Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The question I'm asked most often about strollers.

A Guide To Travel Systems

A question I get from a lot of Moms-to-be and new Moms is whether or not a baby travel system is a necessary purchase. Combining two very necessary components for all Moms on the go, a travel system typically comes with a stroller and a detachable car seat. Travel systems are designed to provide for a seamless transition from a moving stroller to a car seat as not to disturb the sleeping baby.

The question is, is a travel system an essential purchase, or is it alright to purchase the two components separately? While it's definitely smart to ask your friends for their personal preferences, it's essential that you do some initial research on your own before making a purchase, just as you would a crib. Let's briefly discuss the pros and cons of these travel systems and talk about some possible alternatives.

Benefits of a Travel System

The first obvious benefit of a travel system is its "all-in-one" factor. Travel systems give you both the stroller and car seat together, which if you think about it gives you more for your money. A nice, high quality car seat could set you back around $350 while a top-of-the line stroller can run you anywhere from $500 to over $1,000. On the other hand, a decent travel system can cost you between $200 and $600.

The main consideration you want to take is how often you will be traveling with your baby. If you're staying at home or working from home, you might not think to leave the house except for the occasional errand but you never know what to expect. However, trips to the doctor, emergency diaper runs, favors for other Moms and family excursions all come up unexpectedly. Having a stroller with a detachable car seat makes getting your child securely into the car a snap - literally. Regarding travel systems, convenience is key.

Disadvantages of a Travel System

Some commonly expressed issues with travel systems include the fact that included car seat is bulky and awkward to carry. Most come with some sort of a contoured handle, designed to make carrying easy but the strollers are also designed to fit a very specific stroller which makes the shape and size a bit difficult to manage.

Another disadvantage is price. As mentioned before, a decent travel system will cost you less than $600, so investing up to twice that might not seem like a good use of your money. It's also important to consider how long your child will likely be using the car seat portion of the travel system. Most are good till around 9 months to a year, at which point you'll need to purchase a larger car seat anyway. While the stroller will last you longer, the dual functionality of the travel system is gone and you'll need to spend more money on a new car seat.

Alternatives to Travel Systems

If a cutesy, color coordinating travel system isn't something that you're willing to invest in at this point, rest assured you have some other options. The most obvious of course is a separate car seat and stroller. Just as convertible cribs convert into toddler beds, convertible car seats change easily change from infant-compatible car seat into a toddler car seat.

A Snap'N'Go Stroller is also an affordable option to consider. A universal Snap'N'Go Stroller is essentially just a stroller frame, minus the seat. Simply secure your own car seat into the stroller frame and you're good to go. While these strollers are often labeled as "universal," do some initial research and make sure that your particular car seat brand is compatible. Snap'N'Go stroller frames cost less than $100, making for a guilt-free purchase, allowing you to spend more later on a high quality stroller once your child outgrows the infant car seat.

Whatever You Decide...

Whether you choose to invest in a travel system or should be a personal choice based on planned use as well as financial considerations. While not essential, many Moms swear by travel systems. Whatever you decide let me emphasize the importance of doing some initial research before purchasing. We're talking about the safety of your baby, after all.

1 Comment:

Unknown said...

I think you have done lot of research on strollers. You have described briefly about pros and cons of strollers. I feel that strollers are necessary for to be moms and new moms. I got Mickey Bungee Deluxe for my baby which is convenient to use with all best features that makes my baby happy and joyful while riding on it.

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