Now that I’m a father, so many people have asked me what kind of baby stroller and car seat we have. I’m pretty sure that before Jack came along, I had never actually looked at a stroller or car seat before, let alone wondered who made it. But times change.
My wife Natalie handled this job…as well as all the other important ones! Unlike my impatient self, she did a lot of research and it turns out that car seats and strollers are not all created equal like I thought.
She ended up getting what the fireman who double-checked to see if the car seat was installed correctly called the Rolls-Royce of car seats and baby strollers. FYI: I learned in an infant CPR class that you need to get the car seat inspected by a certified installer since many parents don’t do it properly.
Of course, Natalie didn’t want just any car seat and stroller. She wanted something safe, easy to use and, of course, stylish. I just wanted something safe, easy to use and inexpensive. I guess I should be happy for two out of three.
Fortunately, my wife is an online influencer and she had multiple companies offer to send her the goods to test out. She ended up going with a stroller from a Scandinavian company called Stokke and the car seat is the Stokke PIPA by Nuna. What’s so special about this stroller/car seat system, besides the above, is that it’s a totally plush ride for baby. The car seat is ultra-light (10.5 lbs) and includes an adjustable 5-point safety harness, and an integrated SPF 50 sun canopy with a unique mesh window to provide optimal ventilation for baby and a bird’s eye view for you. I love the mesh because of the SPF and that it prevents people from reaching into the stroller to touch him, something our pediatrician warned us about.
My favorite part of the car seat (besides it not costing me a dime), is that it’s compatible with Stokke’s other products so it’s part of a whole travel system. It took less than five minutes to install the car seat; my kind neighbors helped me since they have a toddler and I was in a hurry to get back to the hospital (yes, I left it to the last minute!) I recommend getting everything done well in advance. We thought we would get everything done in time but Jack arrived three weeks early. I recommend getting your car seat, installing it and having it inspected three months early. Seriously.
The car seat has other unique features like a steel stability leg that helps minimize forward rotation during impact by up to 90% (when compared to a system that is not using a stability leg). Just like when you attach the seat to the stroller, there are green and red light indicators on the steel stability leg and latch to minimize user error so you know if it’s in correctly or not. Note: I did get confused about whether it was installed properly after I placed the car seat on the stroller, then back in the car. The green and red indicators on the side are just for the stroller. Also on the car seat are dual bubble level indicators to confirm that it’s at the correct angle.
If for some reason you don’t have the base with you (i.e. when you travel), the seat can still be installed with a vehicle seat belt (this is the latch-free option. It’s also aircraft certified for most airlines. We haven’t taken Jack for his first plane ride yet but when we do, I look forward to trying this.
The only thing I don’t love about the car seat is that I find it difficult to take off the stroller. You have to press both buttons down simultaneously, which is awkward. I wish they made it as easy as it is to take the car seat off of its base in the car, which uses only one button.
FYI: When I took my car and car seat in to our local fire station to make sure it was properly installed (you need to make an appointment well in advance—at least in Los Angeles), the fireman who was helping me said that I had done it correctly. I was a little surprised because when Natalie and I attended a series of childbirth classes at Cedars-Sinai, many of the parents said that they thought they had installed their car seats correctly only to learn they hadn’t, when they got it inspected. Another reason to get Stokke, which makes installation easy.
What’s crazy is that once Jack was born, my world turned upside down in every way possible…and for the better, of course! While Natalie and I were incredibly fortunate to have the stroller and car seat sent to us at no charge, I realize now that I would pay any amount of money to ensure Jack’s comfort and, more importantly, his safety. And another thing that’s changed? I now strangely find myself checking out other people’s car seats and strollers to see what they’re like. So far, none of them have come close to the Stokke.