Since a travel system includes an infant car seat and base, one of the most important attributes of a good travel system is a good car seat. While all strollers should be designed with Baby’s safety and comfort in mind, this is especially critical when it comes to car seats. This information is subject to change, of course; be sure to register your car seat in case of a recall, and avoid used car seats even if they seem like a deal, as you won’t know their history.
The Stroller Guide Picks Its Top Travel System Stroller: The Orbit Infant System Stroller
We’ve selected a range of travel system options that are compatible with several different types of car seats. It’s important to remember that your car seat is only safe if it is properly used and installed; choose a car seat that fits your vehicle and lifestyle.
Our Pick: Orbit Infant System
Orbit offers a line of intelligently designed strollers designed for both infants and toddlers. Orbit’s infant system consists of a car seat base, car seat, and stroller frame upon which the car seat rests. The car seat also includes a “Paparazzi Shield” that acts as a sunshade, or, should your baby require it, protection from legions of gawking fans and tabloid photographers.
The stroller frame is also compatible with a pram-style bassinet (not for use in cars), which can be taken out walking and then placed directly in the nursery on a rocker base, as a cradle; the bassinet itself is also collapsible, making it great for jet setting parents. The stroller base fits Orbit’s separate toddler stroller seat (not a car seat) as well, making Orbit’s line suitable for just about every situation—with a price to match.
The best part? Orbit’s car seat and toddler seat can be rotated on the stroller frame and locked into multiple positions, so Baby can face you, face outward, or even face sideways. Infant car seats must always be rear facing in the car, of course; however, the Orbit’s ability to rotate does make it more ergonomic for parents to remove from the car. This is a feature that any parent would appreciate when faced with some of the contortion required to remove a car seat from its base without waking a baby. One caveat; owners of smaller cars have sometimes found the car seat’s fit to be a challenge.
Runner Up: Chicco Cortina Keyfit 30
This stroller/car seat combo offers an easily maneuverable, fully featured stroller and comfy car seat. The ability to remove the car seat from either the stroller or the base with one hand is an attribute that parents will appreciate. The stroller itself has an adjustable seat, footrest, and canopy, as well as a shopping basket and trays for both parent and child.
Runner Up: Graco SnugRider Infant Car Seat Frame
At the other end of the price spectrum, parents can simply acquire a collapsible frame for the car seat to fit into, providing the functionality of a travel system at a fraction of the cost. Graco’s SnugRider Infant Car Seat Frame, compatible with its SnugRide car seat, is a good example. The drawback is that you can’t use this once Baby outgrows his or her infant seat, but it’s a great option for the first few months. If you plan to use a jogging stroller or umbrella stroller as your main stroller after Baby reaches the appropriate age, this is an option to consider.