Now that you know the safest place for your car seat and your child is in the seat next to you on the plane (see previous post with our Top 10 Travel Tips), the big question is, do you take the one you have or purchase a car seat specifically used for when you travel?!
Do you have an infant seat? Use the one you have.
Do you have a stroller, car seat rolling carrier or lots of extra hands? Are you also comfortable uninstalling and reinstalling that seat at your destination and when you come home? If so, use it! (Oh and make sure it is FAA approved and will fit on the plane’s row/seat!).
If you aren’t in one of those two camps and you have a child that has outgrown their infant seat and still under 4 feet 9 inches (on average ages 1-12), then you will be bringing a car seat of some kind. Perhaps you want to consider saving up by skipping a few trips to Starbucks and getting in your weight training at the gym instead. Here are Safe in the Seat’s top recommendations:
Use the one you have, just make sure you know how to install it without the base both on the airplane and in the car at your final destination. Here’s a tiny 3 week old in her car seat on an airplane:
CONVERTIBLE HARNESSED SEATS
If you are traveling with a 5-point harnessed car seat, have your child sit in it on the plane! These two are great for travel:
FORWARD FACING ONLY SEATS
Children of any weight are permitted to ride in an FAA approved car seat in 5-point harness mode. Some other great options for travel if your child will be forward facing when in the car at your final destination:
Booster seats are not permitted to be used in an airplane seat. If you need one at your destination, store it in the overhead compartment of the plane. The seats below are great not just for travel, but for kids who carpool or are in and out of a lot of different cars!
The CARES harness is an option that can be used on the airplane only so you will still need to plan for safe travel after deplaning. It is for children 22-40 pounds. Conversely, the RideSafer Vest is not approved for airplane use but can be used in a car (and is recommended only for kids who are 5+).
This post was not paid for, endorsed or otherwise influenced in any way. I’m just a Child Passenger Safety Technician, owner of a small car seat safety business and mom of 2 trying to make this whole car seat thing a little less overwhelming!