Saturday, July 7, 2012

Choosing a Car Seat & Stroller

With our time in the waiting pool nearly upon us, we'll have a lot of waiting to do!  During that time, we've decided not to buy a lot of baby items, not to throw a baby shower, and not to build an entire nursery as all of that would stress us out.  Just imagine having all of those baby things for what could be 2+ years without a baby.  However, there are some critical items that we have decided to buy before being chosen by a birthfamily.  First up is a car seat!

Infant Car Seat
In our research about car seats, I went straight to Consumer Reports and paid for an online subscription.  I remember reading through those magazines at home as a kid.  While most of the time I only looked at them for cars, I figure they've got to be just as good for baby products like car seats, strollers, and more.  Right from the start, I learned that there are a few types of car seats.  For our case with an infant, it narrowed down to two specific types: Infant and Convertible.

An infant car seat was defined as one that will always be rear-facing in the car.  The major benefit of this type of car seat is that it can be picked up and then carried out of the car which means less disturbance to a blissfully sleeping or potentially fussy baby.  The downside is that infants don't stay infants forever and will grow out of these types of car seats.
Convertible Car Seat

The convertible car seat is not a bright red and topless Chevy Corvette.  These are known as "convertible" car seats because they are more flexible in the car.  They can start out as a rear-facing car seat and later be rotated and used as a front-facing car seat.  Some of them can accommodate toddlers up to 40 or 45 pounds giving them a longer life span than the infant car seat.  The downside is that they don't offer the portable convenience of infant car seats.

For us, we've opted for convenience during the infant years and will go with an infant style car seat.  Additionally, infant car seats can directly snap into some strollers.  Dare we say no to a direct car-to-stroller transfer?  Hell no!  So the next step was for us to look up some car seat and stroller combos.  In baby industry lingo, these are often known as "Travel Systems."  Sort of sounds like we're operating a high-tech battleship, but that is also oddly comforting...and empowering  :)

Chicco Cortina KeyFit Travel System
Looking further into Consumer Reports and collecting some input from friends on Facebook, Graco seemed to be the most commonly used brand and Chicco was a highly rated brand that one friend recommended.  For me, I was looking at factors like safety, weight, reviews, and overall cost.  In the end, I'm leaning towards Chicco's Cortina KeyFit travel system over one of the Graco systems.  It seems to be really flexible, stable/safe, and maneuverable (remember...high-tech battleship).  The immediate drawback is that it costs more than the Graco models, but I'd be willing to spend more on something that will need to last for months (and hopefully for 2 children).  Soon, Andy and I will make a store run to to see what we like the best.  It'll be important to have a car seat on-hand as we won't be able to bring a baby home from the hospital without one! 


  1. The direct car-to-stroller is an amazing invention. Since you are going this route, I recommend also looking into how much the stroller can store. A side benefit of having a stroller is being able to stick all of the baby stuff you inevitably have to carry around with you in the stroller's underside storage bin - and still have room to stuff your jackets and a few bottled waters in there as well. Super handy.

  2. Britax makes really great carseats too. Lots of little conveniences that I couldn't appreciate until we already had baby/carseat experience, like buttons on the latch system instead of hooks, easy strap adjusters for the fall when one day is cold (coat needed) and the next day is warm (no coat needed). So exciting, good luck guys!

    -Matt G.