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When we were shopping for a stroller and car seat, our main criteria (other than being safe, of course) was that it be easy to carry and light. With me transitioning to being a stay at home mom, I would be doing a lot of the transporting on my own, and wanted something that would be easy on my back. After looking around and testing things out in Buy Buy Baby and Babies R Us, we settled on the Chicco KeyFit 30 car seat. It’s light (about 10 pounds) and its corresponding stroller, the Chicco Keyfit Stroller Frame, can be folded up with one hand. As a bonus, the stroller has lots of storage– I’ve done multiple Walmart runs with it and haven’t even needed a cart. These are the only two things we bought for transporting our baby before he was born and this would probably be enough if you are trying to keep your costs low– the rest of the items below are more “nice to haves” rather than necessary.
One group of “nice to haves” deals with entertainment. My mom bought us a car seat entertainment set with hanging owls and mirrors that plays music and lights up. It attaches to the car seat handle. I’ve lost track of the number of times the baby was crying in the car or in the stroller when the only thing that would soothe him was listening to this music. For that reason alone, this is worth having. Another nice item is a mirror that we hang on the actual seat (in the car) — it’s positioned so that the baby can see himself in the mirror, and also driver can see the baby from the rear view mirror. The best part is that it has a remote control to control the music and lights, so we can turn it on from the front seat when he starts to cry! Although our baby is usually happy in the car, this has come in handy a few times and I’m glad we bought it.
The accessory we bought in this category was a car seat canopy. Although our car seat has its own sun/wind shield that can be pulled out to cover a little bit of the seat, I still like having this canopy because it covers the entire seat. This is nice for when he falls asleep while we are out– we just pull the canopy over him so he is less likely to wake up from any distractions.
Here is a breakdown of transportation expenses:
- Stroller: $100
- Car seat: $200
- Car seat entertainment: $8.50
- Mirror for seat: $30
- Car seat cover: $28
TOTAL FOR TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES: $366.50
Everyone needs a car seat (unless you live in NYC), so to save money in this category, you would want to take away the accessories. This includes the stroller. We walk everywhere and use the stroller every day so that wouldn’t have worked for us, but a few of my friends made it through their baby’s entire childhood without buying a stroller. If this sounds appealing to you, make sure you’ve given a lot of thought to how you will spend your days with the baby. Not having a stroller is do-able if you have a lot of upper arm strength (to carry the car seat everywhere), or if you know that, until he starts walking, you will primarily be taking your baby from the car to the house (or the house of grandma, friends, daycare, etc.). Grocery shopping is also possible without a stroller if your store has those huge carts which would fit a car seat inside. Another option aside from the stroller is a baby carrier, although those usually cost just as much, if not more, than a stroller.
Things that would increase costs in this category would be buying a more expensive car seat or stroller. Luckily, the models we liked were also some of the most economical ones. However, it is completely possible to get a $500+ stroller. Those tend to have a smoother ride and may be smoother to fold up (they also might be heavier). The baby store near you should have them all out on display for you to check out.