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Should you use a pram travel system or a separate stroller and car seat?

A car seat and a pram are usually top of must-have items when shopping for a new baby. After all, you pretty much can’t get home from the hospital without one of them! But when you start researching, you realise there are LOTS of options for both. When it comes to car seats, there are capsules, rear facing, forward facing, booster…

Then there are the prams. Do you choose one with a travel system, big wheels, small frame, parent facing, one that simultaneously rocks your baby and makes you a latte? Ok, the last one doesn’t exist but it would be nice, right?!

It’s common for first-time parents to enter a baby store and leave 10 minutes later feeling completely overwhelmed. With so many options, it's no wonder!

One of the first things to think about is whether you want a travel system or go for a separate stroller and car seat.

What’s a travel system?

A travel system is when you can clip your capsule car seat into your stroller. Many parents believe this is the most flexible option for travelling with a newborn. But what are the pros and cons?

Travel system pro: It’s super convenient

This is the main reason why parents love travel systems. When your baby falls asleep in the car, the capsule can move seamlessly from car to pram without them waking up. Second-time parents find this particularly convenient for all those school and daycare drop-offs.

Travel system con: Capsules have a shorter lifespan

Capsules are usually suitable for babies up to 6 or 12 months which of course, means they don’t last as long as buying a convertible 0-4 year seat. This can be a deal breaker for some parents as they’d prefer the longevity of buying one car seat for the first few years. The flexibility of a convertible seat also means a child can rear face for longer, which the safest way to travel.

However, there is a potential solution. The Britax Safe-n-Sound Unity ISOFIX Baby Capsule and the Britax Safe-n-Sound Unity NEOS Baby Capsule are Australia’s first capsules that can be used for up to 12 months. So you get the flexibility of a travel system for longer. Then when your baby is ready, you can buy a 0 - 4 convertible car seat with extended rear facing option for their next stage.

Travel system pro: Travel system prams are often easier to collapse and are more compact

Unless you’re driving a bus, boot space will be at a premium when you have a bub. Choosing a pram that folds well is a really important consideration particularly when you need to fit countless changes of clothes, nappies, wipes, bottles, and toys, and all the rest in your boot. Take the Britax Flexx Stroller for example. You have the option of folding with the seat attached but when you remove it, it folds down to a super compact 30cm x 60cm 71cm (approx.) Plus, the frame weighs only 8.5kgs so putting it in the boot won’t break your back!

Travel system con: Babies shouldn’t be in car seats for long periods of time

It’s important to remember that babies shouldn’t be left in any car seat for hours and are at an increased risk of SIDS if left in a sitting position for a long period of time. Keeping a baby in a capsule for short trips to the shops and to do school drop offs are absolutely fine. However, capsules shouldn’t replace a proper flat sleep surface such as a bassinet or cot.

Travel system pro: Travel systems are a great option for more than one child

If you’ve already got one child, are considering a second or are having twins, a travel system is a perfect option. The Steelcraft Strider Signature V5 and the Britax Flexx Stroller both offer a huge amount of configurations to suit your needs. If you have twins, both prams have the tandem option, so you can fit two capsules to the one pram. If you have a newborn and an older child, the options are almost endless! You can move the capsule and second seat around and they can either face forward or back depending on their age and needs. It’s an incredibly flexible option for travelling with a pair.

Travel system con: Not all babies like capsules

Some parents are completely sold on a travel system but unfortunately, their babies aren’t convinced. Whether it’s the enclosed nature of the capsule or angle of the seat some babies just don’t like capsules. If you’re experiencing this, don’t despair quite yet. Ensure your baby is comfortable and the straps aren’t too tight.

With this information, hopefully, you'll feel more prepared next time you enter the baby store! Remember, every family is different so only you can know what the right decision is for you. Good luck!