Need to Pick a Carseat and a Stroller

Updated on October 15, 2008
D.W. asks from Paradise Valley, AZ
19 answers

I am looking for a sturdy, but light weight, stroller that will recline into a completely flat position. I am really suprised that I am having a hard time finding this. All of the strollers that recline flat seem really heavy and cumbersome and the lighter weight ones seem to only recline about 3/4 of the way. Any suggestions? Also, does anyone have any consumer report info on car seats? We still need to buy that as well.
thanks a bunch!! D.

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So What Happened?

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your responses! I'll be doing some shopping!

Featured Answers

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M.N.

answers from Denver on

My online store actully offers great quality products. chacalit.mychoices.biz. Some girls I work with bought their combo from my site.

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E.C.

answers from Phoenix on

Combi sells a stroller that reclines completely for about $200, it's called the I-thru stroller, and it comes and cool colors too! good luck, I hope it's what you're looking for.

More Answers

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T.D.

answers from Phoenix on

This isn't a stroller, but since you're a chiropactor, you'll most likely be amazed at the pain most baby carriers can cause. I have a Bjorn front carrier, New Native Sling, Nojo Sling, Maya Wrap and a Moby Wrap. The only one that I can wear for any long period of time with out neck or back pain or my posture being compromised is the Moby Wrap. It's hard to tell that your carrying any extra wieght! I wish I had known about it with my first baby.

Anyway, look online at www.MobyWrap.com Or there's a similar one at Babies R Us, but it's not as high quality and they don't offer many colors.

Congats!!!!
Congrats!

1 mom found this helpful
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W.H.

answers from Denver on

I have to tell you that my Husband bought every kind of stroller known to god. The stroller system with car seat (the strolle sits in our living room, has been used 1 time)The jogging stroller (if we jogged- I could see the potential use) and the McLearen (Love it) it is all I use. If is light weight, folds down. We take out 10 month son everywhere in it. He was napping at the taste of colorado this past weekend, in a full reclined position. Go to costco- they are cheap there, and it is the mac daddy edition.

Good luck!

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A.J.

answers from Tucson on

Hey there!
We bought into the whole graco stroller car seat combo before we knew better! I will admit that we used the car seat carrier for about 4 months before my son grew out of the length and weight limit. NEVER again! Our son is in no way huge, but as our doctor said babies usually weight more then 21 pounds before their first birthday! Every time we are at babies-r-us I see these poor people buying into the whole combo thing and I feel the need to tell them that most of the time you wont get the use out of that carrier unless you plan on ignoring the safety warnings!
Anyway with that said I will put my two cents in on the car seat. We spent the extra cash and bought the Britax Boulevard car seat. The weight limit is 5 to 65 pounds, and hopefully by that weight he will be in a booster or alone! Our son loves it! We used it rear facing from 4 months until he was one and I loved how easy it is to get them in and out of! The Boulevard has side impact protectors which help incase you cant have them in the middle seat. It is easy to wash the cover and you can buy extra covers if you feel the need. The one downfall is that it is heavy and was a pain to travel with until we found this web site, www.gogobabyz.com this place makes an attachment for the back of the car seat that puts two wheels and a pull up bar so that the baby can ride through the airport! It has been a life savor since I travel a lot alone with him! I hope that helps ya!

Good luck,
A.

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L.

answers from Denver on

So I have like, 3 strollers: 1 jogging stroller, 1 graco and finally, 1 Maclaren.

The Graco combo was great in the beginning when we were using the infant car seat but, after she outgrew the infant carseat, it wasn't so great. The stroller is really heavy and takes up a lot of space in the trunk. Also, when we were traveling (which we do a lot), it was a pain to deal with.

So I got the Maclaren, and honestly, I wish I had started with this one in the first place. I have the triumph which is the ultra light one, but you can get the slightly heavier models that do recline back. They're super light, easy to collapse, and also very durable. I've taken mine everywhere from LA to Paris and it's held up quite nicely.

As for Carseats, I have the Britax Marathon. Highest weight limit and also, the safest. A big thing to look at when looking for carseats are the straps and how easy it is to install. The Britax has the latch system down nicely so is really easy to install, whereas I find the Gracos that I use when I rent a car take forever to try to hook into the latches in the car.

Congratulations!

L.

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A.K.

answers from Denver on

My friend has one that converts to every conceivable angle and goes completely flat like a bassinet. It's a Gerry. It didn't seem very heavy to me.

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K.S.

answers from Lubbock on

D.,
I subscribe to consumer reports magazine, however, I am pretty sure that at their online site (consumerreports.org) that you can look up carseat safety reviews for free. Most of their reviews you must be a subscriber to view. I trust them for an unbiased review.

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T.K.

answers from Phoenix on

Go to Toys R Us... they usually have a good selection. I have a double stoller and the back seat goes down all the way...

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D.D.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi D.,
We did a lot of research and bought a book, baby bargains that was very helpful.

We have the Inglesina Zippy stroller which everyone comments about how great it is. It is lightweight, fits in anyone's trunk, reclines fully, and has one handed opening and collapsing.

We love the Britax Marathon. It is a convertible so you can use it newborn and up. Our nine month old baby loves it and it is rated very highly for safety.

Email me anytime if you want other suggestions. My husband and I both work full time so we need baby stuff that really works as she is out and about a lot.

Good luck with your little one. The travelsystems are too big and bulky for us by the way.

D. D.

[email protected]____.com

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S.

answers from Phoenix on

www.baby-gaga.com is a great site to help you with the stroller ideas. Be sure to make sure you have read all of the pages thats offered. I found that the Maclaren was the one for me. Its ranking and all that was said. It is very easy for me to do all on my own with my daughter in my hands. Steering it is a dream. Wonderful. As for the car seat the reports that I read narrowed it to the Truimp Evenflo Carseat. For infant as well as for when the child is a bit older. It has been amazing for us. Very much so lives up to the reviews. I did not get the fancy dancy one, just the one that was written about in the consumer reports. They have some with plush padding and all that stuff for more money. I found it worked best to just buy the head support for her for the car seat. That way I could take it out and use it else where as well. I had a Graco stroller combo and it was very hard to steer as well as somewhat heavy. Just not easy, many others agree with that. I hope you find what your looking for. You can go online and check out the consumer reports. However if you dont pay you can only check it out for a time period and then it expires.

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J.L.

answers from Phoenix on

We have a Bugaboo and it reclines 100%. It's expensive, but worth every penny! We absolutely love it. However, I don't know that you necessarily need a stroller that reclines all the way. My friends have been perfectly happy with their strollers that recline most of the way.
We also have the Graco Snugride infant car seat and Graco Snugride stroller frame that goes with it. The Graco car seat can be used with the Bug - you just buy the adaptor for it. Our baby is small, so at 8 mos, he still fits into the infant car seat. We already have the Britax Marathon too, for when he grows out of the Snugride - it's just waiting to be installed in our car.

The following is the Consumer Reports info on car seats:

For some child car seats, slim safety margins

Consumer Reports Video
SAFETY ALERT
Booster seat safety


The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to keep children in
rear-facing car seats as long as possible--ideally up to the car seat's
weight limit--because it's generally safer.

But when we crash-tested rear-facing car seats at manufacturers' claimed
weight limits, several had significant problems.

The attachment broke on the Combi Avatar convertible seat, sending it flying
off the test rig, at a crash speed lower than that which the government
requires car seats to withstand. We rate the Combi Avatar as Not Acceptable,
and urge the manufacturer to fix the problem.

The Evenflo PortAbout 5 infant seat flew off its base at a crash speed just
above the federal standard, a margin of safety that is too small, in our
judgment. We have rated it poor for crash protection.

Two other seats had problems that were less serious. The Britax Marathon
convertible seat and the Combi Tyro infant seat tilted back on impact more
than the federal standard allows. But those car seats didn't break loose in
our tests.

With all four models, problems occurred only when the seats were in their
rear-facing position and attached with Lower Anchors and Tethers for
Children, or LATCH, a universal connection system for child car seats and
passenger vehicles in which connectors on the car seat attach to metal
anchors in the car.

By contrast, when we connected the child car seats with car safety belts,
all performed fine. So if you already own one of those car seats, you don't
need to throw it out. Just install it with the car's own safety belt, not
with the LATCH connection. Other details of our tests include the following:

. There appear to be problems in the way some car seats or their LATCH
straps are designed. On multiple units, the LATCH strap broke on the Combi
Avatar and the seat disconnected from the base on the Evenflo PortAbout 5.
We noted a similar though less severe problem with the PortAbout 5 when we
tested that model two years ago.

. A number of seats in the rear-facing position did a poor to fair job
restraining the head of our test dummy from rebounding into the vehicle's
back seat after a crash.

We did find excellent choices among the dozens of models we tested. Most
infant and convertible seats received excellent or very good scores in our
crash tests; all booster seats performed well. We also found that some $70
seats performed as well as those costing $200.

Moreover, designs in general appear to be getting better. More boosters have
shoulder-belt guides to allow proper belt retraction in a crash. Attachment
tethers are more secure. Manufacturers have adopted safer, five-point
harness systems. And many LATCH connections make car seats simpler to
install.

Testing to the limits

Consumer Reports is the only organization in the U.S. to rate car seats for
crash protection. All seats are tested with LATCH straps at least once. If
we discover a problem, we buy more units and test the seats further at two
labs. For this report, all seats were tested in simulated head-on crashes at
or very near the federal safety standard of 30 mph. (The test is such that
crash speeds vary slightly.) We used test dummies at the manufacturer's
maximum claimed weight. That's up to 22 pounds for rear-facing infant seats
and up to 35 pounds for rear-facing convertible seats.

Manufacturers certify that their car seats meet those conditions. After the
seats are on the market, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
tests them, but not at their limits. NHTSA uses a crash-test speed of 28.5
to 29 mph and test dummies of 20 pounds--far less, in some cases, than the
manufacturers' maximum claimed weight.

It's debatable how many children at those upper weight limits travel in the
rear-facing position. Many like to face forward by the time they're that
big. Our examination of federal data found no reported severe injuries
related to the problems we discovered in our crash tests.

Still, the makers of the Combi Avatar convertible seat say on the box that
it can hold a child up to 30 pounds in its rear-facing position. In one
crash test at that weight and at a speed of just 28.9 mph, the LATCH strap
connecting the rear-facing seat was completely cut, and the seat lunged off
the test rig. The same result occurred with another sample at 30.1 mph, just
above the federal standard. In a third test at 29.7 mph, the LATCH strap
length adjuster broke, and the seat shell cracked. The Avatar passed our
crash tests with standard vehicle belts, but its failure with LATCH led us
to judge it Not Acceptable.

The rear-facing Evenflo PortAbout 5 infant seat, which we tested with a
dummy weighing 22 pounds, the manufacturer's claimed weight limit, tumbled
off its base when we used LATCH at speeds of 30.4 mph in two of five
separate tests. With standard vehicle belts, the seat stayed put. The
PortAbout 5's poor crash-protection performance led to its overall score of
fair.

The Britax Marathon convertible seat remained attached with LATCH in crash
tests at the federal speed standard. But with a 33-pound dummy, the
manufacturer's maximum claimed weight, the seat tilted back excessively. We
think that could happen in a real crash if the seat is not installed
perfectly. The Combi Tyro infant seat also tilted back too far in crashes at
its 22-pound weight limit.

Both the Marathon and the Tyro passed our crash tests with a standard belt,
but their problems with LATCH somewhat reduced their overall scores.

The problems we saw in our tests highlight a discrepancy that is not widely
reported: LATCH and vehicle safety belts don't behave identically with
weights at or close to the manufacturers' limits. One possible explanation
is that the LATCH strap webbing is narrower and may be weaker than a
standard vehicle safety belt. In some seats, including the Britax Marathon,
the belt track isn't the same for LATCH and the vehicle belt, leading to
potentially different crash dynamics.

It's worth noting that in our crash tests we positioned the child car seat
at an angle that simulates the rear seat of most passenger vehicles today.
That 15-degree angle is included in a new federal car-seat standard to take
effect in August. The current standard is modeled after the 8-degree,
flatter seat angle of a 1970s-era Chevrolet Impala. Representatives of
Britax, Combi, and Evenflo said they did not anticipate making major design
changes to meet the new standards.

Problems with rebound

We found other differences among car seats when we assessed the risk that
the head of a rear-facing infant would hit the vehicle's back seat when
rebounding from a frontal crash.

In one convertible seat with otherwise high marks, the Britax Roundabout,
the crash dummy's head hit the top of the test rig's backrest when we tested
the seat without its tether. With several other seats, the rebound caused
the car seat to lunge severely, but the dummy's head didn't hit the seat. We
liked a feature on the Britax Companion, a plastic bar over the front of the
car seat base, which did a very good job preventing rebound.

This evaluation is not one that the government requires. Consumers Union,
publisher of Consumer Reports, thinks it should be. Rebound requirements are
mandatory in Australia and New Zealand, and all seats sold there have a
front anti-rebound bar or a tether.

What you can do

. Always use a car seat. All states require car seats for children under 4
years old; many require booster seats for older children. Consumers Union
believes older children up to 57 inches should ride in booster seats.

. When possible, position the car seat in the center of the back seat, the
safest place in a vehicle, even if that means attaching the car seat with
the car safety belt and not the LATCH system.

. Never install a car seat using both the LATCH strap and the vehicle safety
belt. This restricts the belts from absorbing crash energy.


The Combi Avatar convertible seat flew off the test rig, its connector
severed. The crash test was conducted below the speed that the government
says car seats must withstand.
The Evenflo PortAbout 5 infant seat detached from its base in this crash
test just above the federal speed threshold.

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J.W.

answers from Denver on

I can't tell you how much I love my Graco Lightrider stroller/ travel system. I am on baby # 2 and I love it again. It is lightweight, I think it reclines all the way -certainly has worked for both my children, they have taken long naps in it from just trips out and about and it actually substituted for his bed on our Jamaica trip on days that we didn't want to leave the beach mid afternoon. It is reasonable in price and snugride is the carseat and is rated very highly. I have noticed at babies r us that they have several models of the stroller on its own and then one or 2 travel systems. The individual strollers have a few different types of seat lowering devices depending on the pattern you chose. I would just say try them out to see which you like best. Also your newborn will spend most of their time sleeping in the carseat inserted in the stroller (mine does still at 8 months) so having a flat seat may or may not really be an issue.

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K.

answers from Phoenix on

Try a McClaren. They are very lightweight (I've carried mine on my back through the airport with the shoulder strap, while loaded down with luggage and my daughter)Some of them fold down completely and have an infant seat attachment that will accommodate most types of infant seats. It is as compact as an umbrella stroller.

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S.T.

answers from Phoenix on

I do not have the information on carseats that you are requesting but being that I am a Doula and Childbirth Educator would love to know more about your chiropractic business.

Thanks,
S.

[email protected]____.com

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K.

answers from Phoenix on

the peg perego pliko reclines *almost* all the way, and you can use their bassinet or the car seat in it, so it can work as a travel system without being one of those huge plasticky graco things.

in my opinion, the car seat-carrier *does* get heavy fast, but when you've got a sleeping baby in the car, the last thing you want to do is unbuckle them from those 400 straps that seem bigger than they are and put them in a stroller, esp when it's your first wee one. and really, how far are you planning to carry it? for me it was either from the car to the side of the car to click the seat into the stroller, or to put it in the cart.

you can't use the carrier for *that* long, but it was totally worth it for me. just think about what will work best for you, and your car. and while they outgrow the weight limit for use in the car quickly, you can still use the carrier in stores, etc., which works really well when you're grocery shopping, etc.

aside from that, go Britax all the way with the car seats. totally worth any extra money.

i've had a million strollers, because i'm nutty that way, and the peg or the maclaren is my favorite so far. i've had a peg pliko, and then one of those big peg models with all the bells and whistles, a graco city lite, and a maclaren. i liked the peg models for when my little one was smaller because there seemed to be more structure to them, but once i got a maclaren the peg just sits in the garage (my daughter could climb in and out by herself by then).

anyway, just my opinion. i'd go to babies r us at scottsdale and the 101 and really look at everything, and you may even want to get one of those frames that holds the carrier, (they're cheap, about $50) and then get your real stroller once you have the baby, because you'll have a better idea of what you really want and need.

ummm, could i have written any more about this? have fun shopping!

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.S.

answers from Denver on

Hi D.,
Just wanted to put congratulations in order! I have 2 grown children, and 1 four month old Grandaughter, and they grow so fast!
ENJOY-

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

L.S.

answers from Denver on

For the stroller, you may also want to look at Phil & Teds (www.philandteds.com). We loved ours.

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.F.

answers from Denver on

I am wondering why you want a stroller that reclines all the way? As a Chiropractor, you can understand how reclining an infant all the way could increase the risk of choking. Even when I had a stroller that did recline all the way I didn't use it in that position. My son didn't like it anyway, reclining in the stroller or the stroller for that matter.

Anyway, I say ditch the stroller and wear your baby. There are a lot of Mei Tais (Asian baby style carriers) and wraps out there that you can get that fold up into your diaper bag! Check out thebabywearer.com for more information on different styles and ratings. ALso, as a Chiropractor, you might appreciate storchenwiege site on the research of baby carriers: http://www.storchenwiege.com/babycarrierresearch.htm

And you are in Scottsdale so you can get your Bumkins right there and save lots of money on shipping! (Bumkins = all-in-one/AIO cloth diapers that are as easy to use as disposables.)

Also, Consumer Reports has reported that their recent tests that were all over the news (as posted here previously) were not conducted properly. Please see the Consumer Reports site at consumerreports.org, and click on:
"CR withdraws infant car seat report
Move is made pending additional testing now underway

What we really need to start asking as conusmers and parents is why seats are made better in countries with higher standards, and why our standards aren't higher in the U.S.?

We use Britax car seats, only with LATCH, properly installed, and our 4 year old is still in 5-pt harness because it's safer than a booster seat and he thinks he's a race car driver! :>D

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