One of the first two items I purchased before my son was born was a stroller and a car seat. Both are essential for little ones, and the Graco Views Travel System includes both in one package, along with a neat way for them to work together.
What is the Graco Views Travel System?
The Graco Views Travel System is a car seat and stroller combination that includes both a lightweight stroller, and a SnugRide Click Connect 35 LX infant car seat that can attach to the stroller, atop the stroller seat, or directly to the stroller’s frame for easily transporting baby in and out of the car when needed.
Any parent knows that it’s a chore to secure your baby in his car seat. And taking baby in and out while you run errands, especially in the cold Canadian winters where snow, rain, and sub-zero temperatures are involved, can be frustrating. What’s more, who wants to wake a sleeping baby just to transfer him from the car seat to a stroller?
I used my infant car seats and stroller adapter every time I drove with my son when he was a baby, and wouldn’t have had it any other way. This system includes a stroller and car seat that work interchangeably with one another, without the need for separate adapters.
Setting up the Graco Views Travel System
Set aside about an hour to set up the stroller system, including your time to take all of the pieces out of the box, set up the stroller, and familiarize yourself with how to snap the car seat and stroller seat on and off, and understand all of the features.
Putting together the stroller will definitely require the manual’s detailed instructions. Altogether, it took about a half hour. First, push the side buttons to open up the stroller base. Lay it flat, and snap on the rear wheels, then flip it over, and attach each of the front wheels. Then sit it upright, set up the canopy, and click it on. Take the seat portion, and it clicks neatly into two grooves on either side of the base, in either rear or forward-facing position.
Then you can add the safety bar, and neat accessories, including a cup and phone holder for mom, and a neat soft-material cup holder for baby that clips onto the removable armbar for holding his bottle or sippy cup. The cup holder and phone holder clip on to either side of the stroller’s handlebars for easy and convenient access.
Pull the lever at the back of the car seat to release it from its base (which should be properly installed in the car). The car seat can click directly into the stroller base if you want to leave the reclining stroller seat in the trunk of the car, or at home, or you can position the car seat atop the stroller seat when the latter is forward-facing.
Using the Graco Views Travel System
I did not install the car seat base in my vehicle, but coincidentally, having owned this same car seat when my son was an infant, I can attest to the fact that it’s a fairly simple and standard process, comparable to other infant car seats.
At the heart of this stroller and car seat is Graco’s Click Connect system. Removing and connecting the stroller and car seat to and from the base is super easy, which is important particularly when you’re trying to transfer a sleeping infant from the stroller base to the car seat for the ride home, and vice versa. Pop the stroller seat out, pop the car seat in, switch the stroller seat from forward to rear-facing, and more, always listening for those audible clicks to let you know they’re secured on properly. Two grooves on either side of the stroller seat make it easy to grip the seat to plop it into the frame, or remove it.
I initially had some trouble figuring out how to position the car seat on top of the stroller seat, despite the fact that you should be able to simply drop the car seat in and hear the audible clicks. After a few frustrations, I figured out that the stroller seat wasn’t fully reclined back as far as it will possibly go in order for the car seat to sit properly. Note that if the stroller seat is reclined up even a bit, you’ll still hear an audible “click,” and it might seem as though the seat is properly connected. But that’s just the back latch clicking into the armbar of the stroller seat. To test it out, try and lift the car seat up. If it wiggles even a bit, it’s not in correctly. See my photo as well for reference on how it should look. Once you figure out how to do it, though, it literally is just a click and connect process: drop the seat in, and you’re ready to go. When placing the car seat directly on the stroller frame, make sure you only position it in rear-facing position, so baby is in view of mom or dad pushing the stroller.
The stroller folds up really easily for popping in the trunk or putting away at home: just press the two round buttons on either side, flip down the handlebar, and it collapses into itself for easy lifting and popping into a trunk, without having to bend all the way down and pick it up from the ground. The stroller seat is reversible so you can have baby face you for reassurance, or look at the world in front once he gets older and appreciates a bit more exploration.
The stroller has a locking front swivel wheel for easy navigation, and the ride is silky smooth. There’s also a removable body support – a nice bit of extra padding to ensure baby is comfortable – along with a five-point harness that is adjustable to ensure a secure fit as your baby grows. The seat can recline all the way back, or sit upright.
This stroller is suitable for kids up to about 50 lbs., which means you can continue to use it even after you’ve switched your child from the Snugride infant seat to a larger one. To put this in perspective, my son, at 5, is just about 40 lbs.
The phone holder is a great addition, so your phone is easily accessible at all times. (When my son was a baby, I even bought a holder separate from my stroller for this very reason.) The slot is fairly thin, so you won’t be able to fit your phone with a bulky case on it. The drink holder is a must as well – new moms need constant caffeine fuel and/or water for hydration. It won’t some fit wider-sized water bottles, but will be fine for your standard-sized coffee cup or bottled water. The best part about these included accessories, however, is that they are dishwasher safe. Knowing how easily mine got soiled from coffee stains as I went over bumps on the road, or other spills, that’s a welcome feature.
The undercarriage compartment is more spacious than you’d find in a lot of strollers, which is appreciated. For urban city dwellers, a trip to the grocery story can often mean walking, not driving. So having somewhere to plop the groceries, or other shopping items after purchase, is appreciated. And while lots of moms drape their diaper bags or purses over the handlebar of a stroller, it’s a lot safer and more secure to keep them tucked away underneath.
Bottom Line about the Graco Views Travel System
I’m the type of person who appreciates details,
and there are a few that I feel are especially worth noting with this stroller. The first are the handy accessories, like the cup and phone holder. Then, there’s the large undercarriage area, mesh window in the canopy, and reclining seat. But what truly makes this system great, however, is its versatility: you can use it forward or rear facing, with the stroller or car seat, and plop the car seat atop the stroller seat for the best of both worlds.
While I did find having to put everything together a bit of a drag—why can’t I just pull it out of the box, ready to go?—one should expect to have to do a little bit of work in order to get a stroller that can be used in so many different ways. And once it’s set up, the versatile Graco Views Travel System will become an essential part of your drives, walks, and all outings with baby.