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Transportation For Kids: The Best Ways To Get Kids Around

09/07/2012 02:05 EDT | Updated 09/10/2012 06:05 EDT
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Kids can be a lot of things -- cute, entertaining, brilliant. But when it comes to bringing them places, they can also be a bit of a pain.

As the fall ramps up and activities become less simple than "let's go to the park," it seemed a good time to take a look at the best way to get kids around, whether it's to school or to Grandma and Grandpa's house for the night.

We talked to Tracie Wagman, mom of two and co-founder of Help! We’ve Got Kids, to offer up some options.

Ways To Transport Kids

Strollers And Stroller Systems

"One thing to consider if you are using your stroller a lot and running errands, and being "about town" with your newborn is that you will want to make sure that there is room for you to store your purchases (usually located at the bottom of a stroller)," says Traci Wagman, mom of two and co-founder of Help! We've Got Kids.

Suggestions: UPPAbaby's Vista has one of the biggest under-carriage storage compartments on the market; Phil & Ted's also has good storage options on their various models

Umbrella Strollers

"For travel --anything farther away than a trip around your own city -- umbrella strollers are ideal. Many people have a bigger, everyday stroller that they keep at home and keep their umbrella strollers in the car. The key is that the umbrella stroller is light and easy to fold

up, which means they're easy to lug around onto airplanes, trains and buses," says Wagman.

Suggestions: Micralite Toro, UPPAbaby G-Luxe and Britax Blink

Snap-And-Go Car Seat Systems

"These seat units are crucial for newborns; it's a car seat that snaps into

the stroller frame, so you don't have to remove the child from the seat and put them back in multiple times," explains Wagman. "This way, you can get baby from stroller to car or car to house without waking them.

Suggestions: "Graco and Peg Perego are the big winners here because they work with so many different stroller brands."

Baby Carriers

"I think these are, hands down, the best way to carry a new baby around. Using a front carrier, you still get to use both your hands and they are so easy to take with you and put on wherever you are -- I once hosted

an engagement party with my baby in a sling the whole time!" says Wagman. She notes that your back shouldn't hurt, as a good carrier will distribute weight evenly across your hips rather than put all of baby's weight on your shoulders and upper back.

Baby Slings And Wraps

"You'll want to avoid using the popular dangle-by-the-crotch carriers, which can cause spinal compression and hip dysplasia," says Wagman. "Instead look for slings and wraps with some stretch to them. Many carriers can accommodate babies from newborn up to 45 pounds. Other baby carriers provide infant inserts in which you can carry newborns and remove when they're bigger."

Suggestions: Monkeywrap, Koala Pouch, Boba 3G, Manduca, ergobaby

Other Carriers

"If you're the walk-around or hiking type, backpack carriers or even back-oriented back slings are great," says Wagman. "Some are easily adjustable so you can pass the pack to the other parent with little or no fuss; and some have added features like rain hoods, soft lining and other fantastic things you never knew you needed."

Suggestion: Mountain Equipment Co-op

Biking

"Biking is a great way for you to get exercise and instill in your kids a love of the outdoors. Even with a newborn in tow, there are a few fairly simple options for parents who were bike enthusiasts in their former lives," Wagman notes.

Bike Seats

"You can get a child's bike seat to attach to the front or back of your bike; remember for this that the wee kidlets need to be able to sit up on their own," Wagman advises.

Child Bicycle Trailer

"There are enclosed trailers that tow behind or to the side of an adult bicycle. Make sure to know how many kids you'll be carting around when you are shopping for one because they come in different

sizes," Wagman explains. "Trailers come in range of prices from about $100 (like those from to almost $1,000. These offer great longevity because, with an infant sling attachment, bike trailers can be used almost from birth up until you reach that maximum weight allowance."

Suggestions: CCM and Schwinn (at lower end of price range), Chariot Carriers (higher end)

Accessories

"There are so many incredible options for diaper bags now, and most of them don't even look like traditional (read: ugly) diaper bags," says Wagman. "The key is to find a bag that can keep your things and your baby's things stored and organized so you have everything you need when you're on the run and you're not digging around frantically for wipes, diapers and soothers.

Suggestions: "Great, über-fashionable ones can be found at Kate Spade and Marc Jacobs; you can also repurpose a nice beach bag from the likes of lululemon!"

Stroller Accessories

"Stroller accessories have come a long way, too," Wagman says with some relief. "You can get large carabineer to hang your bag(s) off of your stroller and keep them within reach. There are cup holders for your water or coffee; and nets you can hang on the stroller to keep the sun off, and some that will even keep your things organized. Bonus: most of these accessories can work with almost any stroller - so you can go nuts!"

Suggestion: SnoozeShade

"For a slightly older sibling, I love the "step" that attaches to the stroller," says Wagman. "It's light and easy to attach and is kind of like a miniature skateboard that keeps the child within reach and helps them from getting tired."

Car Travel

"There are tons of accessories for your car - this list could go on for a long time. The important thing is that your car seats are installed properly," notes Wagma. "For newborn car seats, you want to make sure it can clip in and out easily -- often you can visit the local police or fire station and ask for help. Keep in mind that a seat-saver is a good investment to keep your car free of stray Cheerios and prevent permanent indents from the car seats."

Suggestion: Prince Lionheart (seat saver)

"You can find some fantastic toys that hang off of the seats to keep babies busy, stimulated and happy."

"One thing many parents like are great mirrors that allow you to see your rear-facing baby and make sure all is well while you're driving," says Wagman.

"Don't forget the window shade that you can see through perfectly as a driver but blocks the sun from baby's face. There is nothing worse than having to stop and move the car seat to the other side of the car because your crying baby has non-stop sun in her face."

"Of course, for older kids there are attachments for your iPad and iPod, great in-car music systems and books (on CD, on the iPad) and activities that are made just for travelling," says Wagman, who speaks from experience. "A dual-screen DVD player may turn out to be a road-trip lifesaver."