Remember the days of grabbing your wallet, car keys, and cell phone and running out the door? Once you have a baby, that lifestyle gets thrown out the window. Suddenly you need everything but the kitchen sink to leave for just a few hours, let alone a week long vacation.
Now with the convenience of delivery services, store pickup, and more parents working at home, it is easy peasy to stay home with those newborns, but eventually you will have to (and want to) leave the house. The key to traveling, whether it is locally or on a vacation, is organization, preparation, and having the right tools.
Carrying your baby in a baby sling or wrap, a baby carrier, or a ring sling is a great way to hold your baby close to your body while keeping your hands free to do other tasks, which is important when you need to wash your dinner dishes, push a grocery cart, or drag a suitcase behind you into a hotel.
It is also very beneficial if you have other children and need to hold their hands while crossing a parking lot or taking them to school. While many parents use baby carriers more for infants, there are also carriers for toddlers which can keep them contained when traveling.
After surviving a pandemic, we have been enlightened about the risks of germs, therefore, carrying your baby is helpful in keeping them protected from unwanted touches from strangers. If you are traveling with your little one, the carriers can protect your child from all of the different germs that are constantly floating around.
It is even possible to breastfeed your little one discreetly while wearing the proper baby carrier which can be very helpful when traveling with a hungry baby.
Let’s talk about car seats… this topic can be overwhelming for new parents (and even seasoned parents) with so many choices and price points on the market. You need to purchase or register for a car seat before the birth of your newborn since you will have to have a proper safety seat in order to take your baby home from the hospital.
Most parents would say that safety is their number one priority in choosing the correct car seat. Federal regulations help ensure that all car seats meet minimum safety standards. But most car seat related accidents are caused by improper use or installation.
- Infant Car Seats are used for newborns until the baby is typically around age 1. They are rear facing and include a base that stays in the car. The actual car seat clicks in and out of the base easily. Infant car seats are usually easy to carry which is important when traveling with a little one. Whether you are running errands around town or flying across country, you do not want to be lugging your infant around in a heavy, bulky seat so having a seat that is lightweight and easily portable will save you a lot of struggle.
- Convertible Car Seats are used for infants and toddlers. They are rear facing at first until your child is approximately two years old or reach the maximum weight and height for your particular car seat. Once they are ready, you can turn your convertible car seat to forward facing until they outgrow the seat. Convertible car seats are not as easy or portable to travel with as you cannot carry them with your baby safely buckled in. They also do not hook into strollers so you will need to be aware of that if you are making travel plans.
- Booster Seats are designed for older children who are about 4 years old and at least 40 pounds. The seat is designed to boost them higher so the seat belt crosses your child’s body for maximum safety. There are backless and high back booster seats which simply depends on what type you prefer for your child and car. Traveling with a booster seat is similar to traveling with a convertible car seat. They are not heavy, but they are awkward to carry if you are taking it on a flight with you. Otherwise it is very easy to leave it in the car and have your child hop in and out of it.
Picking the correct stroller for your child depends a lot on your lifestyle and family dynamic. Before purchasing one, consider your needs and try to find one that can grow with your child and family.
- Lightweight Travel Strollers are usually between 10-20 pounds, easy to fold and carry, and are functional for a family who is often on the go but do not want to lug around a bulky stroller.
- Jogging Strollers are perfect for the serious runner or the occasional jogger. They have 3 wheels versus the traditional 4 wheels, and can be a bit heavier to carry although there are some lightweight jogging strollers on the market now.
- Double Strollers are wonderful for the families who have twins or 2 young children that you want to keep confined when you are traveling. While obviously they can be bigger, it is a wise choice for a family with 2 little ones who get tired more easily.
- Sit and Stand Strollers are great when traveling if you have an infant and an older child. The front part of the stroller is a typical stroller that a child can sit or lay in plus a car seat can often be locked into it. Then there is a bench in the back for an older child to stand or sit which makes it very easy to keep track of your children while traveling.
- Triple Strollers have more limited options, but there are some families who either have triplets or need a stroller for 3 small children and need the extra seating for their family.
- Special Needs kids need the world to be more accessible for them so finding the perfect stroller for those needs opens up their world and makes traveling or attending outdoor functions easier for the family.
Travel Systems are increasingly popular with new parents. Basically is a car seat and stroller that can attach to one another. You can take the infant car seat off the base and click it right into the stroller making it very convenient for traveling or even running errands.
The nice thing about travel systems is that you can move your newborn right into the stroller without waking them if they fell asleep in their car seat. Also, the stroller is able to grow with your child making it useful for a long time. The convenience of these systems make it a good purchase for expectant parents.