Transporting your child is a large part of the move from coupledom to family. Being able to do that with safety and comfort is an utmost priority for you all. There are many different solutions available and to add to the complexity, they all have different names!
What’s in the name?
The names are varied – travel system, pram, pushchair (buggy) etc – as are the solutions on offer. They all have wheels along with different elements for the child to sit or lie in, which offers comfortable transportation throughout the different stages of the child’s development.
- A travel system consists of a frame with wheels that is compatible with a carry cot, seat (this can face out to the world or back towards the parent), and a first stage car seat. Buying a travel system will mean you have a single solution from birth through to when your child is walking independently.
- A pushchair (buggy) is a fixed one piece solution designed for larger toddlers, though you can sometimes purchase brand specific newborn “add-ons” to extend the life of this type of product.
- A pram is a lie flat solution for a new born baby, suitable till the child can push up with their hands.
Regulations & Safety.
All travel system and car seat products are regulated. Each product has to undergo rigorous testing to ensure that it meets the safety standards that are set out. These consistently change and are different now to even a few years ago. This is important when you consider the features of a new product against one that has already been used for a number of years.
So, practically speaking, what factors need to be considered when choosing a travel system? The focus here should be on how you are going to use it and what you need, to be able to achieve the best environment for your child.
- What type of terrain are you going to access?
- Who is going to use the travel system?
- How much storage space will you need?
- Do you have a car that it needs to go in?
- How long do you want/need it to last for?
Going for a test drive
This is a really important part. Take with you all the people who are going to use the travel system on a day to day basis and make sure that everyone has a push, to ensure that they are comfortable.
Ark Travel System Mustard – SHOP NOW
For the baby it’s good to consider the following elements:
- How stable is the carry cot? (a strong flat base means that the child is kept safe from bumps and shocks as well)
- Does the carry cot lie flat?
- Can the child sleep in it overnight?
- How does the 5 point safety harness work, is it suitable material, will it pinch skin? (a five point harness is important to make sure your child is secure, as well as comfortable when seated)
- How is the temperature managed?
- Does the seat recline, and if so how many positions?
- Is there a bumper bar?
- How sturdy is the material of the seats? (some seats are hammock style and the quality of these improves all the way through to a padded fixed seat with natural materials)
- How does the suspension work? Does it offer a smooth ride?
- Is there adequate sun protection?
- How will the baby be protected from rain?
- Is there a way of attaching toys?
For the parent it’s good to consider the following elements:
- How heavy is the travel system?
- How does it steer? Does it turn easily?
- Are the front wheels lockable? How does it manage varied terrain?
- How do you apply the brake?
- Is the parent handle comfortable?
- Look for storage, consider what items you will need for yourself and the baby – think blankets, sun protection, rain cover for changeable weather, shopping, and (even better) a bin.
- Practicalities – can everyone who is going to be using the travel system put it up and down?
- Does it fit in your car?
- Is it washable – textiles, frame and wheels?
- Are the wheels puncture-proof?
- How long do you want the system to last for?
- Can you attach a buggy board or second seat for another child?
- How do car seats attach and which models / brands fit?
- How do car seats attach to your car? What parts are needed?
- Are there any accessories to complement the travel system?
You may also have other considerations around colour, fabrics, materials, finish, product life and environmental impact. All of the above is valid when seeking to make an informed decision for the purchase of a travel system for your family.
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