable for babies and toddlers during their various stages of growth. Regardless of how young your baby is, there are umbrella strollers on the market that will comfortably suit your child and put your parental worries at ease. Take into consideration all of your child’s needs and choose wisely.

Umbrella Strollers We Love

Choosing the Right Umbrella Stroller

Umbrella strollers have come a long way from the flimsy constructed ones of years back. Many umbrella strollers are more of a hybrid, with the enjoyment of many features that a standard stroller possesses. The newer models not only have the convenience of transportation on wheels for your kids but also increased storage capacity, lighter weights and greater construction and stability. This is not a replacement for the larger traditional stroller, but a well-loved companion that will make short trips or travel much more enjoyable.

Considerations to Give

When purchasing an umbrella stroller there are a few questions to consider to help you narrow it down to the perfect buy. Ask yourself how much are you willing to pay, how often you will use it, do you want a shaded cover, reclining features, drink holder and lots of storage, and how easy is it to set up and collapse? It is important to note if you are using it for an infant, only certain models are recommended as they require a seat which can fully lay back and provides the necessary head support. Let’s take a closer look at some of these considerations.

Safety

Above all considerations, safety should be first and foremost. It may certainly give you peace of mind if your product has the JPMA certification (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association). If it does not have the JPMA certification, your stroller still has requirements to be met and may be recalled if there are any product defects.

Please note the following safety precautions before making your purchase:

  • Ensure if your baby is lying flat in an umbrella stroller, it does not tip backwards from the weight
  • Look for a stroller with a wide base that will not allow tipping to the sides if your child should lean over
  • Keep an eye for any large openings that may allow your child to slip through
  • Be aware of any areas a child might get fingers caught in the mechanics
  • Be certain to buy the appropriate stroller for the weight and height of your child to reduce risk of injury.
  • A 5-Point harness system is the best for securing your little one

The Budget

Umbrella strollers can be purchased from $30 to over $300. That being said, you don’t have to pay $300 for a great stroller. Have your budget in mind before you go shopping and stick to it.

Usage & Durability

Are you someone who is out of the house a lot with your little one and love the convenience of an umbrella stroller? Consider moving away from the lowest priced strollers. You definitely want to invest a little more for better mechanical features; a sound frame, quality wheels, lightweight, material that can be easily cleaned and has a high durability rating to withstand the numerous opening and closings.

If your stroller is being utilized more for travel, look for features that will make that journey easier; strollers that have ease of manoeuvring, shock absorbing suspension when traveling on various terrains, shoulder strap for ease of carrying when not in use and a compact fold for overhead storage on planes is a wonderful convenience.

Most umbrella strollers are made of aluminium, a great light weight material. Although there are some plastic options available in strollers, they do not have the durability of an aluminium frame and might end up being more of a headache as parts may break more easily and need replacement.

The Extras

The extras can be essential for some moms and dads; the drink holder, the shaded cover, the deep storage, removable seating for easy cleanup and lightweight. Generally speaking umbrella strollers are lightweight so if your umbrella stroller is over 15-16lbs, you may want to simply use your full size stroller.

Extras that may not come with your stroller but might be important to you may include; a rain protector for the stroller, stroller organizer to attach to the handles for extra storage, travel bag to protect your stroller while traveling and even connectors to join two strollers together.

With all the options, it may feel a little overwhelming to make a choice. Be certain to make a list of your must-haves and work within your budget and research well before you head out shopping.

Umbrella Strollers We Love

When is a Baby Carrier Right For Baby

There’s no question about it: a baby carrier is one of the most comfortable and secure ways of carrying your child around! However, there are a number of questions that we keep hearing from parents looking for a baby carrier for their baby.

What are the advantages of a baby carrier?

With a baby carrier, your baby will always be close to you, without you having to sacrifice your arms to holding them when you have a million chores to attend to. You can carry on working – inside the house, or outside – while your baby sleeps serenely beside you.

Baby carriers are especially helpful when you are travelling or visiting friends or family, and pushing a stroller around is not a choice. You could be waiting in line at the bank or walking along the beach, and your arms would not get tired from holding your baby for too long.

How do I choose a baby carrier for my child?

While choosing a baby carrier, there are a number of questions that come up with most parents.

When can a baby go in a carrier?

Theoretically, babies can be carried in a carrier as a newborn. But you have to keep one thing in mind: babies need to be at least 4-5 months old before their neck muscles are strong enough to support their head. If you do carry a newborn that is less than 5 months old in a carrier, you need to make sure it provides enough support for the baby’s head to rest on.

Baby carriers are usually hard and firm to give a sturdy support for your growing child. Your newborn might find it uncomfortable to sleep inside a rigid carrier; for this reason, a baby wrap or a sling made from soft fabric that can allow your baby to curl up comfortably inside might be a better choice.

To answer the question at hand: although it is perfectly all right to buy a baby carrier for your newborn baby, they will be better suited inside a sling or a wrap.

How much weight do baby carriers hold?

Different carriers are built for babies of various weights, differing between brands and models. On average, babies weigh around 7 to 8 pounds at birth and slowly gain another 12 to 15 pounds over the next 12 months. Most baby carriers are built to support babies weighing from 7 pounds to 40 pounds – the average weight babies reach when they are 4 years old or more.

Therefore, most baby carriers can easily support a child who is more than 3.5 or 4 years old. However, most parents stop carrying their children when they reach their 2nd birthday, because they learn to walk very well by that age.

When can I carry my baby facing outward?

Very young children do not need to face outwards; they will be more comfortable sleeping the whole time you carry them around. Before they are 5-6 months old, it is recommended that you carry your child facing towards you, so that they can rest their head on your chest and sleep comfortably, listening to your heartbeat and feeling your skin against them.

By the time your baby is 6 months old, they would have developed strong neck muscles and started to show some interest in the world around them. This is the perfect time to start carrying them facing outward, because they can hold their heads high and enjoy looking around them at different colors and movements.

When is a baby carrier safe for the baby’s hips?

If the proper position to carry a baby in a carrier is not maintained, it is possible to harm your baby’s hips and lead to hip dysplasia – which is the abnormal formation of the hips. When the baby’s legs are left dangling on the sides, at any age from birth to 3 years old, it can create permanent problems for the hips, especially if the baby remains in the same position for a long time.

However, a good baby carrier provides support to the legs and not just the parent’s back. In such cases, the pressure is taken off the hips and the legs get proper support; the legs do not dangle below the back but are spread and supported, going around the waist of the person who is carrying the child. The hip is more stable and doesn’t need to carry the pressure of the whole body, thus making the baby feel more comfortable.

How old does my baby have to be for a carrier?

Newborn babies can be put in a carrier, but it is preferable to wait until they are capable of holding their heads high. If you need to use a carrier for babies younger than that, it is recommended that you choose a carrier that has a sturdy headrest where your new baby can rest its head. Your newborn to 5 months old baby will be more interested in sleeping close to you rather than enjoying the view, so it’s important that the carrier you choose is comfortable enough for them to sleep in.

What is the best way to carry a baby when hiking?

If you are looking to explore the great outdoors with your baby, be sure to check out our in depth look at baby backpack carriers.

 

Baby Carriers We Love

Elks & Angels Snuggle Pod Footmuff Review

Elks & Angels, an unusual company name with a unique and clever product.

I recently found out about the Snuggle Pod Footmuff when a friend from my parent walking group arrived one very brisk morning with this very cozy looking insert in her stroller. Her little guy looked so warm and content, and the material felt so soft, I couldn’t help but ask her about it. She told me she had only recently received it as a gift and that it was a godsend. Not only was it very practical as a product for its warmth with its sheepskin covering, it was so beautiful looking and fit her stroller perfectly.

Well, after testing out the Snuggle Pod for myself for the past month, I can tell you I was pleasantly surprised by how versatile such a warm looking product was, no matter the weather (hot or cool).

The Snuggle Pod Footmuff attaches to your stroller, and provides a cozy cocoon around your baby in winter, and acts as a cooling stroller liner in summer. Made with 100% Australian sheepskin, the footmuff shields your baby from both cold and warm weather.

Living in a climate with very cold winters and warm summers, I found the Snuggle Pod Footmuff’s regulation of body temperature to be a wonderful feature. The balance of warmth without overheating and a cooling effect in the summer months were a godsend.

Elks & Angels are a fairly new company started in 2010. Their sheepskin products are both luxurious and sensible. Sheep live in warmer and colder climates quite comfortably. For a baby, the Snuggle Pod keeps in a baby’s own body heat without overheating, while insulating them from outside heat or cold, creating a dry and warm environment.

The Snuggle Pod Footmuff is currently available in one color option “buttermilk with black nylon”, and comes in one size of 3ft X 2ft. At $259, it is definitely not a budget purchase. It is a luxurious item through, and through.

I found that the Snuggle Pod Footmuff easily attached to my stroller even with my 5-pt harness. I was also thrilled with the option of using it as a play mat when detached. I was able to do that several times when out and about visiting friends or at the park. It was a great feature.

Pros:

  • Made with 100% Australian sheepskin
  • Hypo-allergenic
  • Fits from newborns to 3 years of age
  • Machine and hand washable
  • Product arrives in environmentally friendly packaging
  • Adheres to the standards of ASTM 
(American Society for Testing & Materials)
  • Suitable for all seasons
  • Luxurious feel and quality

Cons:

  • Price is not for the faint of wallet
  • Only a single design option

It may be at a higher price point, but it is definitely a quality product that will survive getting passed down to your other children or family members.

Overall, the Elks & Angels Snuggle Pod Footmuff is a wonderful product. It acts very much like a giant Ugg for your baby. It is perfect for any temperature. I didn’t find my little one in any discomfort on warmer or cooler days. I love the craftsmanship of the Snuggle Pod and its impeccable quality. Knowing it is a natural product and I don’t need be concerned about the fabric, put my mind further at ease.

I loved it, and so did Little One.

Tether Straps & Car Seat Anchors

As parents, we always worry about our child’s protection. Thankfully, baby and child safety equipment will generally come with a set of extensive (though sometimes overly complicated) instructions. That is certainly no different when it comes to car seat tethers and car seat anchors. Let’s shine some light on tether straps and car seat anchors; the terminology, the history and understanding the importance of using them as directed.

First, let’s clarify the necessary terms.

Car Seat Tether – Behind all car seats, you will see a long seat belt style strap that has a clip at the bottom to attach to an anchor; this is your car seat tether.

Car Seat Anchor – Anchors are metal attachment points installed in a vehicle to secure your car seat tether strap. Anchors are often hidden behind removable plastic covers or carpet.

LATCH – An acronym for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children.

When did the tether strap come into use?

I was surprised to learn that tether straps have attached to baby car seats/forward facing car seats since 1989. Vehicle manufacturers began installing car seat anchors in 2001 and the LATCH system became compulsory in 2003.

In 2003, new legislation mandated that vehicles must provide 2 lower car seat anchors and 3 car seat anchors for forward facing car seats, if there are 3 seating positions available in the car.

Common Anchor Positions

Lower anchor for a car seatLower Anchors


Generally rear facing car seats use only the lower anchor strap feature found between the backrest and seat. Sometimes they are covered with soft cushioning or a plastic cover. Depending on the vehicle, it may come in the form of a long bar or smaller separate metal bars. The hooks from your car seat will either be a rigid latch hook, a flexible latch or a j-hook.

Forward facing car seats can utilize the lower car seat anchor as well with a rigid lower latch in some models.

Tether Strap Anchor Behind and at the Base of the Vehicle SeatTether Strap Anchor Behind and at the Base of the Vehicle Seat

In vehicles such as mini vans, there is an anchor at the very lowest back base of the seat.

Tether Strap Anchor on Window ShelfTether Strap Anchor on Window Shelf


In a sedan, you will find the car seat anchor on the back shelf below the back window. It may be covered with a section of plastic which you can lift to open.

Tether Strap Anchor Attached behind the SeatTether Strap Anchor Attached behind the Seat

In the back of some vehicles the anchor can be found at the back of the seat, around ¾ of the way down the back.

Pick Up Truck Anchors

Depending on the make and model, pickup trucks have varied spots for their tether strap anchors; behind the rear head rests, behind the seat backs or to the sides of the rear seats.

Safety Tips to Ensure You Use Car Seat Straps & Anchors Appropriately

Every vehicle is different; every car seat is different, so please ensure the following when installing:

Read the instructions on your car seat very carefully to ensure you understand the directions fully. If the instructions indicate the use of two anchors, then do it. If a booster recommends using the lower anchor, then use it. Although a lot of car seats may look the same, they are not, and may have small differences with varied safety features. Follow the instructions to the letter when using your car seat latch straps and anchors. It is crucial for optimal safety.

Read through your vehicle’s owner’s manual to ensure you are very familiar with the location of your car seat tether anchors. Don’t assume that something that looks like a car seat tether anchor is in fact one. Make sure it is with your owner’s manual.

Be aware of the state or provincial laws related to weight and height requirements, so you can ensure you are using the appropriate style of seat. (i.e. rear facing car seat, child car seat, booster seat).

Adhere to the expiry dates. Car seats and booster seats do indeed have expiration dates. Most have an expiry of 6-10 years from the date of manufacture. Over time and with different exposures, parts can wear or degrade. A car accident could damage or loosen a car seat anchor or tether, heat may weaken plastic components on your car seat, or perhaps it was stored in a manner that may have damaged the tether strap. Manuals and instructions can get lost over time, safety stickers can peel off and recalls are only in place until the expiry date. This important date should be noted on the back or under your seat. Dispose of the seat upon expiry. It should not remain in circulation.

Remember

Car seat straps and car seat tether anchors (LATCH) are a major part of the safety system of your car seat. Make certain you use them according to the guidelines provided with your seat. Proper installation and care of your car seats and using your car seat tethers and car seat tether anchors appropriately will ensure the safety, security, and comfort of your little ones.

Car Seats We Love

Baby Backpack Carriers

Backpack carriers are a great way to hike in safety and comfort, both for you and your baby.

Baby backpacks look very similar to camping backpacks but come with a fabric mounted on a rigid aluminum frame and a seat for the baby to ride on. Like front carriers, a baby backpack is far easier to handle than a stroller as it distributes the child’s weight more efficiently, thereby allowing you to walk long distances, more comfortably than you would otherwise do. Not only that, the baby’s head is always in close proximity with your head, thus affording great views for the child and better bonding too.

Backpack carriers mainly fall in two categories: framed and unframed. While the framed ones are more expensive and can be bulkier (especially when not in use) they do a great job at distributing your child’s weight. Non framed carriers are cheaper, but as they are without frame support, the baby tends to sit lower and can weigh down on you more.

Finding that perfect backpack can be an intimidating task. Baby backpacks come in a variety of sizes and models. It is important to find one that fits your baby’s size. Most backpacks are designed for children weighing at least sixteen pounds. For someone less than that or an infant you might consider going for a front baby carrier. This is an excellent solution as carrying babies in this manner is very beneficial to keeping a baby calm and quiet, thanks to the closeness involved.

Hiking backpack carriers are ideal for travel and out of town use. These externally framed backpacks offer a built in frame that allows you to actually wear your child high on the back, once he is at least six months old. You can then head for the mountains hands-free, or with trekking poles, while your child stays safe and supported.

Remember before heading out with your new backpack to adjust the straps, so as to spread the weight of the baby evenly on the hips and legs rather than the back.

When Can Baby Go in Backpack Carrier

The total weight of a backpack along with the weight of the child should typically between 30 to 50 pounds. That usually occurs when the child is around 6 months old and is able to sit up independently, with total control of the head and neck. At this time the baby can go in the backpack carrier quite comfortably and makes it easy both for you and the child.

Even though backpack carriers can look cumbersome at first, they are a great hit with parents thanks to the comfortable ride they provide. Here are a few of our favorites.

Backpack Carriers We Love

The Complete Stroller Guide

A stroller is unquestionably one of the most frequently used and indispensable items you’ll need for your baby. Baby strollers come in all shapes, sizes, and fabrics, with every feature you can imagine. From active and all-terrain strollers; easy-to-handle, lightweight ones; sturdy, classic carriage strollers; and much more, it’s no wonder that shopping for one can often be an overwhelming experience, especially for the first-time parent.

What To Consider Before Buying

Because your stroller will most likely be used on a daily basis well through the toddler years, it is important to find the one that best suits your lifestyle and budget. Also keep in mind that your stroller needs will change as your baby grows and you may find one–or more–that is just right for you.

So how do you choose between a luxurious pram-style carriage, a rugged jogger stroller, or a super lightweight and compact model? Naturally, safety and comfort are high on your list of priorities. But there are several other important things to consider before you begin shopping:

  • Your Lifestyle – If you plan to do a lot of walking, you’ll need a sturdy model with good suspension. If you rely on public transport, size, weight, and portability are essential considerations. Check how quick and easy it is to fold for catching a bus or negotiating a flight of stairs. If you are doing more walking than driving, you’ll need a stroller that can take you around the block and downtown. If you’re a suburban driving machine, you will be A-OK with a model that is lightweight, stores easily in your trunk, and has good maneuverability. For the athletes and outdoorsy types in the audience, a jogger might be just what you are looking for.
  • Space Limitations – How big is it, folded and unfolded? Will it fit in the trunk or back seat of your car? Will it fit through an average-size door? Can you take it on a subway or bus?
  • Stroller Weight – If a lot of lifting and climbing stairs is expected, choose a lightweight stroller. Trying to coerce a heavier model up or down stairs isn’t safe for you or baby.
  • Your Child’s Age – Only strollers that fully recline are appropriate for babies under 3 months old, while a convertible stroller will take you through the toddler years. If you have more than one child, a double stroller is an obvious choice (be sure to get one that fully reclines if you have one or more young infants). And, for toddlers, a lightweight or umbrella stroller is just right.
  • Your Height – While your baby’s comfort and safety are most important, remember to also consider your height and stride when making a choice (longer legs take longer steps). Your stroller needs to be comfortable for both you and your partner, so look for a model with adjustable handle height if you plan to share pushing responsibilities.
  • Wheel Type – Unless you are looking for the additional stability offered by the fixed-position and oversize wheels usually found on joggers and larger prams, fully independent wheels are recommended for mall and supermarket use. Their caster-like movement allows for the best maneuverability and many models feature a locking device to point the front wheels straight forward for added stability.
  • Will This Be Your Only Stroller? Many parents have two (or three) strollers for various needs. A full-size stroller is great for longer, bumpier rides, and the ultracompact umbrella fits everywhere from your trunk to an overhead bin on an airplane. If you’re only buying one, keep portability at the top of your list.
  • Sanity-Saving Features – When you are shopping for a car, you usually know if you want AC or power door locks. There are many innovative and sanity/time-saving stroller features available today. Some models boast the beloved one-hand-fold feature, which you’ll find indispensable while packing your baby and your stroller back into your car; others have all-terrain wheels; and still others have parent trays. Bells and whistles can sometimes make all the difference; other times, they seem silly. Plan ahead and think about what you can and cannot live without.
  • Your Budget – It is possible to find a great stroller without spending a fortune. And, of course, you can find subpar strollers at sky-high prices. However, more often than not, you get what you pay for. Think carefully about the features you need, and then narrow by budget. Your purchase could potentially last you from your child’s infancy well through the toddler years, so investing in a quality pick might be more economical in the long run.

Stroller Safety Tips

To keep your baby safe and sound while strolling, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) suggests you follow these guidelines:

  • Choose a stroller or carriage that has a base wide enough to prevent tipping, even when your baby leans over the side.
  • If the seat adjusts to a reclining position, make sure the stroller doesn’t tip backward when the child lies down.
  • Always secure the baby by using the stroller’s seat belt.
  • Don’t hang pocketbooks or shopping bags over the handles. If your stroller has a shopping basket for carrying packages, it should be low on the back of the stroller or directly over the rear wheels.
  • Use the locking device to prevent accidental folding and apply the brakes to limit rotation of the wheels when the stroller or carriage is stationary.
  • When you fold or unfold the stroller, keep your baby’s hands away from areas that could pinch tiny fingers.
  • Look for the JPMA Certification Seal.

Stroller Glossary

Parlez-vous stroller? If not, try our handy glossary–filled with a few stroller-related terms that may be new to your vocabulary.

  • All-Terrain Wheels – Think mountain bike tires. These rugged rubber tires don’t necessarily give you more traction and a smoother ride but are great if you are pounding more than smooth pavement. You will find them featured mostly on joggers and some carriages and prams.
  • Canopy – This fabric–sometimes collapsible–shield helps protect baby from sun, wind, and rain.
  • 5-Point Harness – This type of harness consists of five straps: two at the shoulders, two at the legs, and one at the crotch. This allows parents to adjust the harness closer to the infant’s body and is easy to buckle and unbuckle.
  • Weather Boot – This fabric “pod” usually snaps onto the stroller seat or bar, keeping baby’s legs and feet warm and dry.

Types of Strollers and Key Features:

For something that is supposed to be a convenience by its very nature, the search for the perfect stroller can be quite an overwhelming experience. Never fear. We have compiled a detailed view at each type of stroller for your convenience, as well as our picks of the best strollers in each category.


Car Seat Buying Guide

Car Seats Aren’t Just Essential, They’re the Law

From the moment you leave the hospital with your precious new cargo, you’ll want to be prepared to transport your baby safely–no matter where you go. That’s why, before baby arrives, you’ll need to do some homework and carefully choose an appropriate car seat.

It’s not only for baby’s safety and your peace of mind; laws in all 50 states require car seats. But knowing that a car seat is necessary is the easy part. Choosing the right car seat is where it gets tricky. The process is almost like buying a car. There are scads of body types, upholstery styles, safety features, and prices. So fasten your seatbelts, parents. Here’s Car Seats 101.

Before You Buy

Before going into the nitty gritty of types and features, keep in mind these helpful guidelines when selecting a safety seat:

  • Choose a seat that you find easy to use and that fits in your vehicle. Be sure it can be buckled tightly.
  • Look for the seat you can use facing rear as long as possible.
  • Be aware of weight limits.
  • Keep in mind that if you buy an infant-only seat, you will need an infant-toddler (convertible) seat later.

Car Seats — You Won’t Believe the Options

There are as many opinions about the safest, most comfortable, and most convenient car seats as there are car seats. But there is only one absolute to follow in the process. A baby car seat must pass Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Make sure when you’re scouting around that the product you choose has passed muster.

There are three types of car seats available:

Infant Car Seats

Infant car seats are designed specifically for infants up to 22 pounds or 26 inches long. Although there are many brands and features to choose from, all infant car seats have one thing in common: they are designed to support a developing infant’s back, neck, and head. Infant car seats should be installed rear-facing (facing the back window of your vehicle) in the center of your back seat. For added convenience and comfort for baby, many models are available with a stay-in-car base that not only allows you quick installation, but easy and gentle removal from the car without waking your sleeping baby (a feature parents love).

Infant car seats offer two restraint systems:

  • Three-Point Harness – A three-point harness secures your child at the shoulders and between the legs.
  • Five-Point Harness – A five-point harness secures your child at the shoulders, hips, and between the legs.

Our favorite car seats for infants:

Convertible (Infant-Toddler) Seats

Designed for newborns up to approximately 20 pounds, then converts to a car seat for infants 20 to 40 pounds. Convertible car seats are so named because they can be converted from a rear-facing infant seat to a forward-facing seat. This means that from birth to around the time she reaches her first birthday, your baby can keep the same car seat. An added bonus is that she gets to face the front of the car like everyone else.

Convertible car seats offer three restraint systems:

  • Five-Point Harness – Consists of five straps–two at the shoulders, two at the hips, and one at the crotch. This allows parents to adjust the harness closer to baby’s body and is easy to buckle and unbuckle. This is the best choice if you’re using the seat for a small baby and provides the best protection against head injury.
  • Three-Point Harness with T-Shield – This model uses a soft, T-shaped center section to draw the shoulder straps over your child. The “T” then buckles into the seat shell at the crotch. It’s simple to use and easy to position. It is not appropriate for an infant whose head does not clear the T-shield. The shield harness should be no more than chest high when fastened.
  • Three-Point Harness with Overhead Shield – This padded T-shaped or triangular shield swings down over baby’s head, drawing the straps over the shoulders. A third strap buckles the shield to the seat at the crotch. Some are adjustable and can be tightened to accommodate smaller children or loosened for bulky clothing. This restraint system fits properly when the shield is at the child’s chest level.

We loved these convertible seats:

Booster Seats

When your child has outgrown the convertible seat, but is too small to use your car’s safety belt system alone, it’s time to move to a booster seat. Designed specifically to help standard vehicle seat belts fit children better, these specialized seats are appropriate for children who are 4 to 8 years old, weigh between 40 and 80 pounds, and who are less than 4-feet-9-inches tall. By reducing the potential for belt-induced injury which can occur when a lap or lap/shoulder belt is a small child’s only restraint, booster seats play a very important role in protecting children as they transition from a child safety seat to an adult-sized lap and shoulder belt.

There are two types of booster seats:

  • Belt-Positioning Booster – Designed for children who weigh between 40 and 80 pounds, belt-positioning boosters are available in high-backed and backless models. The child sits in the booster seat and uses the vehicle lap and shoulder belts for restraint. Lap and shoulder belts together offer better protection than lap belts only.
  • High-Backed Booster with 5-Point Harness – This type of booster seat can be used as a forward-facing child safety seat for a child who weighs between 20 and 40 pounds, or more. The booster seat is attached to vehicle with either the LATCH system’s lower anchorages or the vehicle’s belt system and tether (if the seat has one), while a 5-point harness provides full body protection. When a child reaches 40 pounds, the 5-point harness is removed and the seat converts to a belt-positioning booster seat. In this configuration the child uses the vehicle’s lap and shoulder belts for restraint, and a tether will not be used.

Our favorite booster seats include:

What About Preemies?

These extra-small bundles of joy need extra attention while on the road. Here are some helpful suggestions when considering a seat for your preemie.

  • Use a seat with the shortest distances from seat to harness strap slots, and from back to crotch strap.
  • Supplement baby’s comfort and safety by rolling blankets or towels and placing them on either side of baby to keep his head from slumping.
  • Never place any extra cushioning under or behind the baby.

Safety Tips

To be sure you’re making the most of your seat’s innovative safety features, be sure to follow these guidelines from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • Use the lowest harness slots for a newborn infant. Keep the straps in the slots at or below your baby’s shoulders for the rear-facing position.
  • It’s important for an infant to ride sitting semireclined, about halfway back or 45 degrees from horizontal.
  • Make sure harness straps fit properly over the shoulders and between the legs of your infant.
  • To fill empty spaces and give support, roll up a couple of small blankets and tuck them in on each side of your baby’s shoulders and head.
  • Never use any car seat or booster car seat in a seat with an air bag.
  • Be sure that the car seat you purchase is appropriate for your child’s height and weight.
  • Send in the manufacturer’s registration card. If by any chance your car seat is recalled, you will be notified by the manufacturer.
  • The base of your car seat should rest firmly on the seat, and the vehicle’s belt must be able to secure it tightly. If it moves an inch in any direction, it’s too loose.
  • If your car has lap and shoulder belts with a free-sliding latch, you must use the locking clip included with most car seats. (Locking clips are also sold separately.) Follow manufacturer’s instructions for installation. If you have any questions, contact the manufacturer. Also, many local police stations, fire stations, and hospitals can offer you assistance.
  • To make sure you have installed your car seat correctly, attend a car seat safety check and read our installation tips from the NHTSA. Many local fire departments, police stations, healthcare facilities, and even some local baby stores like Babies “R” Us will periodically hold these meetings and will examine your car seat installation at no charge.
  • Avoid used car seats. Normal wear and involvement in accidents may limit their effectiveness. Also, they may not conform to present safety standards.

General Shopping Guidelines

  • Be sure it’s a car seat – Sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to confuse some of the newer, top-of-the-line carriers with car seats. Make sure the product description specifies “car seat.”
  • Look for car seats featuring easy-release latches and buckles – When your hands are full, an easy release can save aggravation.
  • Make sure there’s wiggle room – You want your baby to be comfortable year-round, so allow room in the seat for bundling up during cold weather. Make sure the product description indicates the seat accommodates larger youngsters than yours.

Baby Backpack, Sling & Front Carrier Guide

Choosing a Backpack, Sling or Front Carrier for your Baby

Going out and about with your baby in a stroller is one way to go, but for increased mobility and potentially greater closeness, consider using a baby carrier, sling, or backpack that straps onto you via shoulder straps. Contraptions of this type conveniently free up both of your hands and allow for a closer physical connection between parent and baby. It is much easier to navigate stairs or crowded stores with a carrier than with a stroller. And, if you plan on hiking and camping with your child, then these would be your only choice, since strollers just won’t cut it on more rugged terrain. For baby, they have the added benefit of providing a view of more than just shoes and socks and the chance for added closeness and even conversation with Mom or Dad. Here are a few things to consider when purchasing any type of backpack, front-carrier, or sling:

  • Look for a carrier that is comfortable for both you and baby. Try out the ones you’re thinking of buying, rather than asking a friend for a recommendation. A carrier that fits your friend well may not fit you.
  • Carriers can be used until your baby is about 45 pounds, though you may find that they may feel too heavy and uncomfortable even before your baby reaches that weight. At that point, it’s time to try a stroller.
  • Make sure your carrier is the right size for your child’s size and age.
  • Beware of carriers that you cannot manipulate on your own. It’s unrealistic to think that you will always have a spouse or companion with you to help get your baby in and out of the carrier.
  • If you plan on sharing the carrier with someone else (like a spouse or babysitter), make sure it adjusts to fit everybody who’ll be wearing it.
  • Carriers made of fabrics that are easy to wipe clean or that can be put in the wash are best.


Front Carriers

Front carriers are made up of two shoulder straps supporting a fabric seat. They are typically designed so that your baby can ride on your chest, facing inward or outward, and have adjustable settings to help distribute your baby’s weight across your back and shoulders.

  • Front carriers are good for newborns and can hold infants up to 30 pounds, though many parents find that a backpack works better once your baby exceeds 15 or 20 pounds.
  • Front carriers allow baby to face outward and see the world while still being close to you, which may be soothing and cut down on fussiness.
  • The snug fit of front carriers makes them warm, so pick one with breathable fabric that won’t make baby too hot.
  • Use a carrier with well-padded shoulder and waist or hip straps to save your shoulders and back from strain.
  • Make sure your carrier has a sturdy headrest that will support a sleeping baby’s neck and head and that leg holes are banded with soft fabric that won’t irritate a baby’s skin.
  • Find a carrier that is easy to slip on and off by yourself and that won’t require you to wake baby to do so.
  • It is awkward to breastfeed a baby in a front carrier. If this is something you plan to do, you might want to consider a sling instead.

Parents and reviewers have been raving about the classic BABYBJORN Baby Carrier for years now, and with good reason. It is a great, easy to use carrier that fits most parents perfectly. We love it.

Our favorite carriers are:

Slings

Slings are simply a wide swath of fabric that hangs across an adult’s torso and is supported by one shoulder strap. They allow infants to lie in a fetal position or to face outward, and older babies may enjoy straddling the wearer’s hip.

  • Slings are best for carrying newborns under 20 pounds around the house or for short distances. As infants grow, they will become cramped and uncomfortable in a sling.
  • Slings are incredibly comfortable for the wearer and allow infants to rest in a comfortable, natural sleeping position. The soft material of a sling wraps around the infant, simulating the coziness of a swaddling blanket, and the swaying motion may help them sleep.
  • Slings are the easiest type of carrier in which to breastfeed.
  • Make sure the strap of your sling is comfortable and well padded.
  • Some slings can be bulky due to the large amount of fabric they contain. Watch out for slings that have an unnecessary amount of fabric in order to cut down on some of the bulk.
  • Cotton and other breathable fabrics are best for slings, which will be warm due to baby’s close proximity to the parent.

We have a few favorite slings, but our #1 is definitely the Boba Baby Wrap.

Our favorite slings include:

Baby Backpacks

A baby backpack carrier is similar to a backpack used for camping except that a seat for baby takes the place of a storage compartment for gear. The frame and straps will help distribute your baby’s weight evenly over your shoulders and hips.

  • A baby is old enough to ride in a baby backpack when she can sit up on her own (about 5 to 6 months). Until then, it’s best to stick with front-style carriers.
  • Backpacks are sometimes difficult to get on and off without help from a second person, so they may not always be convenient if you’re running errands that require taking the pack on and off at each location. Practice solo loading and unloading of baby until you get the hang of it.
  • It is especially important to make sure a backpack fits correctly and is adjusted properly.
  • Look for a lightweight backpack with an adjustable inside seat and a harness that will safely strap baby in, ideally one that fits across baby’s chest and shoulders.
  • Choose a model that has a stable support stand that allows you to prop it up while putting your child in or taking them out.
  • If you’re planning on hiking and camping with your baby, get a backpack that comes with a protective canopy to shelter him from the elements.
  • For heavier children or for hiking, look for a model with a waist belt, which will transfer some of the weight from your shoulders to your hips.
  • A model with roomy, easy-to-access pockets for stashing baby gear will be most convenient.

If you are looking to take your little ones hiking, we highly recommend the Kelty Tour Child Carrier. It is solid, easily adjustable, and recommended by many parents.

Our favorite Backpacks:

Safety Tips

  • Carriers should not be used while driving, jogging, skating, or riding a bike.
  • Frame-style carriers should be used only when baby can sit unassisted.
  • When picking something up while wearing a carrier, always bend at the knees so that baby doesn’t fall out.
  • Do not cook while baby is in the carrier.
  • Stay off stools and ladders while wearing a carrier.
  • Do not reach for overhead items that could fall and hit baby on the head.

Tandem Strollers

Double and Triple Bundles of Joy

If you’re the lucky parent of multiples or if you have an infant and toddler in your household, walking them by yourself may sound next to impossible… unless you have a stroller made especially for more than one child. Tandem strollers offer the convenience of walking two (or three) children at the same time as comfortably as if you were walking just one. These strollers are also handy for carrying a child and groceries, once one child has outgrown it. They are available in a wide variety of fabrics and features. Double strollers are appropriate for newborns only when the full-reclining seat feature is available and can be used until your toddler is approximately 4 years old.

There are two types of double strollers:

  • Front-to-Back (Tandem) Style Front-to-back style: infants face forward, one in back of the other. These strollers fold easily and compactly for storage or travel. For maneuverability, this is a good choice; however, there is that “front seat” issue. Some models, however, do give the back seat a “boost” so that both babies can enjoy the view. The front-to-back style is best if you have an older child and a newborn. Features may include: a single canopy hood, separate canopies, individually reclining seats, rear wheel brakes, fully retractable rear seat for a sleeping infant, removable/washable pads, separate footrests, and restraining straps with safety buckle.
  • Side-by-Side Style Infants sit next to each other. These strollers are lightweight and fold quickly and compactly. Most will fit through normal-size doorways, although due to their sheer width it can be difficult to maneuver this “minivan” of sorts through grocery stores, crowded events, or if your children vary greatly in size or weight. The side-by-side style is most commonly used by parents of twins (or two or more children of comparable weight). Features may include: European styling, thick padding, removable/washable pads, individually reclining seats, single shared canopy, storage basket, footrest, and restraining straps with safety buckle.

A great choice to consider is the Baby Jogger City Select or the BOB Revolution SE Duallie Stroller – both have been rated very highly by parents.

Age range: As with the single stroller, if the seats recline fully, the stroller is appropriate for a newborn. You can use it until your children are 3 to 4 years old.

Strollers We Love

Travel Systems

A Convenient Package

One of the most convenient innovations in the stroller industry in recent years has been the travel system–a convenient stroller and infant car seat in one. The infant car seat provides head, back, and neck support for your newborn, while keeping baby in a comfortable, reclined position, just like a carriage. With the stay-in-car base feature, the infant car seat can also be used as an infant carrier. This allows you to take the infant car seat from the car to stroller and vice versa without ever disturbing your baby. Many travel system manufacturers have designed these strollers so that the car seat inserts with baby facing you. However, there are styles that allow you to insert the car seat so that baby can either face toward you or away from you. Either style will offer your baby a comfortable and secure ride. Once baby outgrows the infant car seat, it can be removed, converting the system into a convenience stroller. The stroller’s own seating and restraint system is used until your child is approximately 4 years old. These strollers are designed to fold quickly, easily, and compactly for storage, and offer many features that will make it a comfortable ride… for both of you.

Stroller features may include: Child play tray; parent cup holder; 3-point or 5-point harness system (not overhead); removable, washable pad; all-terrain, swivel wheels; brakes that set with a lever or foot pedal; seat recline; and storage basket.

Infant car seat features may include: Canopy, level indicator, ergonomically designed handle, head cushion, stay-in-car base.

Age range: Newborn (for car seat) to toddler (stroller).

Check out the Britax B-Agile Travel System or the Baby Trend Expedition – two travel systems that have been getting consistently great reviews from parents.

Strollers We Love

Lightweight & Umbrella Strollers

A Featherweight Backup

Light as a feather and easy to fold, lightweight strollers generally offer the most basic features and are made to store easily in an overhead bin, trunk, or closet. While these lightweight models are unbeatable for quick jaunts to the store, many parents find that they aren’t as comfortable for children on longer stints as their midsize or full-size counterparts. Still, many parents feel a lightweight stroller is great to have when a buggy, pram, or travel system is too unwieldy (while traveling, for example).

Ultralightweight models, dubbed “umbrella” because of their hooked handles, are best when used as a second stroller. If you are looking for a lightweight, affordable stroller that’s easy to take along for the ride (or toss in the trunk of your car), this would be the perfect choice. Do keep in mind, however, that umbrella strollers are not recommended for use with newborns or infants who require a fully reclining seat and head and neck support. Featuring aluminum frames and weighing as little as 5 pounds, most umbrella models offer a safety device that prevents accidental closing. Umbrella strollers are available in a wide range of prices according to the features offered, and will last you well into the early preschool years (3 to 4).


Features may include: Aluminum frames, semi-reclining seat (some fully recline), canopy, one-step fold, locking swivel wheels, and super lightweight.

Lightweight Umbrella Stroller Age range: If the lightweight stroller reclines fully, it is safe for a newborn; however, most umbrella strollers do not fully recline or have suspension features, so to make sure your baby is in the appropriate age range for these strollers, it is best to wait until baby is at least 4 to 6 months old.

We especially liked the the Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller, a stroller which has many reviewers raving. If you can afford to spend a bit more on a stroller, the excellent Joovy Caboose Ultralight Stroller should be on the top of your list. This fine stroller is comfortable for both parent and little rider, and is the first choice of many parents we know.

Umbrella Strollers We Love

Mid-Size Strollers

Compact and Portable

Midsize strollers are designed to be portable and fold easily and compactly. You will most likely find the greatest range of prices ($40 to $500) and features in this category. Made of aluminum, the frames are relatively lightweight (typically just over 15 pounds), durable, and easy to maintain. Because of these features, they offer a smooth ride for city dwellers or those who enjoy longer walks. Because they are a bit heavier than a lightweight, they are sometimes not the best choice for travel. Although the convenient midsize strollers will offer your infant a safe and comfortable ride indoors and outdoors, only those models that offer a full-reclining seat feature are appropriate for use with newborns.

Features may include: Easy-to-use folding mechanism, midweight body (typically just over 15 pounds), canopy, and roomy storage basket. Deluxe models may include features like a fully reclining seat, extendable handle, and larger, all-terrain wheels.

Age range: If a midsize stroller fully reclines (and most do), it is safe for your newborn.

Our favorite stroller in this category is the B-Agile 3 Stroller by Britax. A solid, versatile stroller, and a great all-around choice. If you can afford to spend a bit more on your stroller, the UPPABaby Vista Stroller is a favorite among parents and should be on the top of your list.

Strollers We Love

Full-Size Strollers

Considered the “limousine” of baby strollers, full-size strollers offer numerous convenience and comfort options. Although heavier than other styles, there are some full-size models designed with aluminum frames for easier maneuvering as well as rust-resistance. Ranging from English-style buggies to feature-rich rugged models, the full-size stroller is a great all-purpose pick. Most are typically convertible–that is, they can be used as a carriage or a stroller, so they grow with your baby. Full-size strollers are appropriate for newborns because they have a full-recline feature, shock-absorbing suspension system, and oversize wheels to keep baby comfortable while strolling over varying terrain, and they remain suitable for use until your child reaches approximately 3 or 4 years of age.

Features may include: Multiple-position seat recline and strong back support, removable weather boot, extra seat padding, removable front tray, large storage basket, European-style canopy, reversible handle for conversion to carriage, dual wheel brakes, and adjustable footrest.

Age range: If the stroller reclines fully, it is appropriate for a newborn. It can be used with children up to 3 to 4 years of age.

Our favorite stroller is without a doubt the Bugaboo Cameleon3 Complete Stroller, a stroller that combines function, style, durability and most importantly safety to keep your baby happy and comfortable.

Strollers We Love