cheap and LIGHT car seat/booster for taxi and plane - Mothering Forums
Family Safety > cheap and LIGHT car seat/booster for taxi and plane
rparker's Avatar rparker 01:24 PM 12-22-2011

My daughter is four years old and roughly 35 lb. We are flying to Disney World in January. I would like to buy either a car seat or booster to be used on the plane and in the short taxi ride to/from the airports.

 

Any suggestions for something that is inexpensive and light/easy to carry? 

 

She uses a Britax Frontier 85 at home and I do NOT want to take this. My husband has been traumatized by carrying (heavy) Britax car seats through airports in the past and would rather that we didn't take ANYTHING for her, but the taxi ride makes me nervous. Some of her friends use booster seats that work with the car's seat belt, but all of the ones I've found online say 40 lb.+ ... Would something like that be better than nothing for such limited use or do we need a full convertible car seat? We're already taking our other Britax car seat for our one year old, so it would be great if there was a smaller option. (The last time I flew with her I was pregnant and used the lap belt on the plane and rented a car seat at the airport.) 

 

Thanks in advance for any suggestions. 

 

EDIT TO ADD: Thoughts on using this booster seat for a four year old? http://www.amazon.com/BubbleBum-Inflatable-Booster-Car-Seat/dp/B003GQ0LQ8/ref=pd_sim_ba_4



Maedze's Avatar Maedze 03:42 PM 12-22-2011

I was going to suggest the Ride Safer Travel Vest.   We used the Bubble Bum for the 5 and 6 year olds and the RSTV for the 4 year old for taxis at Disney and it worked out perfectly.

(ETA:  I know this is water under the bridge, but for a myriad of reasons you don't want to use a rented seat.) 

 

The BubbleBum has a 40 lb minimum so unfortunately, while it is a great product it wouldn't be appropriate for your child.     Alternatively, if you want to go the backless booster route, the Harmony Juvenile is 13.50  and rated from 30 or 33 lbs up, and fits small kids well.  Normally I'd not suggest a backless booster for a child of this age and size but I think it's a good solution for this particular sort of dilemma. 


rparker's Avatar rparker 08:00 PM 12-22-2011

double post


rparker's Avatar rparker 08:07 PM 12-22-2011

After I posted I saw the 40 lb. limit on the Bubblebum's website (for some reason the Amazon listing I was looking at said 33 lb.). I've thought about it more and I don't think that I can do a backless booster... I'll worry too much if she isn't in a 5 point harness. 

 

The Ride Safer Travel Vest looks like it might be good, but I'd rather put her in the center of the backseat (between an adult and her sister's car seat) if she isn't going to be in a seat with side-impact protection and it looks like I'd have to count on the taxi having a tether hookup for that to work? 

 

ETA: I'm dumb. I just realized that either a regular booster or a fwd facing car seat would also need a tether anchor if being installed with a lap belt. Maybe I'll just call cab companies ahead of time and only use one that has LATCH and tether anchors. 

 

I think that we're just going to have to deal with taking two seats on the plane, although I still want to try to buy something a little lighter than the Frontier 85 and that has a narrower footprint. The Harmony Juvenile WOULD fit our requirements as well though and would take up less space on the plane. (DD1 is going to be sitting next to DH who is overweight and I worry about the stranger sharing the row with them getting squished.) 

 

 

 

Quote:

(ETA:  I know this is water under the bridge, but for a myriad of reasons you don't want to use a rented seat.) 

 

 

At the time it seemed like a better option than checking her car seat with the luggage. We were traveling without my husband and there was no way I was going to be able to manage both the car seat and the two year old. I wasn't thrilled about not having her strapped in on the plane. We actually ended up getting into a car accident on the way back to the airport. There was enough of an impact that the airbags deployed and the rental car was non-drivable. I returned JUST the car seat to the car rental counter (it went to the hospital with us) and explained that it had been in an accident... and I totally got the impression that they were going to use it again :(  Hindsight is 20/20. 


Maedze's Avatar Maedze 08:42 AM 12-23-2011

Yup....that right there is a perfect example of the problem.  Rented seats tend to be: expired/broken/have unknown fluids from various orifices leaked into them/recalled/missing parts/be inappropriate for the age or size of the child, etc.   Or, crashed!

 

 

Tether anchors should ALWAYS be used with any forward facing harness car seat, regardless of whether it's installed with a lap belt, lower anchors, or a lap-shoulder belt.   

 

While it's best to use the top tether anchor with the RSTV, it's only mandatory if there's a lap-belt only seating position.  The RSTV can be used independently with a lap-shoulder belt if a top tether anchor is not available. 


The vest tests much like a five point harness, not like a booster.  I would be comfortable using it in an outboard seating position.  However, keep in mind that adults should only sit in seating positions that have a lap shoulder belt and adjustable rear head rest (to at least the tops of the ears).  Your safety is important, too :-) 


MariesMama's Avatar MariesMama 03:37 PM 12-23-2011

Isn't there a shuttle or train that goes directly from the Orlando airport to Disney?  I don't think you would need any child restraints for it. 


Maedze's Avatar Maedze 08:00 PM 12-23-2011


If you stay on Disney property you can ride their "Magical Express" (a full-sized passenger bus) from the airport, but they may be staying at an alternate site.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MariesMama View Post

Isn't there a shuttle or train that goes directly from the Orlando airport to Disney?  I don't think you would need any child restraints for it. 



 

 


rparker's Avatar rparker 09:26 PM 12-23-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by MariesMama View Post

Isn't there a shuttle or train that goes directly from the Orlando airport to Disney?  I don't think you would need any child restraints for it. 


We're staying offsite in Downtown Disney so our only options are rental car, taxi/car service, private shuttle (vans), and mass transit (which we have way too much luggage/baby gear for). Technically we don't have to use a CRS for either kid in the taxi either since they're exempt in most states, but I'm too neurotic to go that route. 


Maedze's Avatar Maedze 02:41 AM 12-24-2011


Glad to hear you are too neurotic thumb.giforngbiggrin.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by rparker View Post


We're staying offsite in Downtown Disney so our only options are rental car, taxi/car service, private shuttle (vans), and mass transit (which we have way too much luggage/baby gear for). Technically we don't have to use a CRS for either kid in the taxi either since they're exempt in most states, but I'm too neurotic to go that route. 



 


rparker's Avatar rparker 08:42 AM 12-24-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post


Glad to hear you are too neurotic thumb.giforngbiggrin.gif


 

I'm a little bit TOO neurotic, but I think that you might have convinced me to use the Ride Safer Travel vest :) Although I'm still considering taking something narrower like a Radian or the Evenflo Maestro on the plane... I can't decide if they'd be THAT much safer than the RSTV though for a 4 y/o and there's a good chance that we'd have to gate check the CRS if it didn't fit next to my DH (which would be less safe overall).


Maedze's Avatar Maedze 08:55 AM 12-24-2011

From one neurotic parent to another....I wouldn't have used or recommended the RSTV if it wasn't a fabulous, very safe option.  Happy holidays!


Altair's Avatar Altair 01:37 PM 12-27-2011

When age/weight can you start using the ride safe vest?  I was planning on bring my cosco scenera backup seat for my next trip (my son will be almost 3 and FFing it, he is 35 lbs so he outgrew it RFing).

 

We will be taking a cab to the airport, installing in the plane, then a cab or van, then a rental car in Mexico.  I've only ever used it RFing traveling so didn't have to worry about top tethers.  When traveling in foreign countries with old cars (and honestly, I've had the issue here too with cabs to the airport) what do you do if there's no top tether anchor?  


Maedze's Avatar Maedze 02:56 PM 12-27-2011

The vest has a minimum age of three.   

 

The thing about the Cosco Scenera, is while I would never *recommend* this, you *can* install it with a lap belt only, no top tether.  But if you have an RSTV, and lap belts only (a possibility if you aren't in the US/Canada), you're SOL without a top tether anchor.  So in your shoes, I'd stick with the the Scenera, just in case. 


Altair's Avatar Altair 04:14 PM 12-27-2011

Ahhh, good to know!  If we were in that situation-- no top tether in Mexico, would we use the lap belt with the coking clip if it wasn't holding it's tightness well or if there were no lap/shoulder with a self locking click-- or could we use the lap/shoulder if it clicked?  (Our experience in Mexico last time was that none of the cars we got had that, and we did the lap belt with locking clip RFing last time.)


Maedze's Avatar Maedze 06:55 PM 12-27-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Altair View Post

Ahhh, good to know!  If we were in that situation-- no top tether in Mexico, would we use the lap belt with the coking clip if it wasn't holding it's tightness well or if there were no lap/shoulder with a self locking click-- or could we use the lap/shoulder if it clicked?  (Our experience in Mexico last time was that none of the cars we got had that, and we did the lap belt with locking clip RFing last time.)



You never use a lap belt with a locking clip.  Locking clips are merely pre-crash positioning devices and cannot hold a belt in a crash.  If you are relying on the clip, it will break, and the car seat will fly the entire length of the fully extended lap belt.   

 

If a lap belt seems to be 'slippy' try turning the male end one half turn before plugging it in, or use the lap shoulder belt, with internal locking mechanism or with a locking clip.


Altair's Avatar Altair 07:01 PM 12-27-2011

Sorry, pregnancy brain fart!  I do know that, that's how we have it in my in-laws car.  shoulder/lap belt with no locking clicks used with the locking clip and the top tether.  

 

So what I should have said:  I can use the scenera with the lap/shoulder belt and locking clip (if no self locking) or with the lap belt if tight if I don't have the option of a top tether in mexico?

 

Thanks for your patience.  :-)  


Maedze's Avatar Maedze 07:06 AM 12-28-2011

Your questions are not patience-trying at all :-)      And yes, you have it exactly right.  


rparker's Avatar rparker 09:27 PM 12-30-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post

From one neurotic parent to another....I wouldn't have used or recommended the RSTV if it wasn't a fabulous, very safe option.  Happy holidays!



You totally sold me :) I ordered the RSTV and it arrived today. 


Amanda Leigh's Avatar Amanda Leigh 09:06 PM 01-02-2012

I don't have any great ideas for you, but you may want to think twice about checking a car seat. My sister sent me this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzmJr1a-BHU&feature=youtu.be She replaced her DS seat after seeing this (it had been on two trips, so 4 flights). Good Luck!


SeattleRain's Avatar SeattleRain 11:16 AM 01-03-2012

I know the OP has already bought the RSTV, which is a great option for FF travellers, but I wanted to throw another option out there which is to use a luggage cart or the GoGoKidz car seat cart to haul the seat around the airport. You can stick the kid in the seat and roll them around like that or just load it up with stuff and pull it. If you're hauling along a RF seat, this is a really good way to go, even if it's something like the Scenera.


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