Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Stroller & Car Seat 101: Post 2 of 3

Now that you know the different categories of strollers, here are some of my favorite picks with pro's and con's for each category:

Full Size Luxury Stroller - These strollers are the Gucci of handbags - they perform but they are also stylish and somewhat of a status symbol. My favorite is featured below - the Bugaboo Cameleon. With the ability to detach the stroller seat and attach the bassinet or an infant seat to the frame it is super versatile. You choose a base color and a fabric color to totally customize the look of your stroller. An upgrade from the Bugaboo Frog, the Cameleon also features and adjustable handlebar and front wheel suspension. This stroller will last through 2 or 3 kids and you will still be able to sell it for a couple of hundred on Craigslist. But, once you add in all the accessories and an infant seat you can expect to spend around $1200 on the entire thing.Another popular choice in this category is the Orbit Infant Travel System. For $900 you get the stroller base and infant car seat. After 22 lbs, you have to upgrade to the stroller seat. This system is extremely user friendly and very modern in design but I am not a huge fan of the stroller seat. It seems a little bulky and I am always clumsy with it. Also check out the Quinny Buzz - a great modern, functional option for a couple hundred less than the others.

Single Stroller - So maybe you don't need Gucci but you like to carry a nice Coach bag. A mid-priced single stroller is a good choice. Look for something that folds easily and is not too bulky. I like the Peg Perego Aria or Pliko P3 single strollers. They fold easily and come in lots of color choices. The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio car seat is also a great, super safe choice with a 30 lbs weight limit. Only problem is this infant seat is also heavy - add Baby and it weighs even more.Jogging Stroller - If you have a larger vehicle and an active lifestyle, a jogging stroller can be a good choice for your everyday stroller as well. My favorite jogging strollers are definitely BOB. I like the Revolution - with a swivel wheel that also locks. All of my friends with a BOB swear it is the best baby purchase they made and worth every penny. With a 70 lb weight limit you will use it forever. They are also surprisingly easy to fold and not any more heavy than a full size single stroller.Too much of a utility look? Check out the BumbleRide Indie stroller for a more sleek stylish look that comes in great color choices.

Travel System - Travel systems can be a great deal and are simple to use. With a full size single stroller and matching car seat that will "click" perfectly together it is an easy choice for a first time parent. I like the Chicco Cortina Travel System but beware - the stroller does not fold down all that compactly.Many parents comment that the stroller that came with their travel system was too bulky and they stopped using it after about 6 months. One option is to make your own "travel system." It doesn't have to come all in one box to work. Try a smaller stroller option like the Chicco Trevi and a car seat in the matching pattern. Graco also makes MetroLite strollers that are more compact.

Frame Stroller - Not the most stylish but super easy to use and budget friendly. If you want to go this route, pick your car seat first. Then if your car seat maker has a frame stroller get that one. If not, the Maclaren Easy Traveller is a durable choice that fits most models.

This is a great choice when traveling with your infant in their infant car seat. It may even be worth it to purchase one just for the trip - that way you can travel light and not worry about checking a nice stroller at the gate or leaving it somewhere.

Umbrella Stroller - Most parents end up using an umbrella stroller more than they think they will. They are so light and simple that they make everything easier. I can not say enough great things about Maclaren umbrella strollers. They are a bit more expensive but well worth it. With a 55 lb weight limit (compared to most others at 40 lbs) you will get tons of use out of it and they will last through multiple children.
Looking to spend less? Check out the UppaBaby GLite series. One key feature to look for on umbrella strollers is recline. If you want to start using it early on - say 4-6 months - you will want some recline.

Tomorrow I will break down the choices into "Lifestyle" categories and help you decide what will work best for your lifestyle and budget.


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pet car seat said...

The seat was easy to assemble and easy to install using a headrest to secure it. Instead of our dog being all over the place in the car, he stays in the seat where he belongs! But because the bottom of the car seat does not sit directly on the seat.