Also published in Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine, December
by Michelle Pratt, Owner, Safe in the Seat
If you are flying this holiday season, then you must have already concluded that the fun you will have at your destination will outweigh the challenges of getting there. Here are Safe in the Seat’s Top 10 tips for flying with your littles.
Don’t be a Scrooge. Buy a plane ticket for your child, even if they are under two years old. Bonus, you won’t be their human jungle gym. .
- Bring a car seat with you. It’s not worth the risk of renting one, being delayed overnight and not having one, or of damage or loss. Don’t make me say, “I told you so.”
- Sorry, Santa’s sleigh is full. If your child is under 40 pounds, the car seat needs to be ON the plane with your child harnessed in it. It’s the safest way for your child and seat to travel. Yes, it’s heavy, awkward and annoying but so is life with kids; you’ve got this!
- According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), if your child is over 40 pounds, it’s safe for them to fly using the lap belt. That said, if you’re lugging along a convertible car seat, go ahead and use it on the plane too.
- Frequent flyer? Consider adding a just-for-travel car seat to your wish list. Most everyday use car seats are big and bulky. Check your list twice to be sure yours is FAA Approved (check for a sticker on the car seat) and just so you don’t get your tinsel in a tangle, it’s worth doing some research to be sure it fits in the airplane seat. Stay tuned for a list of my top choices travel seats!
- Nothing about this is easy but simplify where you can. Book a direct flight and check your suitcases. Wear a backpack to free up your hands. Consider purchasing a wheeling car seat carrier like the Go Go Kidz Travelmate or the Traveling Toddler.
- If you still aren’t convinced to take the seat on the plane with you, at least pack your car seat in the original box it came in or one like it with substantial padding to protect it from being damaged.
- Snacks, Pinterest activities and knowing how to seatbelt install your seat are all equally important when preparing to travel with small children. Practice before the big day!
- If a family member is picking you up, another option is to send them a car seat in advance and suggest they find a child passenger safety technician in their area and learn how to install the seat in their vehicle correctly. Find a certified car seat technician
- Before you take flight, review the child passenger safety laws specific to your destination. It’s the most wonderful time of year, don’t get caught off guard.
While we can’t promise a stress-free travel experience, we can assure you with proper planning, research, and maybe a glass of wine in flight, you CAN do this! For more information about traveling with children this holiday season, make sure you are following @safeintheseat on Facebook and Instagram.