Fun fact: from the time your baby is 1 month old, he or she will steadily gain weight at a rate of about 5-7 ounces per week.
As your infant packs on the pounds, it becomes important to upgrade their stroller, car seat, bassinet, and other carriers to be sure they are safe and supported.
The Safety 1st RIVA Flex 6-in-1 Travel System delivers on all these features for infants weighing between 4 and 35 pounds, keeping your little one safe during travel.
In this RIVA Flex review, we’ll break down the features and discuss the pros and cons of this travel option for your little one. Disclosure: I received the Safety 1st RIVA Flex travel system from Safety 1st for purposes of creating this review. Keep reading to find out if this is a good fit for your little one.
What Does the 6-in-1 Do?
The 6-in-1 features of this stroller/car seat combo include:
- Car seat designed by a pediatrician for safety
- Forward-facing car seat
- Rear-facing car seat
- Stroller function
- Lie-flat carriage
- Car base included to stay in car
The Safety 1st RIVA Flex 6-in-1 Travel System is designed for infants between 4 and 35 pounds. Though it should last at least the first year or two of your child’s life, larger kids may grow out of the car seat before they are old enough for their car seat to be turned around. In this case, it is not really useful as a forward-facing car seat. You can learn more about this and other guidelines for car seats here.
Travel System vs. Individual Parts
There are two major benefits of choosing a travel system over individual parts including a carriage, stroller, and car seat. First, travel systems come with everything included at a lower price than you would pay for all the parts individually. Second, you do not have to worry about compatibility of the parts. For example, you may have to buy a separate car seat to go with your stroller when your child is young if you buy two different brands.
This is a great choice for parents who don’t want to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars buying different travel equipment for their little one. Since everything is included in one convenient package and the stroller easily folds up, it is also a space-saver. Here is a breakdown of some of the travel system’s major features. If this doesn’t meet your needs, check out some of these other best travel systems of 2019.
Every parent wants to leave the world a better place for their children and this car seat helps them do that. It is eco-conscious because the plastic used to create the system comes from recycled plastic. This includes old Safety 1st car seats. This recycled plastic is strong and does not impact safety. However, it does lessen your impact on the amount of waste in the world.
It is important for infants to lie flat while they are sleeping to prevent SIDS and other dangers. The stroller function of this travel system easily reclines without disturbing your little one. This means that you can take them for a walk to help them sleep—without worrying about waking them up when you transition the stroller to a flat carriage. Even though the seat reclines easily, however, it does not lay completely flat. The slight incline is not necessarily a negative since it props your little one slightly without the risks that come with using pillows.
Easy to Clean and Store
Having an infant can be challenging. This travel system makes this easier with a stroller that easily folds away when not in use. It also has a convenient handle and lightweight design that makes it easy to lift, carry, and tuck away for little use.
You also don’t have to worry about your little one spitting up or spilling their drink. The seat and stroller covers both zip off for easy cleaning. Just put them in the washer and air dry.
Using the System
It is nice to be able to travel with my little one without hassle. The base of the car seat sits in the car for whenever we need it. It is easy to click the car seat into place, which means we don’t struggle when it is cold, windy, or wet outside.
As a stroller, this travel system moves smoothly over the pavement. It is lightweight and easy to push. As an added benefit, the handle comes to the perfect height for the average adult to push without stooping over or straining. The handle is not completely rigid and there is some play to it. This is not so much a disadvantage as it is a matter of preference.
We already mentioned the easy of transitioning the stroller from sitting to laying. It is also easy to transition from the stroller to the car and back again. With the push of a button, the car seat comes unhooked and can be locked into the base of the car seat or the stroller. This easy transitioning makes life just a little bit easier.
As your little one grows, it is also easy to adjust the straps. This is a great feature for seasons like spring and fall as well, when the size of your little one’s outfit might change how tight or loose their seat belt straps need to be. Additionally, the chest clip and buckles are easy to secure. An audible click lets you know that they are completely closed and your little one is safe.
When I was a new mom, I couldn’t leave the house without diapers, wipes, an extra set of clothes, Tylenol and a thermometer for emergencies, extra pacifiers, a few toys, and more (you get the picture). One of the things that the Safety 1st RIVA Flex 6-in-1 Travel System is not lacking is storage space, with dishwasher safe dual-use cup holders and a large storage basket.
Some other features you will appreciate are the flip-flop-friendly brakes and multi-position sun canopy that offers SPF 30 sun protection for your little one. There is also some protection for your child’s head, so it does not roll around too much. This is important when they are young and cannot support their own neck. However, it may not be an adequate amount for all children.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Travel System
Choosing a traveling system is a big decision. Traveling can be dangerous without the right equipment. Here are some things to consider:
- What is Included– At minimum, a travel system should include a car seat and stroller. In most cases, the car seat will come with base for the car as well. Consider the functions and what you will actually use for your little one before making a purchase.
- Transitioning– You do not want to go with a travel system that is complicated or hard to use. Life is challenging enough with a newborn. Instead of struggling to adjust your little one’s chest clips as they grow and becoming frustrated when moving the car seat from stroller to car, you want something that is easy.
- Sizing– An inappropriately sized travel system is dangerous for a little one. Your child should meet the height and weight requirements for the system. Additionally, it should have support for their head and neck if they are especially young and should be able to remain rear-facing as long as necessary for safety.
- Storage– Being able to carry along a diaper bag, extra bottles, toys, and other things your baby needs makes a stroller convenient to use. Be sure there is adequate storage and cup holders if you plan to take it on long walks.
- Extra Features– While becoming a new parent comes with unpredictable circumstances, you should have a general idea of how you want to use the travel system. Parents who visit the beach, for example, should choose a stroller that can roll across sand and brakes that work with flip flops. Those who enjoy hiking should choose an all-terrain stroller. Features like a sun visor, reclining capabilities, windows so your little one can see you, and others can also be important.
- Washability– Children are not the cleanest creatures. By choosing a travel system that is easy to clean, you can cut back on scrubbing. You can also be sure you have time to maintain the stroller and car seat, even when your infant takes up all your extra time.
Pros and Cons
- Easy to put together
- Looks stylish
- Car seat easily snaps in and out of base and in and out of stroller
- Base easy enough to install in car but doesn’t have a particularly fancy tightening mechanism
- Stroller pushes and rides smoothly
- Stroller comfortable height and handle
- Nice cup holders
- The 6 different configurations seem adequate for the majority of situations
- Eco friendly, made from recycled materials
- Straps were easy to clip and adjust
- Bassinet mode is a nice touch, didn’t go 100% flat but that wasn’t a negative for me as the elevation at one end was very slight
- System very lightweight
- Stroller fold was very easy
- Stroller carry strap easy to use
- Some head side protection, but not a lot
- Stroller handle is sturdy but there is a little bit of play and motion; doesn’t lock completely rigid
- Infant car seat definitely for infants, won’t accommodate bigger kids
The Safety 1st RIVA Flex Travel System was a good choice for my second child, as he was a lot smaller than his brother. If you have an infant on the smaller side, this is a convenient, affordable option to get a lot of the things you will need for your baby. As an added bonus, it is an eco-friendly option that preserves the health of the planet for your baby now and in the future.