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Umbrella strollers for newborns are convenient and easy to use

Umbrella strollers that can accommodate newborns, with or without a car seat, are a relative rarity. Babies need support, and umbrella strollers tend to be less structured than traditional, full-featured strollers. Many also don't have a full recline, so can't be used until your child is 3 to 6 months, depending upon depth of the recline. For a while, there was a trend to market umbrella strollers that accommodate infants, but we've seen that drop off in the last year or so.

One of the highest-rated umbrella strollers in any category is the Chicco Liteway (Est. $140) , which is one of the very few with a full recline to accommodate newborns. The seat even folds up into a "boot" or small bassinet to keep your infant snug and secure. It's a top pick not only with expert reviewers, but with parents on consumer product review websites. The trade-off is that it's heavy for an umbrella stroller at 17 pounds and only accommodates children up to 40 pounds. However, parents love its easy fold, great maneuverability and comfort for their children even after they outgrow the newborn phase.

New for 2013 is the Chicco Liteway Plus (Est. $180) . There aren't a lot of expert reviews yet, but initial consumer feedback is very positive. It's a unique concept -- a cross between a car seat carrier and a toddler umbrella stroller. The seat of the toddler stroller folds forward and tucks away to accept a car seat much as a stroller frame does -- think of the Chicco Keyfit Caddy -- but with an optional toddler seat for when your child outgrows the car seat. What keeps it from being the perfect newborn stroller is the seat -- it's only recommended for children from 6 months up to 50 pounds. Nothing wrong with that upper weight limit, but there are no options for younger babies who may not want to be in their car seats. It's also heavy at 19 pounds, not including the weight of the car seat.

A better, more versatile choice is the 14-pound Bumbleride Flite ($270) . It has a full recline for newborns, plus it's compatible with most car seats and the adapters are included. The Flite has an adjustable padded five-point harness and includes padded head support for a newborn. With a full suspension wheel system, the Flite is built to maneuver well and perform better over mixed terrain. Parents say the stroller is very sturdy, but it's also pricey for an umbrella stroller. There are full-featured options that are just a few pounds heavier, cost a bit less, include more features, and accommodate children beyond the Flite's upper weight limit of 50 pounds.

Bumbleride 2011 Flite Lightweight Compact Travel Stroller, Ocean (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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New: $285.00 $282.23   
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