Chicco Travel System
Most reviews I read while pregnant with our son suggested to steer clear of travel systems. Too bulky, they said. Unnecessary. Clumsy. Then we took a newborn safety class and one of the nurses scared the bejeezus out of us. She shared a story of an infant going blue and almost suffocating in a car seat that was attached to a snap-and-go kind of stroller. This is something we had been considering. It would have been much cheaper and more practical. Or so I thought.
Finally, having had absolutely no experience with strollers, car seats or infants and not knowing just how much we would or wouldn’t use our stroller and/or car seat, we decided to purchase the Chicco Cortina Keyfit 30 travel system. We crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. I have to say this travel system did not disappoint.
We specifically chose Chicco Cortina Keyfit 30 because of the quality and high rating of the combo’s car seat. We tried out several different car seats in our prenatal classes and the Chicco was by far the easiest in terms of installation and use of straps. Because we had no experience with car seats, it was difficult to imagine what would be important and what wouldn’t.
Well, let me tell you that one of the most important features of a car seat is straps — how easy or difficult it is to strap your child in means everything (a five-point harness is the safest, of course). Chicco Cortina Keyfit 30 car seat’s straps worked perfectly, fit great, and were very easy to operate, always. I also appreciated how easy it was to snap the car seat into its base installed in the car. You’d hear a click and know that it had been positioned correctly.
Car seat base had a built-in bubble level that helped to ensure proper placement and positioning. No guess work, which I really appreciated. It made me feel safe and comfortable. It was one less thing I had to worry about. Another important feature of this car seat is the fact that it allows your child to stay rear-facing until they weigh 30 lb. So, theoretically, your child could stay rear-facing (which is safer) in this car seat until he or she is about two years old. In our case, however, our baby has always been extremely tall and only stayed rear-facing for the first thirteen months. Had he been smaller/shorter, I would have kept using this car seat much longer.
Another feature I loved was the visor attached to the car seat’s suncover. It actually worked as an extension to the suncover and provided much needed relief from sunlight. It also provided a great cover for nap times when the car seat was snapped into the stroller. A very small detail adding to functionality and comfort.
We used Chicco Cortina Keyfit 30 as a combo quite a bit on walks and for general out-and-about running around-ery. I loved using the duo because it allowed my son to face me while in the car seat/stroller and it provided great cover for naps. The stroller itself had three reclining settings and I used it as a cradle for the first eight weeks or so. The great thing about its lining — you can unsnap it from the body of the stroller and wash it. Worked really well and never shrunk.
While we were very happy with this combo all-around (we traveled quite a bit in the first year and the stroller withstood some very rough handling), there were several things that didn’t work for us:
1. I was never able to collapse the stroller one-handed. Always took both hands to get that done.
2. Although technically the stroller is designed for children weighing up to 50 lb, we found that our son couldn’t fit in it comfortably once he hit about 20-25 lb. I think this was largely due to the fact that he is so tall for his age — the straps just didn’t extend far enough any more.
3. Once our son got to 12-15 lb, it became difficult to lift the car seat and snap it into the stroller. I think we quit using this duo as a travel system at that point.
While I am grateful we had this travel system when our son was born, I certainly would not go that route if I had another little one. It worked for us as a combo for a few short months and then we used just the stroller for a few more months. We ended up buying a different stroller well before he turned two and, if I could do this again, I wouldn’t go with a travel system, albeit a high-quality and well-built one.