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Don't Start That Engine! Green Alternatives to Transport Your Baby

written by: Lindsay Evans•edited by: Laurie Patsalides•updated: 2/11/2010

Just because you have kids doesn't mean you have to start the car every time you need to go somewhere. Whether you have a small baby, an exuberant toddler, or both, check out these convenient green and car-free transport ideas when bringing your kids and baby along.

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    It's a problem many green-minded parents grapple with: how do you conserve gas when you've got to run the kids around? Maybe you think you'd save gas by bicycling to work if only you didn't have to drop your child off at daycare on the way. Maybe you'd walk between errands if it wasn't your baby's nap time. Don't worry, these products can make it easier to find alternate ways to travel with your kids.

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    Baby Slings

    Slings have recently seen a popularity boom among parents who desire a comfortable, secure way to transport a small baby. Since using a baby sling means parents can use both hands, many moms and dads use slings to help with shopping trips or when walking the dog. Babies often fall asleep in their slings making it convenient for parents to walk between errands like shopping and going to lunch. Some mothers can even use a sling to breastfeed their baby on the go.

    Favorite brands of baby slings include New Native, Maya Wrap, and Mamma's Milk. Some slings come in different sizes, others are one-size-fits-all.

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    Front- or Back-Carriers

    Carriers that hold a child on a parent's front or back offer hands-free mobility while allowing the child a great view. Many of these carriers are extremely versatile. Young infants can be transported facing inward on a parent's chest and moved to face outward when their head is stable. Older babies - even toddlers - can ride on a parent's hip or back.

    Check out the brands Mei Tai, Ergo Baby Carriers, and Moby Wrap to sample the different styles of baby carriers available.

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    Framed Backpacks

    Backpacks make it easier to carry older babies and small toddlers around town. Not only for family hiking trips, backpacks can also be used anytime you want to walk with your child. Kelty and REI make high-quality baby carrier backpacks that adjust to grow with your child and come with room for storage.

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    All-Terrain Strollers

    Green parents need a stroller that can keep up with their active lifestyle while keeping their child comfortable and allowing space for storage. A tall order? Not when you consider the sturdy and convenient strollers offered by companies like Baby Jogger and BOB. Both brands offer one- or two-seater strollers with features like suspension, a five-point harness, safety brakes, covered storage, and beefy traction tires. A wide selection of all-terrain strollers is available at

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    Bike Trailers

    If biking to day care or the park is an option for you invest in a bike trailer for your kids. Burley bike trailers are the standard. Burley offers one- or two-child trailers with features like a collapsible aluminum alloy frame, five-point harness, and all-weather covers. Other brands to look at are InStep and Chariot.

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    Convertible Systems

    The Chariot child carrier system can convert into many different helpful items. The 1- or 2-child base component can become a stroller, jogger-type stroller, or a bike trailer with the addition of separately sold accessory packages. The Chariot can even be converted into a comfy trailer for your kids to use when hiking or cross-country skiing!

    Burley and Baby Jogger also offer convertible systems much like the Chariot. Many of these items are available at REI or

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