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9 mo on plane- lap or carseat? - Page 2

post #21 of 61
I travelled with my 6 mo and he sat in my lap. The only complaint I had was that I was travelling my myself and he really wore me out because he was wide awake the entire time! I guess I did a good job of entertaining him cause after the flight, several people said that he was good. Next time, I will fly with someone else whose lap we can trade off!
post #22 of 61
This is a hot topic for me. I will try to sum up:

1. A child in a lap is four times more likely to die in bad turbulence or a mild crash than a child in a car-seat.
2. Due to gravitational forces, a parent (even a strong man) cannot physically hold the baby to her or himself should there be a sudden drop, even if the drop is otherwise surviveable.
3. http://www.mothering.com/discussions...&highlight=faa
4. http://flyingwithchildren.blogspot.com

It is much, much safer to fly with children in a seat.

As the first reply said, though, air travel is much safer than driving. So I guess it depends on how you calculate the risks.
post #23 of 61
In a plane without a middle section, the seat HAS to go in the window seat. If you do fly with a carseat (even in an unpaid-for seat) the child HAS to be in that seat whenever the light is on, so takeoff, landing, turbulence, etc. Some pilots keep it on the whole flight.

I flew with DD in my lap until she was about 1.5, then I started getting seats for her if there was one available. I found it much easier to just hold her as a tiny baby (first flight at 3 months) and much easier to use the carseat RF in our most recent flight (2yo). She's had more than 20 flights since her birth. I think the carseat got easier around 12-18months, prior to that I preferred the lap. DD did not like her carseat as an infant though - serious carseat screamer for the first 9 months or so.
post #24 of 61
I have only flown once with DD. She was 3 months old and we were travelling alone, and I knew flights to where I was heading were usually fully booked, so I jumped at the chance to buy her own seat (very discounted for an infant) and take along her carseat. We needed it anyway at our destination. This is not necessarily from a safety perspective, but having two seats to ourselves was great, and I had the option of either holding her or letting her sit in the carseat. I might be a little braver now and do the lap thing with our upcoming baby, but at the time, I didn't regret it at all. The flight was packed and we would have been very, very cramped had she not had her own seat. Her seat was at the window and it fit RF easily with the seatbelt. If I had been travelling with my husband, we probably wouldn't have bought an extra seat, but for travelling alone with a baby, I'd say it was worth it.
post #25 of 61
We have always purchased a seat for our kids, regardless of age. I was not willing to risk it. My DH was on a plane with awful turbulence where bags flew up to the ceiling of the cabin etc, and a couple of my friends have had similar experiences. It does happen.

They usually snoozed away in their car seats for much of the flight.

We were able to get half price tickets for the kids up to age 2. I am not sure if any airlines are still doing that or not.

When my kids were babies, I took the bucket seat along with the base and used the lap belt to install the base, just like you would in the car, and it has to go RF. Otherwise you can string the lap belt along the top of the bucket and not use a base. I opted to use the base because I was on a plane where my seat belt had dried vomit on it and I figured I didn't want a filthy seat belt right in front of my baby to be pawed at. (The base fit into the bottom basket of the stroller I took with, and the seat fit into the stroller, and I draped my carry ons over the stroller and the car seat. I wore the baby.)

And yes the car seat has to go in the window seat, so you would probably be in a middle seat depending on the configuration in the plane.

Good luck. There is no easy way to travel with kids, IMO.
post #26 of 61
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
A carseat is safer and easier. But it can be cost prohibitive. You actually are not allowed to have him in a carrier of any sort (ergo) on take off or landing.

This pretty much sums it up.

I flew with my then 14 month old without a carseat (because we could not afford the tickets with one) and it was a huge PITA. I really wished I had had it. If I fly with him again, he is definitely going in the car seat, or I won't go. It sucked.
post #27 of 61
We have flown many times with both kids when they were under 2 (at least a dozen trips each, some long-haul int'l flights), and in almost every case they've had their own seat and carseat. We do this both for safety--I've been in enough turbulence that I *know* would have been challenging/scary/unsafe for a lap child--and for the comfort, space, and ease of the flight. Not major, but I also like having the carseat within sight the whole time.

With a bucket, I didn't use the base (I stick it under the seat in front)--we fly a lot on SW, and I've had the carseat get pretty stuck in those seats just because of the length and buckle location on the seatbelts, and using only the bucket works just fine.
post #28 of 61
I still don't understand how holding a baby is safer than having the baby in a carrier (obviously NOT withing the lap belt with you). I know that it's the rule, but I don't get why. And I agree the safest place is in the carseat. I'm just trying to figure out the physics of the thing.
post #29 of 61
No need to feed on take-off and landing. If you are using a car seat, be sure your LO is in it during those times. The critical time to feed your baby is not during either but at the TOP of descent (usually 40 minutes to an hour before landing). This is when the pressurization reverses in everyone's ears (you'll feel it too). The AAP says to have the child awake. Any head movement, gurgling, talking, laughing, etc. helps their ears. You don't have to force them to feed. Just keep to a normal feeding routine!

Landing is too late for the ears.

I made sure that we scheduled a trip to the doctor to make sure they didn't have an ear infection. My son had a history of them (the only one who had formula since he was mixed fed from 5 months on). The few times there were problems were babies who were or recently been sick. They were in real pain and no sucking helped. I rarely saw ear problems.

Boosters aren't allowed because they're only to position a shoulder strap-which airline seats don't have. Airplane seats also collapse for emergency reasons, unlike a car, so there's no support behind them. It has to be a hard shell seat with an internal harness to have any benefit.

The FAA allows rfing seats. If you have a plane with decent pitch, you're fine. You can also put a family member in front if kicking is a problem. Car seats have to go by windows, except if there are two aisles. They they can go in a middle seat in the center section. Everyone has to have access to the aisle without a car seat in the way.

Someone posted here that there is an airline which allows certain seats in aisle seats. Apparently if the design doesn't let the seat protrude or some logic like that. I can't confirm but it certainly doesn't hurt to ask!

My flying experience, both as a mom and as a F/A, are that there are fewer problems when you bring the seat. One reason is that their feet are above the real "kick zone" at the bottom of the seat in front of them. Often, children without a car seat have their legs sticking out and they bump the seat in front of them every time they get out. They sleep better and can see out the window. No, you do not have to have your child in it every minute.

Mine spent most of the time in my lap and then I had the seat for either when they slept or take-off and landing. It was nice to be able to get out of my seat when they were asleep and not worry that they would be hurt in turbulence.

Don't worry if they cry on take-off and landing. It's not because of their ears! (since crying clears the ears better than sucking so if they don't stop...) Everyone is awake, or should be. I found it easier to have them strapped in and comforting them than to have a squirmy toddler jumping out of my lap. There are cases of families being "off loaded" due to not controlling their toddler. I'm alone with three children and I don't know how I could have coped with my wiggly youngest!

Yes, your child is safer loose in your lap if you don't use a car seat on board. Children have survived, even thrown whereas they don't have a chance in your lap. Forward impact could happen even in a "lesser" crash (for lack of a better word) where the aircraft slides off the runway.

I don't want to go on about this especially since much of it was learned in class, with yukky photos that weren't released to the press. The airlines, whether by law or tact, don't reveal all the gory details of a crash to the press.

Let's just say about keeping your child loose in your lap, take my word for it! The carrier also could get in the way in an emergency. It's a FAA regulation so it's easier to take the carrier off when and how you want than 2 minutes before push-back, have some bossy F/A scolding you!
post #30 of 61
You've gotten some good info, so I'll share my opinion. I've done both. With one (mostly temperamentally content) child, lap holding worked just fine. With several children, especially my more active ones, they have been happier in seats. I recommend rear-facing especially with kick-y toddlers. They lose out on having a tray, but you'll get fewer nasty looks.
post #31 of 61
Originally Posted by YvonneC-M View Post
My 13-month-old has flown with me on five round-trip flights in the past ten months, mostly recently from New York to San Francisco and back, and we've never used a carseat or carrier. I just hold her on my lap, and if we're lucky to have an empty seat next to us, we spread out. She breastfeeds for takeoff and landing. Air travel with her has been tiring but otherwise easy.
I have flown many times with my son, starting when he was 3 months to the present, 7 yo. We have airplane travel down to a science, from packing, to security points, to flying! I second what YvonneC says. My son sat on my lap until he was about 18 months - breastfeeding made all the difference in the world. For very long flights I purchased 2 seats - 1 for him, 1 for me, so he could stretch out. I understand people wanting to use a car seat but when I did use one once, it was more of a hassle and detracts from the journey. Of course I do bring a car seat but I check it.

What I do bring is a stroller (even at his age). It's great for carrying our carry-ons, snacks or, when necessary, a tired boy through the terminal. I bring it to the plane and let the staff put it in luggage for me. It's different for everyone, but I'm into smooth, peaceful travel. A car seat, for us, is anything but that.
post #32 of 61
I had my DD on my lap
i was also nurseing her to
and it made her Free
becuse she did take up seat
some airline will say under 2 fly free
post #33 of 61
We always fly with all the kids in their car seats.
post #34 of 61
I bring it to the plane and let the staff put it in luggage for me. It's different for everyone, but I'm into smooth, peaceful travel. A car seat, for us, is anything but that.

Bravo for at least gate-checking the car seat! It's no guarantee but better than luggage-checking it.

Some of this might depend on the design of the car seat. I have no problem with the Radian. There are some seats which are better for travel than others. I've also used a Sit & Stroll (not recommended unless you do a lot of flying like we do), the Scenera and I've also heard that the Combi Coccoro is a great, hassle-free seat.


I don't like to recommend buying a car seat for this purpose, especially for the one-off vacation. The seat most have in their car is probably already approved, but for those of you who see a lot of flying in your future, or who have had a bad experience with a bulkier seat, you may want to look into the subject further. If you are planning on purchasing another seat anyway soon, you may want to keep it in mind. I wanted a SnS instead of a dozen more baby outfits so my family pooled and got it as a second-baby gift.

For the record, I found that the heavier Radian easier to fly with than the wider, but lighter Scenera (I do admit I had an older model). Don't flee from the heavier models. If it's well-designed, sitting on a luggage cart, you wont really notice the extra weight.
post #35 of 61
[QUOTE=Eclipsepearl;15529103]I bring it to the plane and let the staff put it in luggage for me. It's different for everyone, but I'm into smooth, peaceful travel. A car seat, for us, is anything but that.

Bravo for at least gate-checking the car seat! It's no guarantee but better than luggage-checking it.

Do you have any advice for us about this? I gate check their seats now that my kids are older (rather than carrying them on and using them), but the last time I flew the ticketing agent and the agent at the gate gave me a hard time about it. "Oh it's so much better to check them. Nothing will happen to them. It's perfectly safe to check them. etc etc." I stuck to my guns, but that kind of stuff is not helpful for DH to hear when he'd prefer the easy way out - to check them with the luggage and not deal with them through security etc. And I'd prefer a way to get them to stop pushing me, faster.

post #36 of 61
No, because I find it much easier to have the car seats on board the aircraft with me. I don't have the luxury of flying with my husband and I keep car seats at my parents'. The little one is very active and I need her in a car seat. It's the only way I can handle three children alone.

Gate-checking isn't necessarily a guarantee. It's only slightly better than luggage checking them. Ask your dh what you would do if the car seats weren't there? I remember when only one of my four bags arrived but we had the car seat and my dd was safe on the 2 hour drive home.

If the staff gives you a hard time, take down their names and threaten to write them up. They might not understand the logic of bringing FAA approved car seats up to the door, yet not using them on board. This would be safer for your LO's. JMHO.
post #37 of 61
Gate checking is rarely a bad idea but don't forget there are lots of places globally where it's not allowed any many airlines don't allow it. We've personally always brought our two Britax Hi-Way rear facing seats (55 lbs limit) in special padded car seat bags.

We wrap them in bubble wrap and protect the seat further with diapers and clothing. It has worked nicely on 60+ flights around the world, a high percentage of these long transatlantic flights. A decently designed car seat will not break unless damaged unless a truck runs over it. Could happen but it's extremely unlikely.

Once again, focus on car seat safety on the ground. That’s where the danger is. It's more dangerous to sit down at the dinner table with your kids than flying without the little one in a car set.
post #38 of 61
ME: I have flown with my DS both as a lap baby and in his car seat. The car seat flights were MUCH easier for both of us and he actually was much happier. Ask for a seat-belt extender even though you should be able to buckle the seat without one; it makes the process easier, especially when unfastening the seat belt. I put his seat FF and we had no problems with him kicking the seat in front of him.

Also, I used the GoGoBabys TravelMate to turn his car seat into a stroller and wheeled him through the airports even on the flights when he was a lap baby and his seat was gate-checked. It kept him confined so I could handle everything else and provided him with an island of familiarity.
post #39 of 61
I haven't flown with my baby yet, but after hearing two F/A friends and an airline employee relative (none of whom know each other) tell me that their field refers to lap babies as "unattended flying objects," I will bring my carseat on board if I do have to fly.
post #40 of 61
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
Please never have your baby in a carrier for take-off and landing. There is only a lap belt on the plane and your body weighs more than your baby's. On forward impact, the baby wouldn't stand a chance.

Even if a F/A doesn't see you, you are still putting your baby at great risk by doing this. You don't even have to remove the baby from the carrier. Just somehow detach it from yourself. I used to unhook carriers from behind passenger's backs before take-off and landing. The baby could stay in the carrier-as long as it wasn't attached to the parents' body.
How exactly is the carrier different than having my arms tight around the baby? My arms are just as attached to my body as any carrier would be.
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