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air travel with toddlers: Carseat or not?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Do you take your toddler's car seat with you into the airplane? I have always taken ours with us but she is bigger now and would probably appreciate having more room to move around. I always buy her a seat. The FAA does not require a car seat for toddlers. What's your opinion?

Dd is 19.5 months old.

Denny
post #2 of 15
I do take my car seat. And, actually I think he is more comfortable. He seems to fall asleep. Which makes the flight more enjoyable for all. I also feel safer with him in the car seat. It would be very hard to hold on to him during turbulance.

I know others on this board feel differently. But, everyone must do what feels right for them and their family...

~Laura
post #3 of 15
I am on the other end of the continuum here. I don't take the car seat on the plane. I let my daughter (2 1/2) do whatever she wants as long as she is not bothering other passengers and is not breaking any safety rules. We fly every few months- Denver to Ft. Lauderdale- so the flights are not short. We have never had a bad experience. If she wants to walk up and down the aisle, I go with her. If she wants to stand or sit on the floor or dance, or sit on my lap, whatever it is , we do it. She seems to like flying and behaves wonderfully for 4 hours. When she was a baby she used to sleep on the planes, but not any longer. We are flying again next week. I hope it goes as well as it has in the past for us. Many of our flights have been just the two of us. I am happy DH is going to be with us this time around.
post #4 of 15
We recently travelled with another couple and their 2 1/2 year old boy. They had one of those carseat/stroller combos (it converts back and forth). They admitted that it isn't the perfect carseat or stroller, but it's really handy for travelling... We had to switch planes, and they just popped the wheels out, pulled the handle out and wheeled the kid down the concourse! Maybe not worth buying unless you do a lot of travelling, tho..
post #5 of 15
I will bring dd's car seat on plane trips as long as I can, at least till age three I'd think. It seems like plane seatbelts, like lapbelts in cars, are built for bigger people and might come up quite high on a toddler... esp at 19.5 mos.

We took dd on a trip a couple mos ago at 19 months of age, we bought her a seat and brought our carseat purely for safety's sake. I don't feel that at this age her body could survive a crash as well with just a lap belt compared to her car seat. JMO.

So for the FAA once you turn two years old you are expected to be seatbelted in, no carseat or anything ? Is that it ? just curious, I know age two is when you have to get them their own seat....


Won't you need the car seat at your destination anyways ?
post #6 of 15
Until age 2, our dd has been "infant in arms" (dh is cheap).

Now, we will bring her seat with us, because we've tried the airplane lap belts with her, and she can undo them easily. Dh is a pilot and is less worried about a crash (which would be statistically unlikely and could be so awful seatbelts wouldn't matter anyway) than he is about turbulence or a rough landing because of a weather condition, pilot error, or an ATC oversight. He'd like dd belted in securely for takeoff, landing, and any time she's not nursing.
If you choose not to bring your seat, and you're renting a car at your destination, most rental companies have seats you can rent for a fee (no infant seats--I think they only have convertible or forward-facing seats), and you have to reserve them ahead, generally. If you want to make travel easier, you can check your stroller at the gate and get it as you exit the plane: there's no additional cost.
post #7 of 15
We have a carseat/stroller combo as well...and while it isn't the greatest as a carseat or stroller, it IS great for travelling. That's all we use it for anymore.

With my 19 month old, the carseat is a lifesaver...she can fall asleep in that, while she couldnt' in a regular seat, you know? We didnt' have one for my 3 year old when we travelled this past October, and that worked out well also. She would have been too constricted in the car seat, I think, and was very good about belting up, etc.

But with a 19.5 month old, I'd defintiely stick with the car seat for plane trips.
post #8 of 15
My friend just took an international flight and was not allowed to bring a car seat on board for her son. This is new to me.

I like the car seat for landing and take off. My ds (23 months) will not sleep in it. On my last flight (CA to NY) the people in front of us had their seats back for the entire flight (6 hours) and when my ds sat in his carseat, his feet were jammed against the backs of their seat. They were very unpleasant and the whole flight was stressful.
post #9 of 15
Yes, we take ours. We like the extra room and the extra safety in case of turbulence. Be advised that you should read the rules ahead of time. We have run into ignorant flight attendants. On our first flight we were told that we were not allowed to us our car seat and had to stow it. We stood our ground and won, but it took 20 minutes of arguing with the flight attendant and was miserable. If I hadn't been so sure of the rules, I would have caved. On two other flights we were also told by flight attendants that we were not allowed to use our carseat as rear-facing. Again, we calmly stood our ground and prevailed. But c'mon folks! We have only flown on two trips, and wit connections on only 6 flights and had major problems on half of them. So be prepared.

I wonder if Msings' friend who wasn't allowed to take a carseat on a flight was told so by a misinformed flight attendant.
post #10 of 15

I would take the carseat.

I also fly from denver to ft lauderdale quite frequently, with three kids. my youngest now 4. he has always been in his carseat (obviously i took him out to nurse). There is nothing worse than kids running up and down the aisles and looking over the back of the seat. ugh. I have found that as long as my child was in his carseat, he played quietly, looked at books, toy keys, ate teddy grahams and slept on and off for the long flight. kids understand that if they are in their carseats in the car, that they have to stay put, and its the same for the aircraft. i also found that the children that werent in a carseat and just buckled in, couldnt really sleep as well as the ones in their carseats. flying as much as i have with not one, but htree kids, often alone without dh, i have found this the best solution.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Okay. I have heard quite the gamut here in terms of flying technique and I thank you all for your wonderful input. I asked this question because last time I flew this trip with my dd there was another mama with three kidlets in the seat in front of me. No car seat for any of them. She had an infant, a toddler and a 5 year old. She said she never bothered with the carseat as it gave the kids no room to move about, use the tray tables or eat. When the kids got tired she made a nest for them out of pillows and they slept in each other's arms like little baby mice and it was totally adorable. They seemed very happy, although the safety aspect seemed to have fallen by the wayside. The two bigger ones got up to stretch their legs a few times and there was some peering over the back of the seats at my dd and I but so what? These are kids. I hate when children are expected to stop being children just because they are on an airplane or in a restaurant or whathave you.
post #12 of 15
Yes, the last thing a mommy trying to travel and keep her little ones safe needs are unrealistic expectations from others to stress her out.
post #13 of 15
Kids are of such different personalities, and while some kids can happily sit and sleep in their seat for a cross-country journey, the idea of that for mine would have been unreasonable. And for cost too I chose to lap-sit. But I started a thread once to recommend Southwest Airlines for lap-sitters because there are no seat assignments...and when you pre-board with a child, and it is not a full flight, the others definitely leave you room and that extra seat! But the majority of responses I got were not thank-yous, but severe admonishment for putting my child in danger. When ds was a new walker there was no way he could sit still for so long. Everything in his body was driving him to move around and use those legs. I did insist against his protests that he stay seated with me at certain points, but when the cart had passed and the fasten seat belt sign was off I did take time to let him move about a little. Lucky for me the flight attendants were sympathetic to his need for this and let us explore the back area where they were working.

I also don't like carting the carseat around with me, especially when it has been just me and ds. If I can, I have a carseat (for the car) waiting at the other end, and if that is not possible I check ours. I can't manage more than ds in the sling and my carry-on/diaper bag and ticket, wallet, etc.
post #14 of 15
I feel as though I am the odd ball out in this discussion about car seats on airplanes- as I choose not to bring mine. I would just like to say that I have only received compliments at the end of each and every flight about how well behaved my daughter is. I have never received nasty looks or comments from any of the other passengers or flight attendents. We have always received praise. Asking a child to sit still for 4 hours is asking a lot. Even though I do allow my daughter to walk the aisles (and I go with her), we never get in the way of the flight attendents or other passengers. Yes she also occassionally peers over the back of her seat, but she plays quietly in her seat most of the flight. We always bring books, toys and snacks with us and stay put most of the time. I also have the outlook that if a plane crashes, we are all f*@%ed, so what is the point of the car seat. However, some of you had some really valid points about take off and landing that made me think about this much more. However, we will have a car seat waiting for us in Florida when we get there and I do not want to bring an extra along just for take off and landing.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hmm. Can you believe someone gave me sh*t for having a baby that laughs too much? He was an uptight business guy. My dd thought a toy I brought with us was just too funny and she kept giggling. She was about 1 year old at the time. People are bizarre. Want total silence? Plump for business class next time, sport.

Meanwhile, in the carseat wars I have submitted my query to Ask The Pilot at Salon.com. I await the columnist's sage advice and will post it hear iffin I git a reply.

Denny
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