Best Stroller and Car Seat Combos

A few reasons: First, when you don’t have to take your baby out of a stroller harness and strap her into a car seat, she’s more likely to stay asleep when you make those transfers between stroller and car. You simply click the car seat out of the stroller and click it into the base in the car. As any sleep-deprived, peace-and-quiet-seeking new parent knows, this is particularly helpful.

There’s also the fact that infant car seats can turn some strollers designed for older children into infant-friendly models. A stroller’s seat might not recline fully, as it needs to in order to accommodate an infant under 6 months old—but if it accepts an infant car seat, you can use the stroller with the car seat for those early months of your child’s life. Then, once they’re old enough, you can put your child directly into the stroller.

Finally, and very importantly, bundling the stroller and car seat usually costs less than buying the two items separately. For instance, the Chicco Mini Bravo Plus stroller and the Chicco KeyFit 30 Car Seat retail for about $200 each, but the Chicco Mini Plus travel system, which includes both, costs around $380.

It’s worth noting that a travel system is different from a car seat stroller, which is a car seat with attached wheels and a handle. With a car seat stroller, the whole contraption functions as a stroller when fully expanded and a car seat when collapsed. It’s a handy design, but when your child outgrows the car seat, you’ll need both a new car seat and a new stroller. Travel systems and car seat strollers are also both distinct from car seat carrier strollers, which are simply frames on wheels that a compatible car seat can clip into to function as a stroller.

If you already own a car seat, you can buy a compatible traditional stroller and car seat adapter; the stroller and car seat don’t need to be from the same brand. But our testers say you’ll get the most seamless experience when you buy a dedicated car seat and stroller bundle.

“With a travel system, you’re getting products that the manufacturer has designed to work together,” says Joan Muratore, who oversees CR’s stroller lab.