Wonderful Travel System
May 25, 2012
When I hit about four months' pregnant, I went on a major search to find the perfect travel system for my daughter. I knew we'd be putting a ton of mileage on the travel system, as my boyfriend and I are very active, and we'd presumably be using the car seat for the better part of her first year. I wanted something that was proven safe, wasn't too bulky or heavy (I'm 5'3" with shoes on), had a stroller that was relatively easy to set up and take down, had a seatbelt that wouldn't melt my poor brain and that I could get her in and out of easily, and I needed it to be under $200. Oh, and if I could get something that didn't remind me of Pepto Bismol, and had a design that I really liked, that would be fantastic.
It took almost five months to find my travel system, but find it I did. The stroller is intuitive to put up and down, I didn't even need the instructions for the initial set-up (I did double-check just to make sure it was done correctly, but I'd figured everything out just fine). It only weighs about ten pounds, and I can lift it with one hand easily. I can also put up and take down with one hand, with very little effort. The "Mommy Tray," as we've dubbed it, is great - one cup holder will hold a drink beautifully. The other is a little shallow, but definitely functional - I usually throw my cell phone and keys in there. The net under the stroller easily holds both our diaper bags (We cloth diaper, so extra diapers take more room than disposable, hence the necessity for two bags for trips more than a couple hours), plus my purse. There's even a little room left, so we could put a few toys down there when she gets old enough to want them.
The car seat is fantastic. I was a little leery, as there are a ton of complaints on Graco's seatbelts being only adjustable in the back, but I haven't had an issue with it. The belts are easily adjusted when they need to be, and because the adjustments are in the back of the seat, I have the peace of mind of knowing she won't be able to loosen her own belt. The design is darling and bright, much more vivid and cheerful than it looks online, and like the stroller, the carseat is lightweight too. The best part of this seat is it doesn't require the base to use in the car - it can be buckled in through hooks in the front. This means if we happen to need Daddy's Blazer for some reason, and can't use mine, we don't have to remove the base and fight with getting it just so in the Blazer.
This system met everything I asked for, and then some. The only reason it lost a star ( and I wish I could give 4.5 ) is because the head rest piece doesn't support her head well yet, so we had to get a pillow specifically designed to support her neck so her head didn't fall over when she was in her seat, and compress her airway. This isn't a major issue, however, as the pillow instantly fixed that problem, and because most carseats have this issue - even many that were several hundred dollars more than this one. Overall, we love this system, and would recommend it to anyone, whether they are on a strict budget or not.
Easy to set up and take down
Level on the side lets you know if the carseat is installed properly
Seatbelts adjusted in back
Can be used with or without the base
Cons:Needed a pillow to support her neck