There are endless search results when you Google “strollers” and “car seats.” You finally grasp the idea that you may need a stroller and a bucket looking seat thingy, but then the phrase “travel system” starts creeping into your results. What does this mean?! Do I need this instead? Why do I feel like I’m in a black hole of baby gear info?!?
Fear not, friend. The phrase “travel system” just refers to a stroller that can accommodate an infant car seat.
Let’s rewind for one moment. An infant car seat, aka bucket seat, aka bucket looking seat thingy, is a car seat that consists of two pieces: the base that stays installed in your car and the seat that clicks in and out of the base. Have multiple cars? You can purchase additional bases for each car. Although each infant car seat has its own specifications, most can be used from newborn up to about 32” or 32lbs (or about a year’s use [always adhere to your manual’s height and weight specifications–don’t go by age!]). These portable car seats have ergonomic handles and keep your baby safe in its cocoon-like shape.
Convertible car seats, the rear- and forward-facing seats that are typically the next stage after infant car seats, can sometimes accommodate newborns. However, convertible car seats are one piece that stay installed in your car and cannot attach to stroller frames. Convertible car seats are installed rear-facing at first and then turn around into a forward-facing position when your child outgrows the weight or height limits (most accommodate up to about 50lbs). Depending on the model, convertible car seats can fit children up to about 65 pounds or 49” in the forward-facing setting, and some can even be turned into a booster seat for older kids.
OK, back to travel systems: Infant car seats can attach to strollers either directly onto your stroller’s frame, or, by using adapters. When attach an infant car seat to a stroller, you have the convenience of
Envision this–in one day, you: have a pediatrician appointment, need to go grocery shopping, want to try Starbucks’ new drink, have to pop over to grandma’s house, and want to visit mod mama to see what’s new–all with your colicky newborn who has been having trouble sleeping. You pull into a parking space at Whole Foods, look back, and see your little one snoozing peacefully. 1) O.M.G. he’s finally sleeping & 2) O.M.G. do I have to sit here until he wakes up? With a travel system, you can gently pop the car seat into the stroller and finish your errands. Whether the screaming toddler in aisle ten wakes up your baby or not has nothing to do with your fabulous gear, unfortunately.
On the flip side, if you have a convertible car seat, you will need to unbuckle your baby and place him into the stroller’s seat every time you make a stop. You lose the convenience of the travel system, however, you’re investing in a single car seat that will last for years rather than an infant car seat that may last about one. At mod mama, we see most families decide to go the travel system route, but some of our minimalist families feel jumping directly to a convertible car seat from birth works for them.
Popular travel system configurations at mod mama:
UPPAbaby Vista V2, Cruz V2, Ridge, or Minu strollers + the UPPAbaby Mesa OR (with an adapter) one of the Nuna Pipa series or Clek Liing infant car seats
Bumbleride Era, Indie, or Indie Twin strollers + (with an adapter) one of the Nuna Pipa series or Clek Liing infant car seats
Nuna Mixx Next stroller + one of the Pipa series car seats
Have questions? Reach out to the mod mama lifestylists at: [email protected] or 401-273-7800. We offer live demos in-store and are happy to compare gear fro you to see what works for your lifestyle.
If you ever need help installing any kind of car seat, you an find a local child passenger safety technician (CPST) on safekids.org.
orange you glad you now know what “travel system” means?