Stroller / Car Seat Recommendations

Updated on October 12, 2010
J.W. asks from Chicago, IL
17 answers

My husband and I are having our first child and we just recently attempted a baby registry. It is so overwhelming. There are so many different brands and models out there that we don't know what is best. Any thoughts on which brand and model is best for a car seat and stroller?

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answers from Chicago on

Chicco Key fit for infant car seat. Britax for convertible car seat - no question. Expensive but worth it for safety. Also, don't get a travel system. What a waste! And I wish someone would have told me. I would've spent more money on a nicer stroller that would last 3 -4 years. Baby Jogger City Mini or such.



answers from Chicago on

No travel system here either. Got the Graco Snugride and Snap N Go stroller frame. Now that my baby is older I got the Graco My Ride carseat and BOB stroller.

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answers from Chicago on

I did a lot of research on this, as my husband and I just had our first 2.5 weeks ago...for 2010 the safest is the Chicco Keyfit - we did the keyfit 30 (fits up to 30 pounds) and we did the Chicco stroller as well (so the car seat snaps into the stroller) - we LOVE it and have heard a lot of others who have the same system say the same thing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Before you choose a car seat , I would consider the vehicle that you have first of all. A seat needs to fit the car that it is to be installed into in order for it to work correctly and be safe. Go to somewhere like Babies R Us where they have more selection and ask to try some of the seats into the car , bare in mind that a seat in reverse posistion (even infant carriers) take up more room , the base alone that an infant carrier fixes onto are quite wide and should not overhang the front of the seat. Once you have tried some and you know what fits your car , you can narrow down your choices that way. Also keep in mind that the most expensive does not always mean it is the safest. I have always used Britax seats , not because they are the best but because they always seem to fit well into the car , they are easy to install aswell. My personal opinion aswell is not to worry about having an infant carrier that fixes to a stroller , on average a baby will be out of an infant carrier by 12 months old , so you would no longer need it on the stroller. Also babies shouldn't be in an infant seat for more than 2 hrs at a time , so unless you are dashing into a store it's better to put the baby into the stroller anyway. Choose a stroller that is suitable from birth , folds/unfolds without needing a degree to be able to and doesn't weigh a ton , these were always on the top of my list. Mclaren make strollers that are good from birth and are easy to put up and down , and they are very light and easy to maneuver.

Congratulations on your baby and I hope you get some useful information

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Congratulatios! I highly recommend getting the book "Baby Bargains". It grades all sorts of baby products - high chairs, strollers, car seats, bedding...basically everything and the ratings are based on other parents reviews, recalls and some other stuff that I can't remember right now. It was our Bible when we were expecting our first child, as well as asking friends and family.



answers from Chicago on

I echo the recommendations to pick up Baby Bargains. We got the Chicco travel system with our first son, and I found the travel system in general to be a beast. The Chicco infant seat is very heavy, too. We live in the city and use public transportation a lot, so we ended up rarely using the stroller that came with the travel system. It's too bad, because that stroller is very easy to maneuver, has a great storage basket and is a smoother ride than many of the compact strollers. With our second son and the need to get a double stroller as well, I learned that the Chicco seat was not compatible with many of the double strollers, including a sit 'n stand. We ended up getting a Snap 'n Go for the Chicco seat, which was awesome! It has good storage, cup holders and is super easy to fold and store, as well as maneuver with one hand. I'd recommend going with a Graco for the compatibility issues if/when you're planning on the second child. Even if you get a non-Graco double stroller that requires a carseat adapter, it will accommodate a Graco.

As for your baby registry, think about how much space and storage you have before registering for non-newborn stuff. It will save you money down the road if you can register for a jumperoo or exersaucer or a high chair and not have to buy it yourself, but you also have to be able to store it until you need it.



answers from Chicago on

I so know where you are at. That decision and which bottles threw me into a tizzy. I went with a Graco travel system and for later an Eddie Bauer 3-in-1 safety seat. I LOVE my stroller and now that he is larger his 3-in-1. HTH



answers from Missoula on

I bought a Chicco KeyFit 30 when my son was born in November 2007. We also received a Graco Snugride as a hand-me-down, so we put the Chicco in my car and the Graco in my husband's. I would say hands-down I prefer the Chicco. It is easy to install, easy to use, and very safe. It is a bit heavier than the Gracco, but I didn't mind that since it just felt more sturdy to me. Both of those seats are infant carriers. If you want to just go with a convertible then I would recommend a Britax Marathon.
In terms of strollers, we received a stroller base that the infant seat snapped into, and I really like it. We didn't get the whole travel system, we had the one I just mentioned and an lightweight umbrella stroller by Maclaren that I really like for once baby was older, (6 months or so).
I'm expecting baby boy number 2 in March and all these things have held up really well and will be perfect for this baby also.
I remember spending a ridiculous amount of time researching all this baby stuff too, it can seem overwhelming. My advice is not to let it drive you crazy, there are lots of great carseats and strollers out there.
Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

We researched like crazy! Here is what we registered for....
graco snugride carseat
Uppa baby stroller (not sure your price point, but we live in lakeview an dwalk everywhere, so a graco would not work for us)
The snugride can click right into the uppa base for the first couple of months.
Britax marathon carseat.
we switched my son into it when he was 6 months. He is 18 months now, and still rearfacing in it. It is pricier than others, but goes up to 70 pounds, so he will never need another seat. Send me a message if you want more info. I loved registering:)
We also got the Uppa baby umbrella stroller that we keep in the car and it is great for traveling.



answers from Chicago on


When I was doing this research (my son is now 14 months), I found that the Graco Snugride, (and I think the Chicco Keyfit?) were the two top rated for safety in car seats. We got the Graco Snugride 32.

Best advice I got prior to our baby was 'don't get the travel system'. If you get, e.g. the Graco, you can get the 'snap 'n go' which is a stroller base, and you can easily latch the Graco seat into it. It's much cheaper, and very light and easy to pull in and out of the trunk, etc. Nice if your baby is sleeping too, then you don't have to move him out of his car seat to a stroller, just move the car seat.
The travel system is expensive and the stroller portion is heavy and bulky. Rather wait till your child outgrows his car seat, and then you can test out different strollers with him in it to choose the best one for you. We got the Babyjogger City Mini (we live in the city but I do a lot of driving). We love it. Best feature is the one handed pull up. Super easy to fold it up and throw it in the back of the trunk WHILE holding my son.

Now that my son has outgrown his infant seat, we got him the Britax Boulevard, which is top rated for safety and super comfortable. He is over a year and 20 pounds, but we keep him rear facing. Google "extended rear-facing" and "Joel's Journey" for more info on why it's far far safer to keep your child rear-facing in a car seat for as long as possible.

All the best to you!

P.S. Oh, and go have the car seat professionally installed. Apparently 85% of car seats are not installed properly, which can lead to them not being as effective, obviously. Google car seat installation for more info on where you can have this done, for free. You often need to set an appt in advance, so I would check this out as soon as possible. IL has a 'drive safe' (or something like that) program.



answers from Chicago on

I wouldn't worry about getting a "travel system", but focus more on a stroller that fits your needs and make sure it has an adapter for major car seat brands. Our area has really bumpy sidewalks, so the strollers that come with most of the travel systems were awful for walking outside. We ended up with a Baby Jogger City model (City Elite, I think?) and now have a Valco Baby double. Both are great with nice sized tires for outdoors. If you just want a stroller for inside, you have tons of options.

For our first child, we had a really lightweight car seat (Evenflo model that isn't made anymore.) For our second, I got a Chicco Keyfit 30 because I liked the styles and because of the good safety ratings. It is so heavy! I know it's only a couple pounds heavier than the Graco, but I wish I'd bought the Graco. Our Evenflo had lower weight and height limits than the Chicco (30 inches, 30 lbs), but our son wanted out of it and in a rear-facing convertible seat before he was close to those limits. Who wants to carry a 30 lb baby and a 10 lb seat!?

Just remember that you will only use the "travel system" for the first year. They your baby will be in a different car seat, and you will be stuck with whatever stroller came with your system. That said, I did like having the carrier for the first year instead of going with a convertible seat right away. It's nice to transport them and let them sleep.

For convertible seats, we got a Radian (nice for our narrower vehicle, but not as comfy for longer trips) and an Evenflo Triumph (seems comfy for our son). Everyone seems to like the Britax models though.



answers from Chicago on

Hi J.,

Congrats! I also highly recommend Baby Bargains. It was so helpful in the beginning and is still a great reference book even for our 2 1/2-year-old.

First you have to decide whether you'd like to get an infant car seat (one that has a base that stays in the car and a seat that pops out) or just a convertible car seat (one that can be used either rear-facing or forward-facing). We got an infant car seat, the Grago SnugRide, and then switched to a convertible car seat when our daughter was just over a year old (depends on your child's size). For convertible car seats, I would recommend Britax, hands-down. We have the Roundabout, which is the only one that fits in compact cars. They're very easy to use, well-padded, and can be used for a long time (the weight limit on most models is something like 65 lbs.).

For strollers, Baby Bargains recommends (assuming you're getting an infant car seat) to just get a stroller frame (Baby Trend Snap 'n' Go, Grago SnugRider) and then figure out what your stroller needs are. The stroller market is huge! The book also has a section that has different stroller recommendations based on whether you live in the city or suburbs, what you'll be using your stroller for, etc.

We live in the city, and we have a Baby Jogger City Mini. It handles well, has a 5-pt. harness, great seat recline, amazing full-coverage canopy, is lightweight, relatively compact, and has an awesome one-hand fold. It's kind of mid-priced ($230 or so), but the downsides are there's not much storage space (we go grocery shopping with our stroller a lot) and all the accessories (child tray, parent console, rain cover, foot muff, etc.) cost extra. If you find that you want/need a second stroller, Maclarens are great! We use ours for going on the bus, on trips in the car, etc.

I hope that's helpful.

Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy, labor, and birth,



answers from Seattle on

I also used Graco Snugride carseat and the Graco Metrolite stroller. I'd also recommend registering for a Snap-and-Go - basically a stroller frame that you can click the infant carseat into; much easier than using the bulky stroller for the same purpose.



answers from Chicago on

i am sure you will get plenty of carseat recommendations, but dont bother getting the travel systems! Just get the Snap and Go that the carseat attaches to, then when your little one outgrows that you will have a better idea of your need. Some want a good umbrella stroller, others a good jogging stroller. the strollers in the travel systems are made TERRIBLY, they fall apart after several months and become difficult to handle. Also if you sign up for a convertible carseat get one with a high weight limit for rear facing. You want to keep your child rear facing for as long as possible. New recommendations are until age2, or as long as the child is under the rear limit specifications of the carseat. Britax is always a great brand and they just came out with new and improved carseats!



answers from St. Cloud on

Britax Chaperone!!! Britax makes great car seats. And this set is no exception.

This is the only infant seat that has side impact protection!

Yes, it's larger, heavier, ext. than some but that comes with quality and safety. The stroller has some great features too! Check them out on youtube. I did a bunch of research on sets before we decided to purchase this and we hare so happy we did!

PS> We ordered the cowmooflauge and LOVE it! Get a ton of compliments.

Check it out online. It's running about $389 on sale now (reg like $500....)



answers from Chicago on

You really do need to run (not walk) to the nearest bookstore and get yourselves a copy of Baby Bargains. It helps cut through all the noise and narrows your decisions down to what fits your lifestyle and budget best...seriously!

That being said...we live in the city and have the Phil & Teds Sport. We knew we would be wanting a second child fairly soon after having the first, so it made the most sense to us to get a convertible stroller (meaning it adapts with a jump seat to hold two instead of just one). That way we didn't need to go out and buy a double stroller two years later after spending all that money on one! We are very happy with it and has served us well (we now have an almost 3 yr old and a 6 month old.

For car seats we went with the Chicco Key Fit 30. We liked the safety ratings (never mind that my oldest isn't even close to 30 lbs yet!).

Good luck and congrats!

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