Take the 2-minute tour ×
Parenting Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for parents, grandparents, nannies and others with a parenting role. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Our daughter just turned two, and we have a few flights coming up. She has flown many times in our laps, and this will be the first time she has her own seat. She is usually comfortable in her car seat in the car, but I'm concerned about whether there will be enough space for the car seat and if it will feel different enough to her on a plane that it causes frustration.

Obviously if the plane goes down we're all hosed, but are the risks from turbulence enough that we should definitely use the seat on the plane?

share|improve this question
    
There's the safety issue that there's small chance of turbulence and the standard seat belt not sufficing. There's also the reality that kids HATE being stuck in an airplane seat. (well, so do we adults). Maybe we're really bad parents, but we've often opted to let the kid have a bit of freedom on the plane vs. annoying 100 other people with 3 hours of tantrums. –  DA01 Dec 21 '11 at 20:34
1  
Thought I'd add a final comment: we used the car seat, which she slept in for most of two flights just as she does in the car, while on the other flights she hung out in our laps and reluctantly buckled in for just takeoff and landing. Thanks! –  Nate Cook Feb 15 '12 at 21:54

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Your choices depend somewhat on the size of your child.

A child needs to be at least 40lbs. in order to safely use the seat belt provided on airplaine if it is snuggly buckled over the hips.

If your child is over 20 lbs., and within the safety limits of your seat, she can sit facing forward in the convertible seat. However, depending on the seat's weight limits, your child can sit rear-facing up until she is 30-35 lbs.. Rear facing is the safest option, so you should consider that carefully if it is an option for you.

There is an alternative to bringing a car seat if your child is too small to use the seat belt provided by the air plane, however.

The FAA has approved a device known as the CARES harness. This device is approved for children weighing between 22 and 44 pounds. I haven't tried one, or seen one used, but it certainly seems easier than lugging a car seat onto the plane (many airlines will apparently check children's car seats through baggage free of charge, although with the recent move to charge for most checked luggage, you should check with your airline prior to leaving for the airport).

share|improve this answer
    
I hadn't seen the CARES harness before - to late to get one now, but it looks great. Thanks! –  Nate Cook Dec 24 '11 at 8:24
1  
We used the CARES harness with our son when he was two, and it worked GREAT! Just make sure you board early to give yourself time to correctly install the harness and get yourself settled. Make sure that you tell the flight attendants that the harness is FAA approved as many of them have not seen one either and it is strictly forbidden to use anything that is not FAA approved. Our son thought he was such a big boy sitting in the big seat and he did great. –  Meg Coates Feb 28 '12 at 13:40

Defiantly use the car seat on the plane!!! The buckle on the chair will NOT contain a two year old and therefore the temptation to get up will be to much for her! The airline will require that you put the car seat next to the window so that it will not block escape routes.In terms of the car seat fitting, you do need to go out and research which one is the least wide and use that one. I don't remember which one we got, but it is not the one we are comfortable using on a daily basis as it is difficult to adjust the buckles, however we do use it on vacation so as not to have to bring another car seat with us.

share|improve this answer

One thing to keep in mind is that airplane buckles are much easier to unbuckle than those in cars. This means it will come off when you don't want it to if your child isn't trained not to, and can even come off by accident when she is uncomfortable and squirming. If your main concern is lugging a car seat around the airport, I highly recommend getting a car seat travel bag. They have wheels and backpack-style straps that make it easier to manage.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.