You may be at that transition phase when you and your baby cannot agree on using the car seat with the stroller. Maybe you think it is a godsend that you can transfer them from the car to stroller so easily, while they think being in the car seat is the biggest torture they’ve ever suffered.
The compromise any loving parent would make to have their baby stop shrieking is to simply stop with the car seat. But, is there a rule about them? When can you put your baby in a stroller without a car seat?
The easy answer is: No. You really don’t have to use a car seat beyond car rides at any age. And, there is discussion around the internet that keeping your baby in a car seat too much may be detrimental. But, we’ll get into that later.
First, is a quick overview to remind you why you are using a car seat, to begin with.
Car Seat Travel Systems: A Newborn Convenience
Car seat travel systems usually consist of a car seat that can attach to a stroller frame. Most manufacturers sell the car seat travel system as a 2-in-1 combo set with both car seat and stroller included in the package. However, you may be able to purchase separate stroller frames that are compatible with car seats if you buy the right attachments.
Though car seat travel systems are popular for parents of newborns, they are not a requirement. Remember, the car seat is a requirement in a car, but the travel system is a convenience. It appeals to new parents because of the ease in which they can move the baby from car to stroller.
In reality, the one main rule for newborns in strollers is that the stroller fully reclines. This is because newborns and young babies can’t sit up on their own. They also don’t have any head or neck control.
Therefore, you could use any stroller that reclines fully. Some parents prefer to transfer their child from a car seat to a bassinet type stroller instead of a car seat travel system. This is equally acceptable since the bassinet allows the baby to fully recline.
Finally, keep in mind that car seat attachments for strollers are just a convenience for parents. If you are leery of waking your sleeping baby by transferring them from car seat to baby stroller, odds are you bought a travel system to ease the transition.
So, “when can you put your baby in a stroller without a car seat?” You can stop at any time so long as you have an appropriate replacement.
When to Transition Out Car Seats with Strollers
Since car seats are optional for stroller use, there really is no one rule that says you need to keep using them until a certain time. Transitioning car seats out is a matter of preference for the parents.
Some parents like to wait until their child can sit up assisted or have some head and neck control. While others with fully reclining strollers stop using the car seat attachment as early as 6 weeks old… if they used it at all.
A Case Against Extended Car Seat Time
Additionally, you may be tempted to let your baby sleep from car to stroller in the car seat. But, this can be detrimental for your baby. Studies have shown that extended periods of time in a car seat may compress a newborn’s chest.
The upright sitting position may lower the oxygen levels in your child’s blood. This may impair your child’s development, as even a mild obstruction of the airways can be harmful. According to experts, you should limit your little one’s chair time to less than 2 hours at a time.
As if that weren’t enough to get your baby out of the car seat, experts have also suggested that long periods of time in the seat may help the development of a flat spot on your child’s head. Aside from head deformation, the car seat may make gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) worse.
When can you put your baby in a stroller without a car seat? If your child has GERD, the answer is as soon as possible.
Living without the Car Seat Attachment
Your travel system was probably a pricey investment. But, just because you are not using the car seat attachment anymore doesn’t mean you can’t use the stroller.
However, if you only invested in a stroller frame and not a full system you may need to find an alternate stroller. To maximize your money, look for strollers that can accommodate your needs now but will adapt as your child’s needs change.
Now that you know the answer to “When can you put your baby in a stroller without a car seat?” you can start looking into other options. If you’re lucky, you already have an all-in-one travel system and stroller ready to go. But, if you must shop again, remember that your child only needs to fully recline until they can hold their head up.