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Airplane Travel with a Car Seat

Airplane Travel with a Car Seat

Traveling with a Car Seat on an Airplane: Everything You Need to Know

Traveling with young children can be a daunting experience, especially when it comes to ensuring their safety and comfort during the flight. One crucial decision parents face is whether to bring a car seat on the airplane. In this article, let’s explore the benefits, tips, and best practices for traveling with a car seat on an airplane.

Why You Should Bring a Car Seat on an Airplane

First, let's go over some of the reasons why you should bring a car seat on a plane for your little ones. 

Safety

Safety is the most compelling reason to bring a car seat on the airplane. The FAA recommends that children under 40 pounds use an approved car seat during the flight. Overall, car seats provide better protection in case of turbulence keeping your child securely in place just like they would in a vehicle.

Comfort and Familiarity

A car seat can offer a familiar and comfortable environment for your toddler especially when traveling and we have found this to be true with our children. In the week leading up to a flight, our kids help prepare and get comfortable with their travel car seats, recognizing them immediately as their own personal space on the flight. This can be especially soothing during long flights and help to keep your toddler more comfortable. 

Better Sleep

Children are more likely to sleep in a car seat they are used to. The familiar setup can make it easier for them to settle down and sleep, giving you some much-needed rest during the flight as well.

Selecting the Right Car Seat

FAA Approval

Ensure that the car seat is FAA-approved. Look for a sticker on the car seat that states it is certified for use on aircraft, typically shown as an airplane. This approval means the car seat meets safety standards required for air travel. It is important to ensure your car seat is compliant. On past flights, we have had flight attendants verify the stickers on our car seats.

airplane approved tag

Size and Compatibility

Check the size of your car seat and compare it with the dimensions of airplane seats. From personal experience of traveling with both travel and everyday car seats, I would highly recommend bringing travel car seats. 

travel car seat

The size and weight of travel car seats make the journey through the airport significantly easier and less stressful.There are several versions of travel car seats available that range in affordable but bulky to an expensive compact folded style backpack. 

car seat bag carrier

Tips for a Smooth Journey

Booking Your Flight

  • Seat Selection: Choose a window seat for a rear-facing car seat to avoid blocking the aisle.
window seat
    For a forward-facing car seat, an aisle seat can also work well. From our experience traveling with two children who needed car seats, these seat positions were optimal for our family so one parent could sit between them.
    aisle seat

    Boarding and Installation

    • Early Boarding: Take advantage of early boarding options for families. This gives you extra time to install the car seat without the rush of other passengers boarding.
    • Read the Manual: Familiarize yourself with the car seat manual and installation process. Knowing how to install it correctly will save time and reduce stress while boarding the flight especially since a seat belt must be used to anchor in place.
    • Use the Seatbelt: Most car seats can be installed using the airplane seatbelt. Thread the seatbelt through the car seat as per the manual's instructions and ensure it is tightly secured. Airplane seats do not have LATCH anchors.

      Conclusion

      Traveling with a car seat for a flight can be a pain and inconvenient to bring around the airport, but a car seat can help with your toddler's safety and comfort in the long run. I hope these tips and best practices can help you decide what's the best way forward for your family to have a smooth and enjoyable journey. What has been your experiences with traveling with a car seat for a flight? Leave a comment below to let us know!

      Happy kids, happy trips!

      Ashley

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