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Car seats - why is it safe...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I remember reading so many posts here about not wanting to check in your car seat with your luggage because they are only meant to be in an impact situation once. I am wondering why it's generally considered safe to have them shipped in a cardboard box (when you order online). As a single package they must be going through serious and numerous impacts (I am guessing that in actual stores they go through less, as they are delivered with many other car seats, by people knowing what they are dealing with... hopefully). Why does a cardboard box make a difference?

post #2 of 17

A cardboard box carrying merchandise does NOT go through the same process as a piece of luggage does after being checked. 

1. The cardboard box and don't forget the material that packs it in, are designed for this purpose. 

2. It's in the company's interest to get the merchandise to its destination in good shape. The airline has fewer constraints. They aren't legally bound to replace for damage or loss in the same way something coming from a store should be. 

3. Time constraints. Passengers want to leave on time. Baggage handlers are under pressure to get stuff on board as quickly as possible. Yes, deliveries are scheduled too but not in the same pressing way. 5 minutes with a box is different than 5 minutes with a flight. 

 

The boxes are also not sent on the same kind of conveyer belts than luggage in airports are. The containers that go on airplanes are packed there at the airport while the boxes are often packed in containers, bigger boxes, whatever, at the factory. They're also usually more uniformed size so fit together better. They're also usually the same weight. Your checked car seat could be crushed under how many really heavy bags. 

 

If you have a lap baby or can't use the car seat on board for whatever reason, be sure to GATE check it. That will also give you a shot of getting an extra place for a lap baby. Be sure to request this! 

post #3 of 17

I wondered the same thing. I've ordered things that have been delivered via ups, fed ex, or the postal service and many of those boxes have arrived damaged. I also see boxes with smooched in corners in stores so it seems to me that when a car seat is loose inside it must be clunked around.

 

I guess there really isn't anything you can do besides returning a car seat when the box is damaged in any way. This is why I order car seats from amazon, they pay return shipping on children's items no matter the reason for the return.

 

I personally would never, ever gate check a car seat. I would buy a seat to put the car seat in first. We had a stroller destroyed (axel broken, wheels ripped off, cracked plastic) after being gate checked. When we travel by air we use cares harnesses then make sure whomever is picking us up at the airport already has car seats. I'm not sure what we would do if we rented a car at our destination, the situation has never come up. 

post #4 of 17

I just recieved a carseat this week from amazon. It was packed in the box it came in, (with the styrafoam, etc) and that was in another larger box with packing material. I think pp point about the manufacturers packaging is correct. I'd like to say, if the box was torn and ripped up, I'd probably return it. You simply don't have that recourse with airlines.

post #5 of 17

Corrugated cardboard is designed to absorb some impacts, as well.  

post #6 of 17

I wouldn't worry about the corners. That could happen just taking the box out of the van. 

 

I would be concerned if the outside was messed up, like if there was evidence that the box had been hit with some sort of force, like holes that went completely through. 

 

Paper can rip but I doubt the seat is damaged unless the styrofoam inside had broken. If the styrofoam is intact, your seat is probably fine. 

 

Anyone actually returned a seat that looked too beat-up when it arrived?

post #7 of 17

So what;s the best thing to do? I have to bring my car seats when I fly, neither MIL nor my parents have extras around? 

post #8 of 17


Use your restraints on the plane.  Safest for the seats and for the children sitting in them, particularly children under 40 lbs. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nia82 View Post

So what;s the best thing to do? I have to bring my car seats when I fly, neither MIL nor my parents have extras around? 



 

post #9 of 17

We use CARES on the plane. DS freaked in his car seat on the plane - no space, and the person in front of him gets kicked non-stop... So not an option! I need to check the car seat - either at the terminal or at the gate, I just wonder what's safer?

post #10 of 17

Can you order a seat and have it shipped to your destination?  We have a Scenera at DH's parents' house for this reason.  It's a convertible so will fit for a while and it works, though it's not the most cushy seat.

 

If you can't do that I would check it as luggage in it's original box (and packing materials) or if that's not possible I'd gate check it.

post #11 of 17

I'kk have to gate check then. My parents live in Germany and there are little seats on the market that allow rearfacing for toddlers, and the ones that are on the market cost 200 Euros and more. I would need two for both kids, so that's quite a bit of money neither I nor my parents can spend! The seats that are available are forward facing seats I could borrow from my sister, but htanks, no thanks.... My SIL in SFO when I fly there might have extras I could borrow. THere's lots of family so it might be possible, but she might not be thrilled with removing it from her spare car and having to put it back in, I don't know, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it!

post #12 of 17

When you gate-check it, please ask them to hand carry it down. Some airports use chutes and a lot of stuff gets damaged this way. 

 

Gate checking it means the airline is handling it less and the seat is less likely to be lost in transit. That's actually the biggest risk-not having your seat when you get there and then how would you ride in the car with your child(ren)? 

 

The best way to get it to where you're going is to have it on board and use it. I actually found that my children were calmer, slept better and were less disturbing to others WITH the car seat. Also, as a Flight Attendant, there were fewer problems with the children who were in car seats than those without. 

post #13 of 17
The packaging on a shipped car seat is well done - at least it has been with the Britax seats we've ordered. Those things are protected like a tank. We haven't flown for awhile, but when we do, it is usually SouthWest since it is just to Southern CA. Our car seats are too wide for their tiny seats, so they would have to be checked. They bent the heck out of a walker (I have mobility issues) when I had it gate checked, but I never thought of asking them to hand-carry it.

As far as the impact, I actually wouldn't be surprised if a car seat that was checked up front would reach the impact limit. They are ROUGH with luggage. I believe an "impact" is anything above the force the seat would receive in an accident at 25 mph in a vehicle. (At least, that is what my firefighter BIL said when we asked several years ago.) I really can see that happening at an airport.
post #14 of 17

Actually, WN's (Southwest) seats aren't that small. I've flown them. We took a side trip while in the U.S. so I installed on a 747 followed by WN's 737 (the only plane I believe they have). Same. 

 

Also, I've seen Britax's installed many times but I will admit I didn't check out the model. At least once I saw a Marathon. I realize that the size of the child plays a role and the pitch of the seats (distance between rows). 

 

I still would urge you to gate-check, to not lose the seat, even in a box. Twice I had car seats brought from the U.S. and they were checked in original boxes, as luggage. In those cases, I didn't need the seats right away so if the airline had misrouted them, there was no child to transport from the airport (in one case, I was still pregnant). 

 

Not to get OT but about the walker, I believe this is considered a mobility device, like a wheelchair is. Why is this important? Falls under entirely different rules. There are strict laws per the Americans With Disabilities Act that protect your right to have your mobility device at your destination, and have it there in good shape. The same does NOT apply to car seats. I can't tell you more. Before you fly again, contact a relevant organization and get the skinny on how to go about making sure this doesn't happen again. 

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post

Not to get OT but about the walker, I believe this is considered a mobility device, like a wheelchair is. Why is this important? Falls under entirely different rules. There are strict laws per the Americans With Disabilities Act that protect your right to have your mobility device at your destination, and have it there in good shape. The same does NOT apply to car seats. I can't tell you more. Before you fly again, contact a relevant organization and get the skinny on how to go about making sure this doesn't happen again. 

That's actually kind of scary. If they bent up my walker, there's no way I'm ever checking a car seat up front. I won't even get into how stupid the officer at LAX was when it came to making me walk through security without my walker. (Well, in short, he told me even people in wheelchairs have to get up and walk through security. Idiot.)

We have a wider Britax seat. The seats for the instate flights were 16 inches last time I checked, and I think our seat is 17. I know it was an inch too large last time I checked. We're tempted to take the train from now on, since we only go to So. Cal. once in awhile and it would be easier to deal with the car seat issue.
post #16 of 17

Not to get too into your walker story but some laws may have been broken in that incident. I'm not the one who can tell you more. I just know that as soon as something labelled as a "mobility device" had legal protection. You may want to investigate this before the next time you fly, if you still use a walker, and find out what exactly you rights are. 

 

Don't panic if your car seat is only one inch more than the seat width. You can raise the armrests and jiggle it around... If a half inch spills out on either side, one is probably the wall and the other side is where you're sitting. For such a short flight, you can give up a half inch. Also, car seats are different widths at different points. If your seat were 3" over, I'd say, probably not but 1", it's probably good to go! 

 

You could also look into getting a "travel friendly" car seat like the Scenero or Maestro.

 

I prefer the train too! Too bad the U.S. doesn't have as good a network as here in Europe. Absolutely my favorite way to travel, when I can swing it...  

post #17 of 17
i used our marathon on a southwest flight. the only thing is (and i learned that here, lol) that you have to get a seat belt extender, otherwise, the buckle get like right smack in the middle of the back of the seat, and its about impossible to unbuckle
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