26 February 2006

Tote-a-Tot: savior or silly?

While getting ready for a solo plane trip with her two little ones, Olivia discovered the Tote-a-Tot, a harness that straps a baby's car seat (with the baby in it) to rolling luggage, freeing up at least one hand. As she writes in her post on urbanMamas, she wasn't sure whether to cheer or cringe. The urbanMama readership appears to be leaning toward "cringe." What about you? Does anyone own a Tote-a-Tot and feel like giving us a review?

Technorati Tags: , ,

Your comments

Feed Follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I say cringe. I know I'm one of those overprotective fathers, but I think this is just asking for, at worst -kidnapping or, at best - unwanted contact with strangers. I think that the child is more important than the convenience...

I think cheer - Hauling the car seat through the airport to the plane was one of the worst things about flying with infants/toddlers. If we'd had this, we might have made another trip or two.

I would love one of those! However I would never put my child in th ecar seat on the luggage, it would just be nice for the car seat alone. Much better than having to carry it. I would just hold my son or let him walk - would be great to have.

I can't see why this is a cringe. If you are willing to have a stroller why not this? It's just another version of a stroller.

As for a kidnapping, the kid is strapped in to the chair which is strapped on to the luggage. No more likely to be kidnapped than in a stroller, and maybe even less likely since luggage is harder to move.

That could bring up a negative -- luggage tips over a lot, so maybe this isn't so safe.

Speaking as someone who logged 12k miles flying solo with a <12 month old baby, I wish I'd had one when I started bringing the carseat along. I normally used an rei backpack carrier, had the carseat slung over one shoulder, and had my laptop bag on the other shoulder.

I'd keep my backpack carrier, but I'd probably strap my laptop bag in the carseat. Both sets of grandparents have strollers at their house, so lugging the carseat to the plane is more of a concern for me.

If you are just looking for a carseat to carry with you and not use on the plane, you can try the Tote 'n' Go portable carseat - http://www.onestepahead.com/jump.jsp?lGen=detail&itemID=313766&itemType=PRODUCT&iProductID=313766&change=117. It is great as it fits into the overnight bag. We have used it on all 8 trips we have made since we got it. We did find that someone had to sit right next to the kid to ensure he was comfortable and give him a bunch of toys to make sure he was not upset about being lower than usual and unable to really look out the window. We were VERY happy with this and loved the convenience - did not have to lug the carseat or check it in, or worry about damage when they threw the other carseats down the carousel.

I'd never keep the kid in it, but as a convenient way of toting the car seat (assuming kid in my or my wife's arms), this would have been pretty cool.

Short of that, the best investment I ever made (late in the game, alas), was a backpack bag for the car seat. Car seats are freakin impossible to comfortably carry, and use up at least one and often two hands. Being able to sling the thing on my back for trips (even if the first thing I had to do when we got to the plane seat was unzip it and strap the seat in) was a godsend.

We couldn't imagine traveling without our Sit 'n' Stroll, stroller and car seat in one. It converts from one to the other in seconds. Traveling alone with a 15-month on 4 flights to Europe was not that bad with the Sit 'n' Stroll and a backpack diaper bag. The Sit 'n' Stroll worked great in airplanes, rental cars, as a stroller, and as a booster seat in restaurants. Also, our son loves to push the stroller around by himself (the handlebar pushes down to a height just right for him). Good time killer when you have to wait. I highly recommend it!

we inevitably end up with 10 minutes or less to make a connecting flight when we go see our in laws. on our last mad dash through the airport my three year old mounted my bag like a jockey and held on for dear life while we jetted through the airport. he actually thought it was super fun, but i think this product looks a little safer!

We have tried it! So here's a real testimonial. We used it with my nephew (20 mos.) traveling from Hawaii to the mainland.

By rolling it right onto the plane, he was able to sleep through a transfer in his car seat.

It worked great for us and we'd recommend it!

We are considering buying the tote-a-tot for our trip this November. We have a 13 hour flight with a layover and only 55 minutes to get to our next flight at the international terminal. We were thinking of using a luggage cart to roll the car seat and put a bag or two on it as well. We will have our daughter in a kelty back pack since she loves being in it and she won't make a fuss. I think that the tote-a-tot looks like a great way to get the seat through the airport easily even if you don't put the baby in it.
I am wondering if the cary-on that you attach it to has to be a certain size??

I'm a single mother, and I was trying to find a way to lug a three-year-old, a car seat, and my luggage through an airport. I thought this would be cool even if Liam couldn't ride in the seat -- at least I wouldn't have to carry it . . . He LOVED riding in the seat, and it really made it a lot easier to get through an airport alone . . .

I would be worried about the thing tipping over. Happens to me all the time with just a rolling suitcase. Now you've got something that's 15-30# (kid + car seat) heavier attached to it, changing the center of gravity.... And if the kid's not an infant and kicks or lunges or tries to grab something.... there she goes on her face or side.

I recently bought the Tote a tot and it was decent. I used it with my 27 month old son. He loved it. The weight limit is an issue though. It says you can tote a child up to 30 lbs, but the thing snapped with my child who is 26 lbs. We were able to tie the straps and it got us through the airport. There is no way to "steal" a child in this thing and the seat rests on the ground when you are not rolling it, so it will not tip over. I recommend it to anyone travelling with a child under 20 lbs only.

I just bought this tote a tot for $20, and I already broke a bracket, looks like it will still work. Now, I have to put my 2 1/2 yo in the seat and see how that works. I just looked at the weight limits and the package says 40lbs. And after looking at it, for what you pay it is an extremely poor design.

We purchased the Baby Trend Snap n' Go carseat frame stroller for a recent plane trip with our 3 month old. It's ultralight (about 5 pounds), and you can put other small carryons in the storage basket until you board the plane. Then just gate-check the Snap n Go, and it's waiting when you de-plane. The best part: it's totally replaced our full size stroller for quick jaunts downtown, to restaurants, etc. We love it, and totally got our $45 dollars worth!

Another option is a GoGoKidz, which is like the old luggage carts, with two wheels and a long handle, and a convertible carseat attaches to it. They give a list of carseats it works with and it looks pretty comprehensive. It's expensive, but we're thinking of getting it at Babies R Us for our next trip with a 2 year old and an infant.

Looks pretty decent to me. As someone who is about to embark on many back and forth trips from the US to Asia alone with my 15 month old, this is definitely on the list of products I want to think about getting in order to make getting her and the carseat through the airport more easily. The only thing is that with her having a seat, I can take two carry-ons, which is tempting.

We used the GoGoBabyz trolley on long haul flights from Europe to Australia and back, attached to a Britax Eclipse seat. The hooks on the front of the plate (which should fit up under the car seat and hold it securely) were not long enough to reach up under the seat. We also had trouble with the ratchet belt system, it was often difficult to undo. We did not put our 8 month old daughter in the car seat and use it as a stroller, as it was so unstable, we used the car seat as a trolley instead and put our backpacks on it. I am considering buying the traveling toddler belt instead this time and attaching it to a sturdy rolling suitcase.

We close comments after a month to guard against spam. Want to talk about this hack? Join us on Twitter and Facebook!

 

Previous hack: Pizza scissors Next hack: Star Wars disco

Go to: Parent Hacks Home Page

Email updates

  • Never miss a hack -- the next one might change your life.

 

Asha's Book

  • At Amazon: Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More by Doing Less

    Find out why doing less is the key to resourceful, thriving kids, and a calmer, happier YOU.

    Minimalist Parenting is an encouraging roadmap for decluttering your schedule, your home, and your vision for family life. Reviewers call it "a much welcome alternative to the usual parenting advice."

    Learn More at Amazon

    Also available at Barnes & Noble or your favorite local bookstore.

Start Amazon shopping here