Re: Carseat or Travel System ?

Updated on January 19, 2010
A.B. asks from Medina, OH
7 answers

Hi gals, We are adopting a baby this year and we are starting to look for a carseat. Can you offer advice on which brands are best and what type ? I've been seeing infant carseats, convertible carseats and also the carseat travel systems (carseat w/ stroller). What we would like is something that is rear facing for infancy, then can be a regular carseat, along with a matching stroller. Thanks in advance for all of your great advice. I love this site :)

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answers from Terre Haute on

There are infant car seats, often called infant carriers, that are sometimes bought as a travel system but can be purchased alone. These seats rear face only, and go to 22, 30, 32, or 35 pounds depending on the make/model. The 22 pound ones are outgrown rather quickly, around 6-9 months for some children. The higher weight ones can be used until 15-18 months for an average sized child. At the time the infant carrier is outgrown, you'd need to purchase a convertible car seat. These car seats rear face, and then you can turn them so they forward face. A child needs to remain rear facing for a minimum of 2 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a minimum of 2 years, or until the rear facing car seat is outgrown-- which can be 3-4 years or longer. Rear facing is 500% safer for children 4 and under and can reduce the risk of serious death or injury in an accident by 70%. It is absolutely necessary that you do not forward face your child prior to at least 2 years. But like I said, that's just a minimum. The longer the better! I hate a 4 year 8 month old daughter that is 42 inches tall and weighs 36 pounds who rear faces in a Graco My Ride 65 half of the time- her other seat is a forward facing Graco Nautilus).
I urge you to go to for car seat advice and suggestions. Also, please take a look at the following information for rear facing: (my little ones are at :47 seconds)

You can also skip the infant carrier and just use a rear facing convertible car seat, if you wish. There are a few of these seats that are NOT good for newborns though, and this inclused the Safety 1st Avenue, any Britax convertible seat, and the Safety 1st Complete Air. These car seats don't have a low enough harness slot for the harness to be below a newborns shoulders. Sometimes these seats aren't grown into until a child is 4-9 months old, depending on their size.

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answers from Washington DC on

If you want a rear facing seat for an infant that then becomes a regular car seat you won't be able to get it as a travel system (travel systems are the seat you can carry around with you). It would definitely work out cheaper in the long run to buy a convertable seat (Britax Marathon is a popular choice , have 1 myself). Infant carriers seat are useful when you literally just need to run into a store for something , but I never kept by babies in them for long periods of time , I always led them flat in the stroller. Also travel systems can be quite bulky and heavy , I regretted buying mine when my first child was 2 months old , as a mom of 3 I would say buy a convertable car seat , in a neutral color/pattern (it's surprising how mucky they can get) and buy a light weight stroller that is suitable from birth , something like a Mclaren.

Hope this helps



answers from Cincinnati on

I would think about a couple of things when considering car seats. If you are going to get an infant seat, I would go ahead and get a travel system. They cost only a little bit more (it is worth it), and you'll have a stroller you can use even once the child has outgrown the car seat. I don't know the age of the baby you will be adopting, but the little pumpkin seats that come with the travel systems are only good up to 20 pounds. My son outgrew his when he was about 6 months old! However, for the first 6 months, it was much easier than a regular car seat. I could carry him around without unbuckling him, and if he fell asleep while I was pushing him around the mall, I could put him in the car without waking him. SO NICE.

I had a Graco travel system, and loved it. I would definitely buy one again. We still use the stroller, of course. We also looked into the Chicco, because I have friends who swear by them. I would go to a Babies R Us and look over the different models. I didn't think the Chiccos were worth the extra money, but I have had other friends who thought a couple of the different features on the Chicco (such as that the handle can be raised or lowered) were worth it, so it will be what is important to you. Graco also has lighter-weight travel systems, although we didn't go with one in the end.

We liked our Graco travel system so much that, when our son outgrew the pumpkin seat, we bought a Graco My Ride 65, and we really like it, as well. The My Ride, like infant seats, can handle infants of any age, and is rear-facing (it can be forward-facing as well, but it can remain rear-facing up to 40 pounds!) However, it is designed to remain in the car, and does not have a detachable base. When my son falls asleep in the car now, he almost always wakes up when I unbuckle him.

I will say that I wasn't thrilled with all of the Graco car seats. I purchased a Graco Comfortsport, and though there was nothing really wrong with it, I really felt that the My Ride felt studier and more comfortable, and I feel better with my son in the My Ride.

Britax have good reputations, too, although we have never used one. They tend to be more expensive, but I have friends that swear by them.

Mostly, go to the stores. Don't be afraid to get down various car seats and play with them. Compare options and prices - there's a lot to do, but I know you'll figure it out. Good luck.



answers from Detroit on

My son is 1 years old and we went a different route with the car seat and stroller. Test out the strollers. The ones that 'match' the carseats and are sold as a travel system are sooooo heavy. We purchased a Peg Pergo stroller that fit with our infant carseat. The issue with getting one carseat that goes from infant to rear facing to foward facing is that until about 6 months old or so you need some type of 'seat' to put your baby in the stroller they are not strong enough to support themself in the stroller alone. The posisitve of an infant carseat is you can get them all bundled up in the house and just drop and go into the base of the carseat already in the car. Much easier than a convertible carseat...I miss mine. The downside, after about 6 months the baby and the seat get heavy. Once my baby was old enough to sit in his stroller alone with the seat life was much better. My stroller weighs 9 lbs. Not 17-20 like the others. The stroller will be with me for a much longer time than the carseat. I had the Graco Snug Fit carseat and love it. It doesnt match perfectly but enough. Good luch with whatever you decide.



answers from Fort Wayne on

We bought the Chicco Keyfit 30 travel system for our daughter and loved it. The only downfall, as she grew into toddler size, the stroller reclined a little too much for her. Otherwise it is great. When she outgrew the infant seat we purchased the Britax Marathon. It is wonderful. She loves her seat and usually falls fast asleep on every car ride. Both seats have very high safety ratings and are easy to install. Good luck!



answers from Indianapolis on

I highly recommend the travel system, especially if you are adopting an infant. Will they be newborn or older? For the first year of life, the infant car seat and travel system are a must have. However, the infant car seats are not meant to forward face after they become of age to forward face. Most of the infant seats like Graco (I have a Graco travel system) go up to 30lbs and 30in and I kept my son rear faced for about 13 months until he outgrew his seat, then I invested in a Britax Marathon which is a convertible, one of the best on the market. Those too can be used for infants, but they are not easy to take in and out of the car and use when shopping or on a stroller like the travel systems. I guess it would depend on if you are adopting a newborn or an older infant on which kind of seat I would buy. I can still use my travel system stroller with my 2 year old, but he much prefers to walk! We have another on the way and the travel system will certainly come in handy! Good luck!



answers from Cincinnati on

IMO the travel system is way too much work; storage, lifting, keeping track of it when you're out.

If I were you, I would look into using a Mei Tei sling or Maya wrap, especially so you can bond more with your child. It will also let you keep the child close while you are caring for the other 6 children at work. I think wearing your baby is much better than carrying your baby around in a bucket all day long. I think it would be especially important when adopting: Also, they are easier to carry around.

We also used an umbrella stroller which takes up less space and is easy to carry around when you are not using it. We got a couple of the higher end Evenflo convertible car seats for our cars. We like both versions that we got. We were able to use them from newborn. We are still using them just fine at age 3+.

Congrats on the upcoming adoption! Welcome to motherhood. :)

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