Flying, carseats, lap children -- What's the big deal? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 102 Old 02-27-2009, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, I need to see another viewpoint on the carseat vs lap child scenario in an airplane.

My take: Why worry about a carseat on the plane? If we crash, we're dead, carseat or not. Turbulence hasn't ever been a huge issue in any of the flights I've taken (with and w/o kids and babies). (I know there are exceptions, but I've had pretty easy flights.)

I'm not really worried about having a lap child, but tell me why you guys believe otherwise.

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#2 of 102 Old 02-27-2009, 07:23 PM
 
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I agree with you, you're right. The only reason for taking a carseat on a plane is if it makes the child more comfortable. Carseats don't make it any "safer". Even in turbulence...it's not hard to keep a hold of a baby.
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#3 of 102 Old 02-27-2009, 08:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Justthatgirl View Post
If we crash, we're dead, carseat or not.

...
I'm not really worried about having a lap child, but tell me why you guys believe otherwise.
Well, in the past six weeks there have been two commercial passenger crashes that had many survivors. I would not have wanted to be grasping a lap child on either one of them.
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#4 of 102 Old 02-27-2009, 08:12 PM
 
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My dd will not sit in my lap for very long, but she is very comfortable in her seat.

+ = and .
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#5 of 102 Old 02-27-2009, 08:15 PM
 
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Well, both of my kids are big and squirmy, so logistically it seemed a nightmare to have them on my lap (the flight we take most often tends to be full, so I've never wanted to risk not having a seat for the little one before she was two). So if I"m buying a seat for her, I'm bringing the carseat. She's secure, she can sleep, whatever.

And then, we were on a smallish regional jet last summer. I went to the bathroom. There was sudden turbulence so bad that I hit the ceiling. DD was strapped into her carseat. I wasn't seriously injured, and when I made it back to my seat, the woman next to me said, "thank god your baby was in that seat. She didn't even notice!" (DH was in the next aisle, btw).

Anyway, I know it doesn't happen often, but that turbulence was so sudden and fierce that I'm a firm believer in seatbelts on all the time for everyone (unless you're going to the bathroom or whatever).

But of course, YMMV.
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#6 of 102 Old 02-27-2009, 08:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thyme View Post
Well, in the past six weeks there have been two commercial passenger crashes that had many survivors. I would not have wanted to be grasping a lap child on either one of them.

There was a lap baby that survived the crash into the hudson without injury, FYI.

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#7 of 102 Old 02-27-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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Well, true, the chances are VERY remote of a carseat making the difference between life and death, or even being fine and being injured on an airplane.

Same is true of adult lapbelts... even moreso. Yet, I'm required to wear my seatbelt. The plane won't take off until they've walked down the aisle and made sure that everyone has their belt buckled.

Why would I go with a *lower* standard for my child's safety?

As a family, we don't fly unless we can afford a seat for everyone. We bring carseats. It's much more comfortable; even if you're holding your baby most of the time, having somewhere secure to put them down for a minute while you stretch your legs or drink your tea is really, really nice. Kids who are in a familiar seat will often cope better with an unfamiliar situation, and if they're the type to sleep in the car, they'll do it on the plane, too.

The only reason it's allowed to have under-2's on a plane without a seat is because the FTA crunched the numbers, and decided that the price difference would push enough families into driving instead of flying that the injuries from car accidents would be greater than the harm that could come to lap children. It's not "safe," it's just safer than driving... but then again, a LOT is safer than driving! ;-)

Ultimately, if we were the one in a [number with lots of zeroes after] flight where it *would* make a difference, could I ever live with myself for having decided my child's life wasn't worth $XXX? Me, no, I'd never recover from that. There may be others who can make peace with that decision in the same situation, and I don't fault them for it, but it's a level of serenity and trust in the universe that I simply don't have.
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#8 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 01:20 AM
 
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This argument is a bit of an aside, but safety-related nonetheless.

I HATE the idea of checking my carseat. It once came back with the straps soaked in de-icing fluid. YIKES!! We couldn't be in the car with it, it reeked so badly. Not to mention the question of what it would do to the nylon.

Even with gate-checking, they really bang those seats around, and I worry about the safety of them. I'd rather buckle them in where I don't have to worry about how they're being handled.

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#9 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 01:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by simplehome View Post

I HATE the idea of checking my carseat. It once came back with the straps soaked in de-icing fluid.
That is DISGUSTING!


I'm really enjoying the feedback here. Thank you!! It helps to have another perspective.

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#10 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 01:42 AM
 
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Even with gate-checking, they really bang those seats around, and I worry about the safety of them. I'd rather buckle them in where I don't have to worry about how they're being handled.

what hasn't been asked is what do you do when you get where you're going if you don't have a seat? or is it implied that you're checking the seat (maybe that's the part i missed)?

we bring our seat regardless, if under 2, we don't buy a seat but gate check if there isn't one available. my babies have never been really comfortable in their seats, so expecting them to be content in one was a big risk and waste of money, tbh.

i wouldn't put a seat through 'regular' baggage check ever.

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#11 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 01:51 AM
 
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I thought you weren't allowed to hold your baby during turbulence. Don't you have to wrap a lap baby in a blanket and stuff them under the seat?
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#12 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 01:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought you weren't allowed to hold your baby during turbulence. Don't you have to wrap a lap baby in a blanket and stuff them under the seat?
What? What?? You're kidding, right? I hope so because I'm sitting here laughing hysterically at the idea of stuffing my 15 mo old anywhere. :

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#13 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 01:57 AM
 
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Ive flown many times (my family is in the UK and we live here in Az!!) and for me the car seat is for comfort rather than anything, I couldnt/wouldnt have my 1 year old on my lap for 15hrs, we'd both be insane by the end!! However he did go on our laps for short flights to OH

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#14 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 02:13 AM
 
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I was on a flight with DS when he was 11 month old (28lbs) with NO seat for himself. I booked him a bassinett 'seat' (it was an international flight) and that worked well, aside from him wanting to walk and talk and entertain. I will be flying with two kids soon. DS (then 2) will get his own seat with a carseat and DD will be in a bassinett/lap seat.

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#15 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 02:37 AM
 
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It's buried in this article, but according to it it is the procedure to place lap children on the floor (doesn't say under the seat, but I've heard that elsewhere).

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/colum...children_N.htm
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#16 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 02:39 AM
 
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The FAA does not claim that a lap child is safe.

http://www.jetwithkids.com/book_freeChapter.html

It is 100% true that airline procedure is to place the baby on the floor in the event of severe turbulence. I was incredulous when the flight attendant told me that the 1st time I flew with (then 3 mo. old) ds. Its also why they freak out and wont allow you to keep the baby in a carrrier (I had a Beco they wouldnt let me use) during take-off and landing. Apparently they're safer on the floor than strapped to a parent. Who knew?

I suppose in the event of SEVERE turbulence,or one of those unexpected drops, yeah, you could lose grip on the dc, or get tossed into the ceiling with dc.
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#17 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 03:17 AM
 
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It's not easy to keep a hold of a child in severe turbulence. It's the basic physics-- force equals mass times acceleration. In a car, that means your kleenex box can injure you in a crash, not to mention your steel water bottle... It also means that keeping a hold of a 10lb. baby in a 30 mile an hour collision takes 300 lbs. of effort. It's just not that easy. I agree that you are much greater risk driving to and from the airport. It's not likely you'll be in severe turbulence or in a plane crash. However, you have to have a car seat on the other end. It's not a great idea to check them, they are often lost damaged or misplaced. Car seat rental is not a great idea, period. For any number of reasons. It's just simply safest to use the car seat on the plane.

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#18 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 04:35 AM
 
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We've flown a lot with our kids, usually in their carseats but occasionally not.

Once we hit unanticipated turbulance so bad that our lying down sleeping older children flew up to the top of the backs of the seat & dh hit his knee on the top of the bathroom door. The baby travelling in front of us, unstrapped in a bassinette, fractured his collarbone.

It was pretty scary & a good lesson in why carseats are a good idea.

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#19 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 07:13 AM
 
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From being in servere turbulence myself I wouldn't want to try to hold my baby through it. Ive flown a lot and was one test away from having my private pilots license before I went to college so Ive seen good fligts and bad flights. The last one I took from Japan to the states we had a really bad landing and I was so relieved DD (16 months at the time) was in her seat because the baby next to us went flying from her mom's lap and got hurt.

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#20 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 08:37 AM
 
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What do people think about the baby b'air as a turbulence protection device for lap-seated babies?

http://www.babybair.com/

We're on the fence about whether using such a device makes flying with our baby in our laps OK or not. Thoughts?
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#21 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 10:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SiobhanAoife View Post
What do people think about the baby b'air as a turbulence protection device for lap-seated babies?

http://www.babybair.com/

We're on the fence about whether using such a device makes flying with our baby in our laps OK or not. Thoughts?


You cannot use that during take off, taxing or landing.
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#22 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 12:04 PM
 
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the floor thing is not true, It was a procedure practiced by some airlines a long time ago, now you are just asked to hold your baby in arms.

Btw that case in 1989 was the only one I have seen referenced where a lap child died, so one child in 20 years doesn't seem like enough to guarantee, 800$ more for an extra seat.

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#23 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 12:54 PM
 
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You cannot use that during take off, taxing or landing.
Yes, I know, which is why I asked what people think of it as a device for protection against turbulence, since that's what many people think is the primary risk for lap babies on airplanes - violent turbulence during the flight.
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#24 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 01:21 PM
 
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we've done it every way possible and I still have not come to any conclusions. We've based buying DD a ticket on the length of the flight. 1st flight, she was 3 months old, we didn't buy her a ticket, but we lucked out and got a free seat and we were able to use our bucket. 2nd flight was 6 hours long and we bought her a seat. She was a carseat screamer as an infant and barely spent any time in her seat anyways. 3rd and 4th flights we took her as a lap baby, she got a free seat on all but one segment. Bought her a seat when it was just me and her flying since I couldn't pass her off to anyone. She sat with the lapbelt (she was 1 and 2 years old respectively) and did just fine. Now she is over 2 so we have to buy her a seat. We only took the convertible seat on one flight. It was such a PITA, I'll never do it again. Trying not to smack everyone already sitting on the plane in the head with it, installing it, DD didn't want to sit in it and sure as hell didn't want to be buckled in it, we couldn't use the tray table with it, it was impossible for her not to kick the seat in front of her, it didn't work for us at all. DD does fine in a lap belt, but I bought the CARES harness for peace of mind and extra protection. We have a seat we use just for travelling and we check it in a padded carseat bag. We started out gate checking it, but DH (the one who carries it) put his foot down and refuses to haul yet another through the airport. I am ok with the small risk of it being damaged. It is a cheap seat, so it is easily replaceable.
I'm not sure what we'll do with the lap baby when we have another one. At this point I'm more inclined to buy a seat for a tiny, tiny baby (8 months or younger) who would be at the most risk of being injured. My kids don't really stay strapped in their seats during the flight, so sudden turbuelence may still injure them. I am more worried about a crash landing. I figure I can cram two kids into one seatbelt if I was faced with that situation. Yes I know that is against regulations and the FA's wouldn't allow it, but at some point they strap themselves in as well and can't see what everyone is doing.
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#25 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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the floor thing is not true, It was a procedure practiced by some airlines a long time ago, now you are just asked to hold your baby in arms.
That was our experience the last time I flew w/ lap kids. (It's been a few years.) I also couldn't hold dd (who was 8 mos at the time) in a sling. Any idea why that would be the case?

We'll be going to see my parents (out of state) in the next couple of months. I will have ds2's RF Graco Safeseat (good to 30 lbs and some inches - will have to check that) but we're leaving it w/ my sil so I won't have it on our return flight. I expect I'll gate check it because I'm not really keen on regular baggage for that.

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#26 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 01:35 PM
 
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the floor thing is not true, It was a procedure practiced by some airlines a long time ago, now you are just asked to hold your baby in arms.

Btw that case in 1989 was the only one I have seen referenced were a lap child died, so one child in 20 years doesn't seem like enough to guarantee, 800$ more for an extra seat.

Yeah, you don't have to put your baby under the seat
Alll flights I have been on tell you to do like on this card
http://safety.mania.ru/img/easyjet_b737-300a_1.jpg
That's a UK airline but US ones are exactly the same just minus the baby belt.
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#27 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 02:10 PM
 
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I was fairly dubious about the advice regarding putting my child on the floor, and it was relayed to me about a year ago, so some airlines either still recommend it, or the flight attendant I was subject to was seriously uninformed.

FTR - I dont think anything would compel me to place my child on the floor in any event. Not that there would be time for that sort of action when you do hit severe turbulence. Instinctually, my first thought would NOT be "OH! Quick! Lets stuff you under the seat!"

Its ridiculous. But unfortunately, obviously still being recommended on some flights/by some attendants.
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#28 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 02:18 PM
 
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That was our experience the last time I flew w/ lap kids. (It's been a few years.) I also couldn't hold dd (who was 8 mos at the time) in a sling. Any idea why that would be the case?

We'll be going to see my parents (out of state) in the next couple of months. I will have ds2's RF Graco Safeseat (good to 30 lbs and some inches - will have to check that) but we're leaving it w/ my sil so I won't have it on our return flight. I expect I'll gate check it because I'm not really keen on regular baggage for that.

According to a friend who was a flight attendant, you are not allowed to wear a sling or anything because if the plane crashed, and you were dead/injured/trapped under metal they wouldn't be able to get your baby out. She did not AGREE with this logic, but that's what she was taught.

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#29 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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According to a friend who was a flight attendant, you are not allowed to wear a sling or anything because if the plane crashed, and you were dead/injured/trapped under metal they wouldn't be able to get your baby out. She did not AGREE with this logic, but that's what she was taught.
Hm. Interesting. Thanks for that info. I've wondered for, well, July will be 7 years.

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#30 of 102 Old 02-28-2009, 09:35 PM
 
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Interesting thread. When I flew a few weeks ago I kept ds in the Moby style wrap during all 4 take offs & 2 of the landings. I had him in basically the position they want you to hold him in & he slept right through. The fa's even gave me the whole baby dpeal but never said anything about taking him out of the wrap. That was with Air Canada - so maybe different airlines have different rules regarding it.

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