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convertible car seat for plane travel

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
1 year old (yesterday) DS is about to outgrow the snugride 22. I am looking for a convertible to replace it. I drive a 2008 rav4. DS is on the smaller side - 20 pounds, not sure of his height and he's sleeping on me right now. Also, we will be traveling by plane fairly often so I would like to get something that is not too cumbersome. Of course I'd like to get a good deal but am willing to pay for what works. Any suggestions? Oh, no other kids and not really planning on more.
post #2 of 14

I would recommend getting whatever you like for your car (and there are a plethora of options).  I personally am a fan of the radian, myride, trufit, etc - but I know there are newer options out there.  For plane travel, get a scenera.  It can be a bit of learning curve to install, so practice before your trip, but it's cheap, lightweight, and fits well on a plane.  But it has no bells and whistles which is why I wouldn't want it for an everyday seat.

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
The options are overwhelming! We need a back up seat to leave with my inlaws who watch ds three afternoons a week. Maybe we'll get the scenera for the plane and back up and then get something more for every day use.
post #4 of 14

We do quite a bit of travel, mostly by plane. And we usually take taxis to/from the airport or rent a car at our destination, so we've installed the seat forward and rear facing in countless vehicles.

 

I've been very happy with my Cocorro for plane travel. The seat is very very compact and lightweight, which makes it great for carrying through the airport and installing once on the plane. I don't know if this matters to you, but the seat is also easy to install in just about any car (including taxis and rental cars), and the narrowness of the seat means you and another adult can sit in the backseat of the car with your child.

 

You can buy a fabric cover for the seat to protect it during travel. The quality of the cover isn't high, but it fits the seat like a glove, has long handles for carrying the seat over your shoulder, keeps it clean while sending it through security, and it's a handy place to stuff coats and other odds and ends while on the plane.

 

The downsides: my kiddo (average height) outgrew the seat rear facing by 2 years, and she will probably outgrow the seat forward facing by age 3. BUT, for plane travel, the rear facing issue isn't relevant (you will install any convertible seat forward facing on the plane). And if you're going to be installing the seat in random taxis and rental cars while you're traveling, then you probably don't have a huge chance of fitting the larger convertibles in rear facing anyway.

 

Just my two cents. Good luck with your search and let us know what you decide!

post #5 of 14

We also have a Scenera for travel, plus it's at my mom's house just in case she ever needs to take DD on an errand or anything while she's there. I really like it for travel instead of our Radian because it's much lighter and it's not too tall so it works well rear-facing for DD (tall and 26 months). It's also fairly narrow so it fits in the seats, where some wider carseats may have issues. The rear-facing is esp. helpful on longer or night flights because it means she is more reclined so it's more comfortable for her to sleep. Plus she is not kicking the seat in front of her when she gets antsy.

 

In some cars we need a tightly rolled towel to install it rear-facing so I'd definitely try installing it before you take it on the road. Also, I find it much easier to install with the locking clip (once I learned how to do that, it's not hard) than using the seatbelt. Unless you have a manual-tighten lap-only seatbelt or are using the lap belt on a plane - then it's the easiest install ever; you just put the belt in, clip, and tighten and you're good to go.

post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by LightForest View Post

(you will install any convertible seat forward facing on the plane)

Not sure why you would say that, it's not true, you can certainly install a convertible rear facing on a plane and in many cases you should.

post #7 of 14
The scenera is a great travel seat. We travelled with that seat for DD and the Maestro for DS. We were able to stack both seats on top of the stroller to make going through the airport easier.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ola_ View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by LightForest View Post

(you will install any convertible seat forward facing on the plane)

Not sure why you would say that, it's not true, you can certainly install a convertible rear facing on a plane and in many cases you should.

 

You're right - I shouldn't have made such a blanket statement! What I should have said is that I've always installed the seat forward facing because the airlines that I fly on always seem to allow miniscule leg room. A rear-facing install would prevent the passenger in front of my child from reclining their seat all the way. I prefer to stay on the good side of my fellow passengers - there are plenty of other opportunities for someone to get huffy with me about my child's behavior. This is just me, though! IF you could get a seat in the front row, then this would  not be an issue.

 

Also, when I'm using an airline with LCD screens in the seatback headrest, I've found them to be very convenient for keeping my child occupied. But they have to be forward facing to see the screen.

 

Perhaps most importantly, I've read that there is little to no safety advantage provided by installing your car seat rear facing in a plane. While flying, the car seat protects the child primarily in the event of turbulence (an up/down motion). The direction the seat is facing doesn't seem to matter in this case because we're not so much concerned about collisions.

 

All of this said, I welcome the input from other posters more knowledgeable than myself on the safety advantages of rear facing on a plane.

 

 

 

PS - this reminds me of another awesome feature of the Cocorro on the plane. because of the shape of the seat, it is easy to recline the seat while the child is seated. This means that I can seat her more upright while she is awake (so she's less able to kick the seatback in front of her), then I can recline her back when she falls asleep.

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback.  I have been looking in to both the Scenera and the Cocorro.  I'm going to see if I can find some place nearby to take a look at them.

 

Thanks LightForest for the thoughts on RF and FF on the plane.  These are things I haven't really thought of before!

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by LightForest View Post

 

You're right - I shouldn't have made such a blanket statement! What I should have said is that I've always installed the seat forward facing because the airlines that I fly on always seem to allow miniscule leg room. A rear-facing install would prevent the passenger in front of my child from reclining their seat all the way. I prefer to stay on the good side of my fellow passengers - there are plenty of other opportunities for someone to get huffy with me about my child's behavior. This is just me, though! IF you could get a seat in the front row, then this would  not be an issue.

 

Also, when I'm using an airline with LCD screens in the seatback headrest, I've found them to be very convenient for keeping my child occupied. But they have to be forward facing to see the screen.

 

Perhaps most importantly, I've read that there is little to no safety advantage provided by installing your car seat rear facing in a plane. While flying, the car seat protects the child primarily in the event of turbulence (an up/down motion). The direction the seat is facing doesn't seem to matter in this case because we're not so much concerned about collisions.

 

All of this said, I welcome the input from other posters more knowledgeable than myself on the safety advantages of rear facing on a plane.

 

 

 

PS - this reminds me of another awesome feature of the Cocorro on the plane. because of the shape of the seat, it is easy to recline the seat while the child is seated. This means that I can seat her more upright while she is awake (so she's less able to kick the seatback in front of her), then I can recline her back when she falls asleep.

 

One thing to know is that if your child does not meet the minimum requirements for ffing in the seat you are using on the plane, it is illegal to use it that way.  So you do have to keep them rfing until they at least meet the minimum.  The other issue I find with ffing on the plane is that my kids can kick the seat in front of them.  Just something to watch.  To me, as a passenger, that is way more annoying than not being able to recline my seat!  Also, in the event of a crash landing or a crash on the runway on takeoff, rfing would be safer, but honestly that is so so so rare.

post #11 of 14

MLog and others - yesterday I looked up the actual "rules" about rear facing on planes. All US carriers are supposed to allow you to use any car seat that is approved for air travel. You're supposed to follow existing guidelines for installing your seat in a car when installing the seat in a plane, which means that infants under 20 pounds are supposed to sit rear facing.

 

(This baffles me, considering the size of most car seats these days, and the ever-shrinking legroom on most US carriers.)

 

I'm sorry about hijacking your post, MLog! Back to your original post, I think the Scenera or the Cocorro would be great choices. The Cocorro is cuter, and you can buy that carry bag for it. But I don't know if that makes it worth the added expense.

post #12 of 14

DahliaRW, yes, when I was looking this up online I found some stories of people being told by flight attendants to turn their infant seats to forward facing. Yikes! Of course, if the seat is made to rear face (and/or if the baby doesn't meet the requirements for forward facing), then to install it forward facing would be a bad idea! (Though I'll be damned if I ever have to install my Britax Chaperone in an economy class seat.)
 

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
LightForest no worries about highjacking the thread. I find it interesting and helpful.
I got a scenera to try since it's definitely the lightest and inexpensive. If we don't like it for everyday use we'll leave it at the grandparent's and get something else.
post #14 of 14

I find that the Scenera is much less "cushy" than our everyday Radian so we only use it as a travel/grandma/spare seat, but YMMV.

 

FWIW I believe that the dangerous parts of a flight are the takeoff and landing so it's not just turbulence to worry about. And my DD is one of those "don't like to sit still" kids so kicking the seat is unfortunately a concern, we prefer to block the reclining of the passenger in front due to this as well as the other benefits. But I'm sure this varies for each family, the individual child, and even the flight itself (such as how long it is and what time of day, etc.).

 

Enjoy your travel!

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