Transit with baby

28 Sep

Why take mass transit with a baby? Why not? Seattle’s transit system isn’t perfect, but with the addition of Light Rail in 2009 it’s a whole lot easier to get around.

Two major transit agencies in Seattle: King County Metro and Sound Transit Link Light Rail. Metro Trip Planner is here. and Sound Transit information is here.

We haven’t taken the baby on a Seattle bus yet, because we live only a few blocks away from the Beacon Hill Light Rail station. She rides the train less she’s in a car. The baby enjoys walking to and from the station and watching people on the train–especially when they talk to her. I love not having to circle (or pay) for parking.

I find it easier to carry the baby in a sling, wrap, or carrier than to lug a heavy car seat or navigate a stroller. The Moby Wrap is fantastic, especially for very young babies and ling naps. The Ergo is super comfortable and has storage pockets. There are dozens of baby carriers and, like buying jeans, you really need to try them on to see what fits. Birth and Beyond has a great selection–they even host a workshop to help practice different techniques!

Bus Chick is the best resource out there for the hows and whys of taking mass transit with kids. If you’re not following her blog, you should check it out.

Some starter tips:
  • Get an Orca card and register it online. Get two, so there’s an extra if you have guests or lose one. Depending on how frequently you ride transit, you’ll either want a monthly pass or an E-Purse.
  • Travel lightly. Carry a minimum number of diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, etc.
  • Consider a backpack versus a shoulder strap diaper bag. Shoulder straps slide and can be cumbersome when you’re wearing a baby. Use your pockets for wallet, cash, keys, etc. I use a clip-on key ring and attach it to my belt loops or the inside of the diaper bag.
  • Give yourself lots of time. If you’re trying to make it to a workshop that starts at 10 and the trip planner estimates you’ll arrive at 9:55, take the earlier trip. Metro buses don’t run as frequently as light rail, so be sure to get to your stop with a few minutes to spare. Also keep in mind that you probably don’t walk as fast with a baby as you do without, so plan for longer walking time from the station.
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