When you are searching for the best baby travel system you may find in a market, you need to make a tandem purchase –beside the carrier/car seat, you’ll need a reliable stroller as well. The combo needs to be safe, lightweight and easily interchangeable amongst other things. There is a concerning fact that almost 80 percent of child seats are installed incorrectly, and that increases the risk for child to be injured in a car accident. All car seats must meet federal safety standards in a 30 mph crash test. The safest car seat is the one installed correctly and securely every time, and fits your child properly. Spending much money at the infant car seat/stroller doesn’t ensure that you’ll get the best performing seat. There are certain mid-priced models in the market that work equally or better than the higher-priced models. Regardless of price, some seat models may simply just not work with your car due to their design, shape or size.
You are probably asking yourself how to choose the right car seat for your infant due to countless options available in the market. To facilitate your decision making in selecting the best infant car seat, we have developed this useful buyer’s guide that will answer all of your questions.
Table of Contents
- Reviews of Top Rated Car Seat Stroller Combos
- 1. Chicco Cortina Keyfit 30, Foxy
- 2. BOB Motion With BOB B-Safe, Orange
- 3. Graco FastAction Fold, Sport Stroller Click Connect, Tangerine
- 4. Graco FastAction Fold, Click Connect Travel System 30, Nyssa
- 5. Britax B-Agile and B-Safe, Black
- 6. Safety 1st SleekRide LX, Vintage Romance
- 7. Evenflo JourneyLite With Embrace Carseat, Marianna
- 8. Summer Infant Fuze With Prodigy Infant Car Seat, Jet Set
- 9. Disney Saunter Luxe, Floral Minnie
- Baby Car Seat – Essential Part of A Baby Travel System
- The 3 Wheel and 4 Wheel Strollers With Car Seat
- 5 Types of Baby Car Seat and Stroller
- What to Consider Before Buying Car Seat for Baby?
- Benefits of Infant Car Seat Stroller
- 5 Steps to Provide Child’s Safety by Using Car Seat
Reviews of Top Rated Car Seat Stroller Combos
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The Chicco brand is one of the best Europe’s baby brands and is committed to quality products and improving the products especially designed for birth to 3 years old. The Chicco Cortina Keyfit 30 Car Seat is one of their best products in which the accompanying Chicco Stroller was actually built for. The stroller has an adjustable seat (fully reclinable and Memory recline), all wheel suspension, ample storage basket, rear brakes, child and parent cup holders and 5-point harness for securing your child. The carrier shell is constructed in EPS energy absorbing foam and the car seat base has dual level indicators and easy, one-pull latch tightening . Colors available: Foxy, Adventure, Midori, Sedona, Azura, Element, Gemini, and Pegaso.
- Adjustable handle compensates for Husband/Wife heights;
- Lockable front wheels;
- Car seat easily clicks in and out of base;
- Stroller has multiple recline settings + Memory recline ;
- Stroller folds and unfolds easily;
- Plush fabric ;
- Infant pillow insert;
- Easy maneuverability ;
- Several color choices.
- Bulky stroller can be less practical for day-to-day movement;
- Compartment may not hold your Samsung (or larger than iPhone);
- Basket access cumbersome when using carrier in stroller.
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The BOB brand was found as a neccessory brand for bicycle riders and morphed into one of the most reliable manufacturers of strollers – optimal for the active parent. Because of multiple advancements in their technologies over the years, BOB has become known for their smooth-riding strollers. The strollers standardly have pneumatic tires, rugged suspension for all terrains, adjustable handlebar, 5-point harness, swivelling (and lockable) front wheels, rear brakes, total seat recline and more. This carrier model is certified for air travel, constructed with energy absorbing foam for safety, with level indicators on their adjustable car seat base. Colors available: Orange, Navy, and Black.
- Easy click-in adapters;
- Air tires for better suspension;
- Smooth ride with excellent control;
- Lightweight stroller;
- Easy fold;
- Quality construction;
- Adjustable handlebar for height differences.
- Some accessories sold separately;
- Car seat is heavy;
- Shoulder strap adjustment seems limited.
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Graco is another very famous brand, well-known for its quality nursery product line. Having established itself over a half-decade ago with the very first wind-up infant swing, they took off to become one of the leaders in their field. The Graco FastAction Fold Sport Stroller is a 3 wheel stroller with car seat with multiple recline adjusts, large storage basket with expandable rear pouch, parent and child cup holders and 3 or 5-point harness to match your baby as they grow. It has in addition a top rated car seat (the SnugRide Click Connect 35), built standard with energy absorbing foam, 5-point harness and level indicators as an extra measure. Colors Available: Tangerine, Gotham, and Pierce.
- Base fits comfortably in compact cars;
- Easy assembly;
- Light stroller;
- Easy maneuverability for narrow situations (stores);
- Easy release car seat;
- Extended canopy.
- Not so compact when folded vs. competitors;
- Remains loosely open when folded, doesn’t lock in place.
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The FastAction Fold Click Connect 30 is almost equal to aforementioned Sport Stroller travel system. Significant difference is, off course, with 4-wheel version – which, typically are less maneuverable than their 3-wheeled counterparts – and perhaps, as reviews are concerned, may have a smaller basket, perhaps due to distance in wheelbase in the 3 versus 4-wheel cart. However, this stroller comes nearly identical in available options, with the benefit of a reduced price tag. The Classic Connect 30 Carseat is also top rated and similarly produced with energy absorbing foam, 5-point harness and level indicator. Colors available: Nyssa, Farrow, and Finley.
- Quick assembly;
- Lightweight in comparison to others;
- One-handed fast fold;
- Stroller basket accessible when child is fully reclined;
- Soft material.
- Basket is undersized;
- May have to remove tray to fit stroller in trunk;
- May not be good for people over 5’8, low handlebars;
- Doesn’t ride well on all terrains.
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Britax has been mobile safety brand for over a half-decade, pioneering innovations in child safety along the way. It is another top selling baby products manufacturer that is leading in the line of baby strollers and car seats, also evident by their recent purchase of the entire BOB brand. Their B-Agile, 3-wheel Stroller comes with infinite recline, 5-point harness, rear parking brakes, all wheel suspension and large canopy. The B-Safe Car Seat also has energy absorbing foam, 5-point harness, level indicator and is certified for air travel. Also, the travel system is compatible with other car seat brands, such as Graco, Chicco and Peg Perego. Colors available: Black, Red, and Sandstone.
- Significantly lighter car seat;
- Smooth ride stroller, ok for tougher terrain;
- Sturdy foot brake;
- Easy fold;
- Highly rated for safety;
- Nice sun shade coverage.
- It is harder to control on rougher surfaces (3 wheel vs. 4 wheel);
- Smaller storage area;
- Rubber handlebar is tough to clean and feels sticky;
- Carseat-to-stroller unlocking is cumbersome;
- Accessories sold separately;
- Carseat material gets hot.
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Safety 1st is a leader in child safety products and it is specialized in various types of car seats, strollers and other related products. The SleekRide LX Stroller includes a multi-position seat recline, parent and child cup holders, ample storage basket and 5-point restraint system. The accompanying on Board35 Air Car Seat comes with a 5-point harness, level indicator and Air Protect Side Impact design to protect your baby’s head in an event of a collision. Colors available: Vintage Romance, Eiffel Rose, and London Stripe.
- Pretty design;
- Large canopy;
- Easy to fold;
- Nice cushion support;
- Easy car seat removal;
- Stroller rides nice.
- Basket a bit undersized;
- Cheap plastic wheels that wear quickly;
- Carseat may be too big for compact cars;
- Heavy stroller.
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The EvenFlo JourneyLite Travel System is an upgraded version to their previously successful model Travel System 300. The newer version still includes the highly-rated Embrace Carseat, which is subject to EvenFlo’s 2-times the Federal Crash Test Standard. When it comes to functionality, it has a peekaboo window, parent and child cup holders, deep tray for child, a covered parent storage area, ample baggage area, multiple recline positions and a lockable front swivel wheel for extra maneuverability. Colors available: Marianna, and Koi.
- Easy to clean;
- Solid construction;
- Simple, one handed fold;
- Easy assembly;
- Cute design patterns;
- Large basket space for storage.
- Difficult car seat buckle release;
- Shallow cup holders make for easier spilling;
- Non-adjustable handles for height;
- Not good on bumpy roads;
- Handle tray doesn’t fit smart phone.
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Summer Infant is a company dedicated to the safety and innovation in baby products across multiple categories in the baby health field. The Summer Infant Fuze Stroller was designed with a 5-point safety harness, height adjustable handlebar, parent cup holder, baby seat recline and ample storage space beneath the carriage. In order to provide safety for a baby in the car, the Prodigy Car Seat was designed with SmartScreen technology to absolutely ensure correct installation of base unit.
- Quick assembly;
- Soft car seat material;
- Adjustable handlebar;
- Nice basket space;
- Spring mechanism on basket for easy retrieval of things;
- Smart screen child seat installation for peace of mind.
- Have to remove cup holder when collapsing stroller;
- Flimsy feeling cars eat handle;
- Stroller somewhat heavy;
- Smart screen may seem gimmicky;
- No cup holder for baby;
- No handlebar storage tray.
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The Disney Saunter Luxe Travel System is another product in the Safety 1st line, thus it is constructed with child safety in mind. As with the SleekRide LX, this Saunter Stroller has 5-point harness, seat recline, parent cup holders with storage compartment and ample storage department under carriage. The Comfy Carry Elite Plus Car Seat is lightweight, comes with a 5-point harness and has side impact protection. Colors available: Floral Minnie, Alice in Wonderland, Bambi, Dumbo, and Winnie the Pooh.
- Easy to assemble;
- Cute design;
- Great value;
- Easy fold-up;
- Soft and comfortable for child.
- Material can get hot;
- Cheap plastic wheels wear out quickly;
- May outgrow removable infant seat quickly;
- Adjustment settings aren’t big enough;
- Carseat-to-stroller attachment may be cumbersome;
- Heavier, not so easy to maneuver.
Baby Car Seat – Essential Part of A Baby Travel System
The main parts of standard travel system include 3 things, outlined below;
- Stroller (3 or 4-wheel)
- Infant Car Seat, compatible with Stroller
- Car Seat Base
The differences between certain Make and Models of each component are normally pretty nominal, but they can vary significantly when it comes to price As it is the case with any other product purchase, you will find so many options in the market at your disposal – especially when buying the components individually.
There are 3 standard types of strollers: the Jogger Stroller, the 3 Wheel and 4 Wheel Stroller with Car Seat.
The 3 Wheel and 4 Wheel Strollers With Car Seat
The differences between 3 Wheel and 4 Wheel Strollers with Car Seat aren’t all that far apart, with only a few defining characteristics.
- The 3 Wheel has a sharper turning radius and better overall maneuverability, but it is less stable than the 4 Wheel versions – though not to be confused with not being stable. With carrier attached, center of gravity is higher and obviously less stable.
- The 3 Wheel is easier to steer one-handed. The 4 Wheel typically folds easier and stands better when folded.
- You will see that rubber, air-filled tires as typically seen on Jogging strollers (and the BOB), which add more suspension and are typically a better ride for the baby, whereas plastic tires eat up bumps and cracks while transferring the shock through the stroller.
Another point which should be noted is the availability of space as some strollers barely have enough storage for one diaper bag, let alone room for a purse, toys, or even a convenient spot for your smart phone.
5 Types of Baby Car Seat and Stroller
As your toddler grows, you’ll have to transit from one car seat to another. We recommend you to always choose full baby travel system at a first place, but if you want to buy the seat separately, we explain here different types with all the pros and cons to help you buy a right product according to your needs.
1. Infant Car Seat
- Infant car seat is the first type of baby car seat for most of new parents. It can only be installed rear-facing, and has a convenient, removable carrier that connects to a base installed in the car. In this way, car seat provides the best fit for new born and smaller babies, and can be used for children from 4 lbs. to 40, depending on the model. Note that kids will probably get too tall before they get too heavy for these seats. A child is too tall when the crown of his head is less than one inch from the top of the carrier shell, or they exceed the height limits of the seat. Price range: $60 to $300.
2. Convertible Seat
- Convertible Seat is the next level after outgrowing an infant seat. It is recommended to be purchased no later than a child’s first birthday. It can be installed rear- or forward-facing. The harness system is almost the same as the one in infant seats, but convertible seat has a higher rear-facing weight limit. This means toddler can ride rear-facing longer, which both Consumer Reports and the American Academy of Paediatrics recommend as the safest option. There must be installed rear-facing for children younger than 1 and weighing less than 20 lbs. These seats can be used rear-facing up to 40-50 lbs, depending on the seat, and we recommend rear-facing until at least age 2, or the rear-facing limits of the seat. In some states, children under 2 must ride this way (CA, NJ, OK). When your child is 2-year-old, the seat can be turned around and used forward-facing until time for a booster seat. They can be installed forward-facing for kids at least 1 year of age, although Consumer Reports recommends waiting until at least age 2. Many parents may have children as heavy as 65 lbs. Although the minimum weight limit allows for newborns and smaller infants, the car seat for heavy children often doesn’t provide the best fit for smaller babies or the convenience of a detachable carrier. Price range: $40 to 450.
3. -36+Booster Seat
- After outgrowing the weight and height limit for the above described seats, it’s time to buy your kid a booster that uses a car’s own seat belt. Boosters raise a child up in the car so the seat belt fits correctly in that way (over the sternum and the center of the collarbone, not the neck and low across the upper thighs, rather than the abdomen). There are two main styles of this seat: high-back and backless. Backless versions are pretty portable and easy to install, but we recommend high-back models, because of better position of the shoulder belt and the side protection to a child. There are many states having booster laws. Some of them require children as old as eight and as heavy as 80 lbs to use a booster. Price range: $13 to $300.
4. All-In-One Car Seats
- All-In-One Car Seats provide great value by following a kid from birth to booster. This type of baby car seat is a tempting money-saver, but our tests have shown that by trying to do too much they don’t do any single task pretty well. It accommodates children from 5 to 45 lbs. sitting rear-facing; kids from 20 to 65 lbs., forward-facing in a harness; and kids from 30 to 120 lbs., in booster mode. All-in-one car seats are usually large and heavy, lack the convenience of a detachable carrier, and may not fit to smaller babies (or smaller vehicles) well. They could be a good backup seat or for a caregiver who transports a child less often. Price range: $100 to $330.
5. Toddler Booster
- Toddler Booster can only be used for toddlers who are at the appropriate weight, age, and height limits to sit facing forward. This type of baby car seat is designed to be forward-facing only having a harness (for use up to a certain height/weight), and able to transit to a booster (removing the harness). It is designed for children weighing between 20 lbs. and 90 harnessed, and 30 lbs. to 120 in booster mode.
In comparison to convertible seats, they are less expensive option (if your child meets the forward-facing age and weight requirements), and offer a safe option for an older child not yet ready for a booster or a transition seat. Price range: $55 to $295.
What to Consider Before Buying Car Seat for Baby?
1. Know Your Child
- Don’t forget to track your toddler’s height and weight (obviously, new parents won’t have this info yet!), which, along with age, can determine seat size and when it’s time to move up to the next level. Any behavioral or health issues will also affect your choice.
2. Know Your Stores
- Try to find retailers that will let you test-install a seat in your own car, which is great, since we’ve found that cushion angle or seat belt placement can make a car and child seat incompatible. You should also consider a store that accepts returns and defaults. Large department stores like Babies ‘R Us, Walmart, and Target offer a limited range of products in stores with a wider selection available online. Online retailers such as Albee Baby, Buy Buy Baby, Diapers.com and Amazon offer an even larger selection of seat brands and models. Most of the retailers offer free shipping on child seats. Make online shopping only after you’ve seen the models in real life. You can find higher-end models at specialty stores or boutiques.
3. Know Your Car
- Check out the child safety sections of your vehicle owner’s manual, and study up on relevant features like belts and seats.
Benefits of Infant Car Seat Stroller
A stroller is obviously one of the top ‘must have’ items in your life when you have a baby. If you’re moving around from place to place with your baby, you’ll need a car seat for sure. You may like the Disney Stroller for its cute Minnie Mouse design, but does the Chicco Keyfit 30 Car seat (rated by Consumer Reports as best in crash protection) detach and immediately re-attach to your Disney stroller? It’s the fact that parts that don’t attach again add to the confusion and sometimes price too. So let’s see what the benefits of having a baby travel system and that too with the help of this guide include:
- Easy car-to-stroller shifting. No un-fastening, moving and re-fastening your child in the middle of the grocery store parking lot. Unclick the carrier from the car seat, snap it into the stroller.
- Some hospitals may not let you leave without having an infant car seat for the ride home – all reviews are with infant car seats.
- If you live in a cold climate, you’re going to like the quick transfer of carrier-to-stroller.
- Ease of shopping. Compare the safest car seat and stroller combo and go with it. How many strollers and car seats would you have to investigate individually? Ugh!
- Repeat the process for your future children.
5 Steps to Provide Child’s Safety by Using Car Seat
Research conducted by NHTSA and in the field showed that car seat, booster seat, and seat belt misuse rates vary from 74 to 90 percent. Yes, that’s right, a great majority of child seats are not installed correctly. This is how it should be done:
1. Right Seat
- Check the seat’s height and weight limits (see our timeline above). Age is also an important factor as it is reflective of your child’s skeletal development.
2. Seat Tight
- Once installed, the seat shouldn’t move more than 1 inch side-to-side or front-to-back. Don’t get discouraged—this can be tricky.
3. Harness Height
- In rear-facing installation, the harness straps are at or below the baby’s shoulders. For forward-facing, harness straps should be at or above a tot’s shoulders. The chest clip should always be at armpit level.
4. Harness Tight
- If your child is secured properly, you shouldn’t be able to pinch any fabric on the straps at the child’s shoulders.
5. Final Check
- Recline right and tether tight. Check the recline angle for rear-facing seats (most have an indicator) to avoid allowing the child’s head to fall forward and obstruct breathing.
For forward-facing seats installed with either LATCH or seat belt, always attach and tighten the top tether to help prevent forward movement, which could cause head injury.