Keep the stroller at home

We’re going on a cross country flight with our two year old in a couple of weeks. The anticipation of a delayed flight and more time spent in an airport isn’t appealing. Luckily, my parents are accompanying us on the trip and they will surely help with keeping our daughter entertained.

I have found a solution that can substitute the stroller and free up a lot of space. It is the Traveling Toddler: Car seat travel accessory. It is simply a strap that attaches your child’s car seat onto your carry-on luggage. So rather than bringing along your child’s clunky stroller, you can replace it with a strap. That sounds like a big space saving trade-off. Just make sure you watch where you are going and you’ve tightened the strap sufficiently.

36 Comments for “Keep the stroller at home”

  1. posted by jonathan on

    I’d actually be a teensy bit worried about breaking or at least bending the extending handle on my case. Although I guess once the whole lot is tilted it should be ok.

  2. posted by timgray on

    I dont see that working for walking the child around Disneyland or a local mall or parks. It looks useful only for making it through the airports and the TSA goons easier.

  3. posted by Karyn on

    That would be good for the airport, maybe, but not at the destination. Much easier to get a cheap umbrella stroller and gate-check it. We’ve even gate-checked our regular stroller and that worked just fine.

  4. posted by Carolyn on

    A small umbrella stroller would be easier to manage than the car seat, first of all. Second, do you really want your child at the same height as all of the luggage that is being toted around the airport? One good collision and your child is going to the hospital. Might put a damper on a vacation.

    Get a child carrier or sling and wear your kid. That’s a much easier, more elegant, and more compact solution than this is.

  5. posted by Andy on

    So rather than bringing along your child’s clunky stroller, you can replace it with your child’s clunky car seat. And a flimsy strap. And your clunky carry-on luggage. Let her walk.

  6. posted by Rebee on

    I’m just scared that, because bumping luggage is so common in airports, your kid is going to end up in the hospital. Airports are crowded, noisy places and luggage often gets slammed into, stepped on, and have all sorts of horrid things happen to it. I wouldn’t want to strap a kid onto my luggage.

  7. posted by Springpeeper on

    Having travelled with my kids, I have to say that this sounds good. We always brought the car seat anyway since we were renting a car at our destination and wanted to be sure of having a good car seat for the trip.

    Another great idea for travelling with a small kid is a backpack for them to ride in. Keeps them off the ground with the added benefit that stairs and curbs are no problem.

  8. posted by Just ME on

    I just took my big stroller, threw everything in that and carried the kid. Made it very easy.

    I will need the stroller at our destination, and the carseat on the plane so they both had to go with.

    Like others, I would worry about someone slamming into my child.

  9. posted by martha in mobile on

    As a mum, I agree this is great in theory, but a potential disaster in reality. My child and I flew cross-country a dozen times before she was five, so here are my observations: 1)No little child wants to be point-person at kneelevel in a crowded airport; she will want to be held. 2)You won’t be using the carseat on the plane, so just check it with your checked luggage (or if this is a regular destination and a friend is picking you up, leave it at home and have them buy you one to bring to the airport). 3)A cheap umbrella stroller will probably serve you at your destination, and they are very inexpensive. Bring one, plus a sling, if she likes them.

  10. posted by spark on

    I was a nanny for a set of twins whose mother traveled by plane quite frequently and took her kids with her as much as possible. She used this seat/stroller exclusively:

    http://www.hammacher.com/publi....._-10370662

    They are expensive though, and perhaps not the investment you want to make for a single plane trip. But if traveling is something you plan to do a lot of, it’s probably a good investment. You can use the seat as your regular car seat when you aren’t flying.

    Have you considered one of these as an alternative to your strap solution:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi.....atizer-20/

    It looks like it might be a better solution. When you arrive at your destination, you still have the added benefit of carrying along a stroller for outings. From it’s appearance, it looks like it folds up quite small and will probably fit into most carry on bags. It looks safer than strapping the seat to your rolling baggage too. It is 80 dollars but if you consider the cost of your cross country plane tickets for your family anyway, it’s probably not that high.

    I agree with others that the added weight of a seat + child may bend or warp your luggage handle. Those rolling suitcases can also be difficult to maneuver too.

    I wouldn’t be too worried about someone crashing into your child. He or she isn’t going to be much higher off the ground if you choose to use an umbrella stroller. And allowing the child to walk in an airport at two years of age sounds more scary, for many reasons.

    Anyway, those are my suggestions. Hope you have a good trip!

  11. posted by susan on

    Having a child a foot-level is not a great solution – she can easily get kicked, hit with luggage and briefcases, etc.

    To those who suggest walking – nto a great solution in a busy airport terminal, where a small child can get lost in a big crowd, and especially when the parent’s hands are busy with tickets, baggage, opening doors, etc.

    Whenever we traveled, we used a backpack carrier (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi.....atizer-20/ just for reference) – this kept the child safely high up, contained, was comfortable enough for sleeping, gave her an interesting height to observe airport goings-on, and even worked as a stand-seat for when we were waiting at the gate area.

    Happy travels!

  12. posted by barry on

    Also, I would avoid going on escalators with this thing!

  13. posted by L on

    I think this is an amazing product, but you’re marketing it incorrectly. I would never put my child in it (along, apparently, with most parents); she sits in the stroller in the airport. But carrying the car seat (which I usually have to tote along on my back) is a huge annoyance, and being able to strap it securely to a piece of luggage I’m already pulling would be awesome! Thanks for the inexpensive, simple solution to an annoying problem.

  14. posted by B on

    Several years ago my husband and I tried using the Sit’n Stroll. It was great for the airport, and we always wanted our kid in a carseat in the plane and at our destination. It was a horrible stroller for an uneven street (perfect for perfect airport floors). Usually we would just buy a $10 umbrella stroller; use it at our destination; and then take it to goodwill/salvation army/thrift store on the way to the airport. Sounds gluttonous, but it worked for the few years of limited travel that we did with a toddler.

  15. posted by Kat on

    I agree with most – bring your stroller and gate check it – they’ll even take a wide twin stroller. Remember lots of snacks, a deflated beach ball for layovers, a portable DVD player with comfy earphones and a favorite movie. And the airport is not really quite as worrisome as the flight – but it’s all over before you know it!

  16. posted by Michele on

    @Kat wrote: a deflated beach ball for layovers

    I read that as “a deflated beach ball for leftovers”!

    As for this travel solution, I agree that it doesn’t look too appealing for the child.

    When our daughter was small enough to need a car seat, we would manage this way: (1) use the car seat in the plane, which (as far as my understanding) is the safest and FAA-recommended way for small children to fly; (2) take only one carry-on bag for all three of us; (3) pack everything else in a large suitcase or two and check them; and (4) divide the one carry-on bag, the car seat, and the child between the two of us as we walked through the airport.

    I don’t recall ever bringing a stroller with us when we traveled by air, but we weren’t big stroller users to begin with. Generally we used a sling or Bjorn-type front carrier.

  17. posted by Michael@ Awareness * Connection on

    This is interesting. I like the line of thinking. When my daughter was a toddler the best we found was the umbrella stroller. When she was an infant we tried checking the bigger stroller, but that was pretty cumbersome on the destination end of our flight. All I can say is life is much better now that she is 8 and can manage much of her own stuff. It gets better. For those of you still in thick of air travel with young kids, you have my empathy.

  18. posted by Leonie on

    As expats living abroad, we made frequent trips to the US, across the US, and around the world, usually in a year. I just don’t recall the stroller – a Graco fold up – being that big a deal. We always had a car seat with us – for the flight – strapped child/ren in the car seats, and then in the cars. I was often on my own as well. Traveling with the kids was enjoyable despite the car seat and stroller.

    Yes, it was quite a lot to carry. And I learned not to take “bring this back for me” requests to pare down what I had to carry.

    This stroller doesn’t look safe – the child is at eye level with bags. People tend to carry backpacks or computer bags which would be at the child’s face level.

    If all you’re concerned about is the airport itself, an unbrella stroller would probably work for porting child around, then folding it up to tuck away on the flight or car.

  19. posted by infmom on

    We carried our kids in a specially designed backpack carrier when they were little. Great exercise for Mom and Dad and the kids were secure and away from low flying adult gizmos. The backpack frame folded up quite neatly when not in use.

  20. posted by Nancy B on

    Car seats on a plane are the safest way to go for little ones. We have traveled extensively using the Go-Kidz device listed here:

    http://www.amazon.com/Go-Kidz-…..d_sxp_f_pt

    We always went in and out of Newark, an extremely busy airport, and never had any problems with people banging other suitcases or bags – if anything, people gave us a wide berth and made comments like, “Now that’s how to travel!” after seeing my son being wheeled around in his car seat. We plan on using the Go-Kidz with baby #2.

  21. posted by Tvini on

    That seems incredibly impractical. Pedestrians know to watch out for a stroller. They’re not going to watch out for someone wheeling luggage, and they’re not going to look down just in case there’s a baby cruising along strapped to your carry-on. Seems like a good way for your infant to get kneed in the face.

  22. posted by John of Indiana on

    This’ll never fly, why, you can’t bash into childless people’s shins and run over their feet like you can with one of those Hil-Rom “Baby SUV” strollers.
    and after seeing all these comments about putting the kid “face-level with a suitcase” and the like, I think there might be something to my assertion. So much easier to yak on the Cellie when you have 40# of roto-moulded doing the parenting for ya….

  23. posted by Rebecca on

    Instead of lugging around a car seat, check this out:

    Safe Traffic Systems Ride Safer Vest

    I just ordered one, and hope that it will make our upcoming airplane trip that much easier with no seat to lug around, yet have a very safe restraint system for the rental car.

  24. posted by Stuart on

    It was great when we traveled with family. We each took turns carrying and entertaining our child. We found that we didn’t need a stroller.

  25. posted by Karyn on

    Somebody mentioned the sling or baby carrier. That’s what we did when the kids were small enough for me to carry them in my Maya pouch. When they got too heavy for that, my husband carried the kid and a backpack (which we used instead of a diaper bag–MUCH easier) and I carried the other carryons.

  26. posted by Adie on

    That is flat-out one of the dumbest inventions I’ve ever seen.

  27. posted by Jay on

    Interesting post, although I don’t think the product would work for us.

    A traveller with a small child has to ask: Do I bring a car seat? Do I bring a stroller?

    Our answer (for our family with a four-year-old and a one-year-old) to both those questions is, “Yes.”

    To clarify one issue, a car seat for a small child (typically under 40 pounds) is MANDATORY in every state I’ve traveled in. If you have a small child and are renting a car at your destination, you have to bring a car seat. Some rental car companies will let you reserve a car seat, but there is no guarantee that you will get one. For a larger child, a booster seat is required. The Safe Traffic Systems Ride Safer Vest would not be a legal car seat. I don’t know if it could replace a booster seat.

    Since we rent a car at the airport, we have to bring a car seat.

    As to the stroller, we prefer not to carry our one-year-old daughter around the airport and find the stroller easier. We typically travel in the early morning or late at night. In the stroller, she can sleep. The airlines we’ve travelled on let us push her in the stroller all the way to the airplane door, where the stroller is left to be put under the plane. Since it is gate-checked, it appears magically just outside the airplane door at our destination.

    We use a 12-dollar umbrella stroller from Wal-Mart. It is easy to push with one hand. If it gets damaged under the plane, no big loss.

  28. posted by empty on

    We don’t use a car seat on the plane for our toddler; we’ve switched to the CARES straps, which seem to be safer than a car seat for plane use anyway. We gate-check the (spare) car seat, now using it only for…the car. We have always carried him or held his hand while walking. We pack VERY light (one carry-on bag with the aforementioned car seat slung over it and one small backpack apiece as a personal item is the most we’ve ever brought, even for a three-week trip) so chasing him down, even in an airport, has never been a problem.

    I would not feel comfortable wheeling my kid around in a bulky car seat at knee level. If he were more attached to the stroller lifestyle, I would either gate check a cheap umbrella stroller or buy one at our destination. In our experience there are only two ways to make travel less painful: (a lot) more money or less stuff. The rolling car seat seems like it violates the less stuff criterion. But I admit that if we had a lot more money I’d use a private car service for ground travel and let them worry about the car seat (and the luggage, and everything else). I had a wealthy acquaintance once who did that; traveling with her was always a zero-stress experience.

  29. posted by indiasoup on

    ha! i saw one of those car-seat-luggage things, and laughed. a perfectly capable 5 year old was sitting in it. seriously, mom? i can understand a toddler, a baby, but not a walking, talking, running, and clearly non-disabled child.

    and there are plenty of strollers that can be disassembled and popped into a tote.

  30. posted by Rosemary on

    Just a word of warning: I have done a lot of flying around the world, and it is really only the USA where you can reliably use your car seat on the plane. Most other places won’t let you.

  31. posted by Rosie Redfield on

    Somebody just tested out various car-seat/stroller adapters for travel and wrote a review. In Salon? or Slate?.

  32. posted by molly on

    I second B’s statement. We have an 18 month old and love the Sit-N-Stroll for the airport. My son is very independent and wants to run every where except the direction we need to go, so carrying him isn’t an option. We travel a lot out to the West Coast so we need a car seat. I get a cheap stroller, like B, because the stroller function of the Sit-N-Stroll is really only good for floors found in airports. When not traveling, we use the Sit-N-Stroll in my husband’s car. I have used it numerous time in the grocery store when out and about in his car.

  33. posted by Leonie on

    Rosemary has a good point. When we flew Malaysian Airlines with our baby and 2 year old, the crew nearly freaked out when we started strapping the carseat in. We had to show them the FAA sticker on the side.

  34. posted by AAA on

    @ Rosie Redfield
    that was Slate.com a few days ago that reviewed paraphernalia for traveling with young kids, including some carseat/stroller travel options.

  35. posted by Dancing Monkey on

    Can you use this to stow your baby in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you?

  36. posted by Diana on

    As I travel a lot with my baby I use Go Go Kidz Travelmate that I bought 4 months ago. The travelmate is very comfortable and easy to maneuver. It comes with soft wheels which are sized at 5 inches. The wheels are easily removable and are having quick release system. We can move travelmate using one hand only and keep the other hand free.

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