For almost 10 months you carry a baby inside of you and then you spend more than a year finding ways to carry that little one on the outside. That's why baby carriers, strollers and stroller car seat combos are on most parents' newborn checklists, along with convertible car seats and rotating car seats.
What makes a car seat and stroller combo so great? It lets you move your baby from the car to a stroller without removing them from their seat. This is extra handy if your little one has only just stopped crying and has fallen asleep in the car as you reach your destination.
A baby stroller and car seat combo, also called a travel system, consists of what is often called a bucket car seat and a stroller that fit together. The stroller will usually come with a separate seat that can be used as the baby grows out of the bucket, but the car seat also fits on the stroller chassis. It usually clicks into place easily.
Veteran parents swear by these creating travel solutions for seamless strolling because the youngest babies are often just too small to sit upright in traditional strollers for long periods.
"I like parents to consider product weight and dimensions when shopping for the best stroller system. Some expectant parents over-commit to their first travel system and aren’t happy with it past the newborn stage," says Abby Kalter, founder and lead consultant at Prepping for Peanut, a personalized concierge service for new parents.
She recommends considering where the stroller will most frequently be used (i.e., paved sidewalks, cobblestone streets, indoor shopping), how often the stroller will need to be folded down, who will be using it and how many other children might need to be accommodated.
"All car seats are heavily regulated and meet the same government safety standards, so it’s important to know that they are all safe," says Kalter.
Look for parent convenience features that make the car seat easier to install, because, "Over 60% of seats are not installed correctly so the seat you can install properly, is the right seat for you!"
In the grand scheme of strollers and car seats, this combination is both quite affordable and extremely versatile. We love that you can snap the car seat onto the stroller frame or put the car seat inside the stroller seat for double canopy coverage. This comes in extra handy as your baby grows and you're using both the car seat and the stroller seat depending on the outing.
Good-sized wheels promise a smooth ride on pavement, cement and other surfaces. The handlebar is also exceptionally comfortable compared to other similarly-priced models on the market.
Did we mention it's easy to clean? It is—and that matters. Babies spit up, poop, drool and create all sorts of messes. The last thing you want is a car seat stroller combo that's difficult to wipe down.
This set has a five-star rating on Amazon and verified purchaser Melissa says, "This is the best car seat stroller combo I’ve had. I’ve had a few. This is my third child and this stroller car seat combo is amazing! The car seat snaps into the base and stroller so easily!"
This car seat stroller combo is super affordable and ultra versatile. Like the Chicco, the car seat can click directly onto the stroller base or onto the stroller seat, which makes it easy to go from car to stroller. The car seat comes with a base and accommodates babies up to 35 pounds.
One of the best parts of this travel system is just how many ways you can use it. The stroller features eight different ways and while four of them are about the direction the seat is facing, that's still a lot of options.
Fold the stroller with the toddler seat attached. It's that easy. The fewer things you have to remove to get that stroller in the trunk, the better. We think the price and color selection makes it the best stroller system for tight budgets.
How genius is this popular folding stroller? It's literally a car seat with wheels attached—or to look at it another way, a stroller that collapses into a car seat. It's FAA aircraft approved and the adjustable handlebar acts as an anti-rebound bar.
If you're frequently on the go, traveling from grandparents to the best all-inclusive resorts for families and other far-off places—this car seat stroller combo is your best bet. It's the easiest option we've seen on the market for air travel. We used this model for our own children, finding it extremely easy to fold, push and clean.
It's a rear-facing car seat only with a maximum weight restriction of 35 pounds and 32 inches tall. And because it serves just two purposes for one size of child, it's lightweight at only 16.5 pounds. You'll be obsessed with it from the newborn days till baby outgrows it—we promise.
Our editors swore by this model for years, taking it everywhere from Disney World to airplanes for trans-Atlantic flights. "I have no idea how I would've survived my fourth and fifth kids without this thing," shares our Executive Editor, Bryce Gruber. "One-handed folding and easy carrying from the car to taxis and planes made it a true lifesaver for my on-the-go family."
If rotating car seats are life-changing, imagine what a stroller with a rotating seat will do for you. It's one of the baby trend developments in 2023 we just can't get enough of. Orbit Baby's travel system includes a rotating car seat and base (the base stays in the car) and a stroller frame. Parents rave about the smooth ride.
The seat rotates 360 degrees on the stroller frame and rotates in the car, too. It makes getting baby in and out of any vehicle simple—and it's super stylish. It also features a large basket and it converts into a double stroller in a jiffy with the company's Helix+ attachment.
We love the extra-large, rugged wheels that make park grass feel just as smooth and easy as paved sidewalks.
This stroller car seat combo is perfect for active, adventurous parents. All-wheel suspension makes it great for jogging and taking off-road for hikes or trail walks. It folds quickly and with one hand and the car seat is easy to install.
While the car seat portion is ideal for younger babies and early toddlerhood, the stroller easily lasts (and performs) for years. We've tried and tested this one, finding the stroller easy to maneuver in parks and playgrounds thanks to durable wheels and easy folding. It's also a breeze to clean with a damp cloth. Or, you can disassemble it in a matter of minutes for a full cleaning.
The car seat attaches facing the stroller seat so you get a double canopy for your infant—and you can make faces at them as you walk, jog or run. A total win for everyone involved, right? The canopy offers incredibly useful UPF50+ sun protection and has a mesh window. Peekaboo!
Let's be honest, there are a lot of car seat stroller combinations on the market and many offer loads of great features. It just comes down to choosing the best features for you—and sometimes it's about fashion. The Spring Meadow teal shade is a great gender-neutral color that feels fresh, but it also comes in Radish Ruby red, Slated Sky blue grey, Northern Grey and Midnight Black.
This combo has a huge basket, a bassinet that turns into a seat, a highly-rated car seat, and of course, it comes in great colors. True to its name, it also boasts five modes: forward-facing carriage (with bassinet), rear-facing carriage, rear-facing infant car seat caddy, forward-facing stroller and rear-facing stroller.
It also has excellent height and weight limits, promising months of seamless use. We love that almost all the pieces easily detach for full hygienic deep cleans, though it's easy to wipe this handsome car seat stroller down with a damp rag, too.
Though it's less popular than more mainstream models like the Chicco Keyfit 30, we think this car seat stroller combo is a smart, stylish choice that sets you and baby apart from the crowd.
This handsome car seat stroller combo is a top-rated Walmart dupe for the more expensive, top-rated Doona that made our list. It's made by Evenflo to "shift" from an infant car seat to stroller in one step, streamlining life your on the go. Retract the wheels to carry up or down steps and then pop the wheels back down and stroll on.
Suitable for babies from three to 35 pounds, we also love this model for taking especially small and prematurely born babies home from the hospital. It comes with a no-rethread harness that adjusts to eight positions to grow with your child.
We love the included full-coverage UPF 50+ sun canopy that also blocks rain and snow. Parents rave about the included parent cupholder and easy, simple cleaning. Wipe it down with a damp cloth or take it part for a fuller wash down.
The Evenflo Shyft DualRide also meets or exceeds all applicable federal safety standards, so you can feel safe about using it. It is structural integrity tested at energy levels approximately two times the federal crash test standard, and it is side-impact tested, rollover tested and temperature tested. That's a lot of good news for nervous new parents!
"Car seats that attach to strollers to make a travel system are rear-facing only car seats designed for infant use and have a bucket shape and carrying handle," says Kalter. Most can be used starting at four or five pounds and max out around 30 to 35 pounds.
"Many children outgrow these seats in height before weight. And the baby becomes too heavy to tote around this way, so families often move their children to convertible seats prior to maxing out the limits of their infant seats."
Invest in a great car seat, but make sure that you love the accompanying stroller just as much because the combo is usually ready to be retired by the time your baby is one year old. Be sure to discuss this with your pediatrician, though.
The best car seat stroller combo is the one that's going to work best for you. "The seat that is right for one family is often not right for another, and there are great seats at all price points," says Kalter.
But she does have some favorites. "I typically favor seats that have been on the market for a while and have experienced multiple iterations. These seats often have the best parent features as they’ve improved them over the years," she says.
According to Kalter, buying a car seat stroller combo is worth the potential extra cost of buying an infant car seat. "The convenience during the newborn stage can make a major difference and help you get out and about with more ease."
But she says it doesn't matter whether you buy a combination or you opt to build your own travel system with the right adapters. "Both purchase methods are just as convenient and it boils down to personal preference."
Generally speaking, most car seat stroller combo options are meant for babies and infants up to about one year old, or roughly 30 pounds. If you have a smaller toddler, you may be able to squeeze out a few extra weeks as your baby grows, but eventually, you should move to a toddler car seat. These are designed to accommodate growing bodies and needs.
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