5 Top Items for Every City Parent


Having a baby and kids requires a lot of stuff. Clothes. Toys. Travel gear. Sleeping and eating accessories. The list is endless. And as I prepared to have my first baby, I realized one thing about all the lists I read and suggestions I got – they didn’t seem to take into account where you lived. And for a city dweller like me, living in Washington, DC, I found buying items as a city parent daunting.

I have started thinking about whether what we have works for our city life. I often ask myself: Do we have space for this? How will we store it? Will we be able to use this for multiple purposes? As a DCite, here are the top items I recommend that every city parent purchase. 

Top Items for Every City Parent
Walking through the city with my Uppababy Vista Stroller!

1. Easy-to-use car seat

Everyone needs a car seat – they won’t let you leave the hospital without one. But whether or not you have a car in the city, city parents should look to have both an infant and convertible car seat that is easy to put in and take out of a car. You’ll need it anytime you need a vehicle to take your child somewhere, such as when you call an Uber or Lyft to get somewhere. Not every infant car seat can be installed without a base. Convertible car seats are bigger and bulkier. Some car seats are super heavy and not that easy to carry around. City parents need to figure out what is important to them and what they need when deciding what car seat to use. 

A few infant car seats that are easy to use for on-the-go parents are: Doona Infant Car Seat, Uppababy Mesa, and Safety 1st Onboard 35 LT Infant Car Seat 

Once your baby is older, you’ll need a different car seat. Some convertible car seats are Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat and the Cosco Scenera NEXT.

2. Durable and easy maneuverable stroller

For city parents, your stroller is highly likely to be one of your most used items – we know ours is! We use it daily for childcare drop off, and beyond that, we try to walk to as many places as possible. That city living, right?! Because we knew we’d use our stroller a lot, having a durable one that could handle the rough sidewalks and and the different weather we encounter while still being comfortable and smooth for baby was super important to us. City parents also need to think about how easy it is to move around, as a lot of strollers don’t turn easily or have great turn radiuses. And when dodging people on the sidewalks, you’ll want something that you can move to the side quickly. Also, don’t forget to think about how much storage you want it to have! If you plan to take it into grocery stores, for example, storage space under the stroller will be key to help you bring stuff back home. A few strollers to look into are the Uppababy Vista and Baby Jogger City Mini.

3. Weather appropriate gear

In most places, you’re pretty likely to experience a wide range of weather. If you don’t live in the city, you may not need to have that much different stuff, as a winter jacket could also function as a rain jacket for quick runs out to the car. Or you might not need a stroller cover since you wouldn’t walk places in the suburbs. But in the city, parents need to think ahead to what will be needed among different conditions. With rain, consider having a durable rain jacket and boots for child and parent and a water-proof stroller cover. For winter, think about getting some stroller gloves (like these!) and a stroller bunting bag to keep your child warm while walking around the city in the stroller. In the summer DC heat, a stroller fan and/or mister, hats for sun, a water bottle, and a bug cover for stroller were my must-haves.

4. Functional diaper bag (and what you could put in it)

When you’re on the go in the city, the last thing you want is a diaper bag that doesn’t hold that much. Or that is hard to organize. Or that isn’t easy to clean when inevitably something spills inside of it. Having a functional diaper bag that works for city life is one thing that can make life so much easier! Maybe you want it to include a portable diaper pad to change any non-potty trained kid while out. Make sure the size works for you, so it can easily fit your stroller, not take up too much room in cabs, and isn’t too bulky as you carry it around. Check out this and this for a few options.

Once you have a great diaper bag, besides the essentials, what else should a city parent put in it? Depending on the activities you like to do in the city, something like a picnic blanket could be used to sit and have a snack whenever you’re out and about. Put a poncho or two in it if it looks like rain. Pack an extra pair of shoes or socks in case your kid jumps in a puddle. Make sure to have enough wipes for all the surfaces that exist in cities. The nice thing about a great diaper bag is most stuff should fit in it without having to repack all the time. 

5. Knowledge of city-specific activities and transportation

One of the biggest misses of city parents make is not utilizing all the wonderful things cities have to offer. Especially in DC, there are so many activities for kids and families alike! Here on DCArea Moms, there are lots of guides and suggestions of things to do around the DMV. There are places that have memberships for families to enjoy that give you a go-to when looking for a weekend activity (think: National Zoo, National Children’s Museum). Also consider getting a library card, as the DC libraries have a lot of events and activities throughout the year. Your family should never be bored unless you want to be!

Additionally, DC has a lot of great public transportation options that city parents should learn. There’s the metro, which also includes the bus system. If you use WMATA, you’ll want to purchase a Metrocard. You can set it to auto reload so when its low you won’t have to worry about adding more money to it. There are other options for transportation like Uber and Lyft, Capital Bikeshare, and lots of scooter options. Many places are also bikeable if you own your own, just make sure to wear your helmets. As a city parent, it’s as important to know how to get around as it is to know the activities.

Living in a city gives us parents a few extra things to be thinking about. But it also gives us such a fun playground for our kids to grow up in. Thinking about how items make city-life easier, you’ll be the go-to city parent amongst your friends in no time!