Getting out with your baby is a whole lot easier with the right car seat and stroller. These two important items will either make or break your every comings and goings, so here’s a quick breakdown of what you need to know:
To keep your baby safe, you need a car seat. Hospitals won’t let you take your baby home without one. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, (AAP), an infant (rear-facing) car seat should be used from birth until your child exceeds the maximum height (32 inches) or weight (30 to 35 pounds), though laws can differ from state-to-state (to check your state laws, see the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations guidelines at www.NHTSA.gov).
In general, there are four types of car seats; but for babies, only two options are available: a standard, rear-facing infant-only car seat, which your baby will outgrow in one or two years; and a convertible car seat, which transitions with your child, lasting for years as it converts from rear-facing (newborn - 2 years of age) to forward-facing (5 years of age), and then to booster (9 – 12 years of age).
How do you decide which car seat to purchase or register for? Ask yourself these questions:
Will it fit in my car?
How much does it cost?
Choosing a stroller can be difficult, as you’ll want it to make life easier, fit your family’s lifestyle and doesn’t leave your bank account sobbing great tears of horror. There are several types of strollers. Umbrella strollers, jogging strollers, double strollers, all-purpose strollers, light-weight strollers, and more. To decide which stroller will work best for you, consider the following:
Double strollers hold two kids at once. Do you have more than one child needing a stroller?
Is it car seat compatible?
You can find a good stroller at almost any price, but a high-quality stroller with special features, like one-touch folding, and multiple seat configurations, like in-line or side-by-side seating, will cost more.
If you’re looking for a car seat AND a stroller, a traveling system (a car seat that clips onto a matching stroller) takes the guesswork out of car seat/stroller compatibility, combining the car seat and stroller into one, easy purchase. The major benefit to this option is in the ease of transferring a sleeping baby, undisturbed, from car to stroller, and stroller to car. Ask yourself the questions listed above, and then choose the best option for you.
Once you’ve determined what you want out of these products, narrowing down your choice will be easy. Just remember, when your baby is safely buckled in and comfortable, an outing can be as enchanting as a light breeze in the park. Anything is possible.