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Airplane, 3 year old, carseat?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Does a 35lb three year old still need to be in a carseat on an airplane, or is the lap belt on the seat enough in case of turbulence?
post #2 of 10
A 35 pound child is unlikely to fit well in an airline lapbelt. The FAA recommends kids under 40 pounds be in an approved CRS. That being said, if you're headed somewhere you intend to drive in a car, you'll need the child restraint anyway, and the easiest/safest thing to do is put it on the plane with you.

If you're going somewhere you won't need a seat, the CARES harness is perfect for that situation.
post #3 of 10
I would be comfortable not using the carseat on the plane. We used a convertible carseat FFing exactly once on a plane and decided it wasn't worth all the hassle. We do own a CARES harness though. You can rent them on ebay if you don't travel often.
post #4 of 10
We flew with our 5-year-old twins in car seats (radian 65s), not because I was worried about turbulence but because we needed the seats on the other end. But it ended up being really nice to have them because they positioned the kids at the right height to use the trays on the seats in front of them, and the kids were used to falling asleep in them. They both slept a bit and I really doubt that they would have otherwise. There was also just overall much less wiggling and jumping around then I think there would have been otherwise, which made the 6+ hour flight more peaceful.

HTH!

Lex
post #5 of 10
We found the car seat on the plane worth every tiny (umm big PITA) hassle it was hauling it through the airport. At 3 and can't remember her weight I tried doing a flight with out it shes was miserable wanted to sit on her own ws way too squished with me didn't fit the belts at all and screamed the entire flight untill she passed out cold that shes wasn't safe. At five I started avoiding the seatbut not till then.

Deanna
post #6 of 10
My ds1 started sitting in the lap belt only at about that age. We ended up letting him on one flight because on the prior (connecting) flight he spilled OJ all over his car seat and it was wet and uncomfortable for him. He liked it a ton better and did fine, so we haven't made him sit in his on the plane since.
post #7 of 10
Technically, a child can sit in the lap belt after their 2nd birthday, when they have to occupy a seat.

This is not the safest option but I had to do it because I was flying alone with three children on transatlantics and I could only handle one car seat. If the CARES harness had been available, I would have used that. We kept car seats, and now boosters at my mom's so we didn't need to take them.

It's not just turbulence but take-off and landing. The child is simply not as secure.

Also, I've flown European companies which didn't allow my car seats on board. Yes, they were less settled and there was more jumping around.

The question is really, do you need your car seat on the other end? That would be my deciding factor.

NEVER CHECK A CAR SEAT IN AS LUGGAGE!!! Don't risk arriving at your destination, only to find that your car seat has gone somewhere else, or have your car seat show up in bad shape. Scary that it could be damaged and it wouldn't be obvious.

While airplane crashes are rare, lost and damaged luggage happens all the time.

I also just took our seat, a Radian, on our last flight, last week. My dd is 5 1/2. The FAA now allows approved restraints up to age 18 (covers handicapped) so it's allowed on U.S. companies. A three year old has to have a seat so they crew cannot refuse the car seat.

I rolled the Radian on a metal luggage cart and it was no problem. We did have some airstairs and had to take a bus at Frankfurt Airport (better than sitting on the runway for 2 hours like before) but I just waited until the majority were off and tucked it under my arm. My son took the luggage cart.

That was probably our last flight with a car seat, which marks 10 years of flying with them. It's not a problem but I only bring on board what I need for the flight, even if it means paying for checked bags.
post #8 of 10
We're about to fly with a 3.5-year-old and the fact that we're not going to need it on the other end (all public transit and transport buses that don't even have seltbelts) has lead us to the decision that we're not bringing our carseat with us. We did haul it with us on a similar trip when he was 18 months old (because in the middle of that trip we needed to make about a 30 mile drive in a rental car from one town to another) and except for its usage in the rental car it was mainly a PITA. It also was damaged then (the cover torn) by the cruise ship baggage handling. Last time the trip was fly into city A, hang out at beach, drive to city B, take cruise; this time it's fly to city (with highly-recommended public transit), hang out at beach for two days, take cruise from same city.

The biggest problem is that on this end, we need to get to the airport via taxi. We will request a taxi with carseat . . . and I guess if it shows up without one, then the seat gets hauled through an entire week and a half trip with us.
post #9 of 10
Just chiming in again, my DD has been in the lap belt only on various flights with and without the CARES harness since she was 1 yo (got a free seat when she was a lap baby). She has never had a problem - she sits fine, isn't wiggly, sleeps fine, etc. We used the convertible once RFing on the plane and once FFing. RFing was fine, but she was still little. FFing was horrible - she knew we weren't in a car and wanted out of the seat. She couldn't use the tray table because in the seat she was up too high and the tray table wouldn't lay flat (you can only use a tray table with a radian I believe). Her feet ended up being like 3 inches from the back of the seat in front of her and she was constantly kicking it without even trying. Trying to get her, our carry on luggage and the carseat down the aisle of the plane was a nightmare - DH had to haul the seat up over his head, I had both carry on bags and DD was trying to sit in every single aisle until we got to ours and neither one of us had a hand free to guide her to the right seat. I can't even imagine how many folks I hit in the head with my backpack while also trying to carry another bag and get DD down the aisle.
Not worth it IMO. I will only ever take an infant bucket on the plane again. We have a scenera used exclusively for travel and are comfortable with the risks of checking it so that is what we do. To each their own.
post #10 of 10
We always bring the carseat since a) we need it at the other end and b) my children always behave soooo much better with one. Also, it's safer.

We flew once without and what a mistake. Never again.
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