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Airplane Travel with a Toddler Car Seat

IMG_5339One of my favorite tips for parents travelling on a plane with a toddler is to buy an extra seat and bring their car seat on the flight.  It goes without saying, but this is only a useful tip if you can afford to purchase the extra seat for your toddler.  Children under the age of 2 can be held on your lap and you do not have to pay for a seat.  I still recommend buying the seat and bringing the toddler’s car seat on  board.

Why bring car seat on the plane?
For our daughter, it was due to a few factors:
  • My daughter has a proven track record of relaxing in the car seat, and it will be the safest, securest way for your child to travel.
  • The alternative to buying a seat and bringing a car seat is holding your child on your lap.  Good luck with that!
  • As you must know, toddlers just want to move, run, climb, jump all over the damn place.  Take that fact and add a new, exciting environment with tons of people and it could spell a disaster.
  • If your kid sleeps in the car seat while driving, then chances are they have associated ‘sleep’ with ‘car seat’, and sleeping on a plane will translate into a stress-free flight.

Tips:
  • Row Selection & Seat Placement
    • Try to buy a seat towards the back of the plane – you’re near the bathroom, you have few rows around you and won’t bother people, and you’ll board the plane early (courtesy of child) and have a lot of overhead space open.
    • FAA regulations require you to place the car seat on the window seat only – you cannot place the car seat in the middle or aisle seat.
  • Installation
    • Get a Seat Belt Extension – it’s very hard to loop the standard seat belt through the car seat and still reach the buckle for tightening and removal.  My first time using only the standard belt it took me 10 minutes after the flight landed for me to release the buckle, as it was stuck in the inner cavity of the car seat.
    • Once buckled, you should put all of your weight on the car seat to tighten the seat belt and this will ensure a secure installation.
  • Carrying the Car Seat
    • Carrying the seat through the airport and down the narrow aisle of the plane will be a pain in the ass, there’s no way around this.
    • For best results, loosen the shoulder belt straps on the seat and put your arm through loops and carry it like a shield.  This seems to be the best bet.
    • Buy the Traveling Toddler Car Seat Travel Accessory – this allows you to strap the car seat to your luggage and just pull the bag and seat behind you.  I think you can even have the child in the seat as you pull (I have never used this).

Posted via email from Functional Father on Posterous

6 Responses to “Airplane Travel with a Toddler Car Seat”

  1. My sister sent me to this blog and she is totally right in every way. keep up all your fantastic work.

  2. Andrea says:

    We recently traveled with our 3 children (ages 4 1/2, 3, and 5 mos) from Minnesota to Alabama and realized it was cheaper to have my in-laws buy booster seats(for the big kids) in AL rather than pay to have them checked on the plane. Cheap boosters at Walmart were only $16 each compared to the $25 baggage fee (each booster, each way = $100!). It was nice that we didn’t have to carry them around or worry about them during our day of traveling – which included several delays and a canceled flight.

  3. ED says:

    Useful blog post definitely a good contribution to the web.

  4. Cool, there are actually some worthwhile ideas on this post some of my associates will maybe find this worthwhile, I must send a link, many thanks.

  5. Tiffany Rickbeil says:

    You can use one of those Go-Go Babyz Minis to get the child and the car seat through the airport without it being a pain in the rear. We usually remove them and store them just before we go board the plane. Yes, then you still have to carry them down the gateway and onto the airplane, but it makes all the other steps easier. TSA has been hand checking those so we don’t have to take them apart there. This has been a huge help for us as we travel with 2 two year olds.

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