Around the USA in a Recycled Stroller

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When I heard that our sponsor Safety 1st was coming out with the first (and only!) recycled stroller made in the USA with American and imported parts, I had to be a part of their campaign to get the word out. This thing is made up of potato bags, diaper tabs and recycled car seats.

Safety 1st works out of their Zero Waste manufacturing facility in Columbus to recycle 20,000 car seats a year, saving 130,000 lbs of plastic from the landfill! As US-based family travelers, we love to give back to our country and protect this great earth any way we can. But would this “green” stroller prove to be road-worthy? Come along with us and see!

Baby and toddler with a recycled stroller

People are always very curious about how we manage to travel with a baby and a stroller through multiple modes of transportation including plane trips, buses, cars and the occasional road trip that requires frequent stops and in-and-out with the baby seat. There are plenty of quick trips whose needs can be met with a sling, an umbrella stroller or a convertible, but with babies who still need to be rear-facing and aren’t fantastic walkers yet, the gear can add up quickly. Here’s how we get it done.

Taking a Travel System through the Airport

I’ve never been a big fan of travel systems (strollers that come with a base and a car seat for trips such as these) because they tend to get so bulky and heavy. The highly-anticipated RIVA stroller however, manages to do ALL the things in a nimble fashion! The incredibly light stroller frame weighs just 18 pounds, thanks in part to its recycled materials that are rigorously tested to ensure sturdiness and reliability. How MUCH reliability? We did everything we could to find out.

We wheeled our whole travel system into the airport handily with the base tucked into the gigantic basket below the car seat. When we’ve traveled with travel systems in the past, one of us has usually had to lug that big base around separately (or opt not to use it, which isn’t ideal for a road trip that aims to have you in and out of the car six or seven times per day).

Checking our car seat base at the airport

In this case, we dropped the base off at check-in since it’s free to check baby gear (yay!) and the nice gate people promised to handle it well. This thing was about to go through the true test of air travel.

Gate checking a stroller at the airport

Rolling up to our gate, I simply grabbed a gate check ticket for the stroller and toted baby onto the plane with the car seat and all. Even though he’s under 2, we bought him a seat so that we could have a little extra space and protection for him. The American-made Safety 1st onBoard 35 FLX infant car seat with side-impact protection for children 4-35 lbs was given a quick once-over and approved by our flight attendant for easy installation with the lap belt. Dude snoozed up a storm for half the flight and then got antsy, at which point we were relieved to discover that we could actually tuck the car seat up in the overhead bin and let him flail around a bit mid-flight. Talk about maximum flexibility!

Happy baby in recycled car seat

Back on the ground and safely to our rental car, we got the base all hooked in with the LATCH connectors. Little dude was ready to be off on our exploration through middle America! The seat itself only weighs 7.5 pounds, so we made handy use of the Quick Click connect for the stroller every time we wanted to run in and out of a cafe or a diaper change spot.

Dad putting baby in the car

The stroller itself actually wound up alternately seating our 18-month-old and our 3-year-old through the trip. Both were eager to rest their feet between spotting Mount Rushmore and Deadwood. There may have been some Cheerios spilled into the crevices along the way, but we’re not stressing because there’s a quick zip-off mechanism to remove the machine-washable fabric on the stroller AND the car seat. For mom and dad’s ease-of-use, two cup holders handily managed our daily lattes and our cell phones.

Dad putting recycled car seat in the trunk

The one-hand Lift-to-Fold closure auto-locks the stroller and helps it stand on its own when folded. Hoisted into our trunk, it fit deftly in between the luggage.

American-made stroller

Aside from being all “yay America!” in his homeland-created stroller, Bam is also a pretty big fan of the giant canopy and the peek-a-boo window. Oh, and the snack tray. Kid’s got his priorities in order!

I’d say we cleaned up pretty well with this score from Walmart for just $199. It helped us navigate everything from the Custer Wilderness Loop to Sioux Falls without skipping a beat. And because it’s recyclable, it toured America while managing to make it a better place (we even picked up some trash along the way, as we always do since the “leave no trace” mantra is like an ever-beating drum in our campy brains). All in all, this was a successful effort in strolling for a better America.

Safety 1st is cleaning up parks all across America. Hop on over to for more details!


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