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Toddler Air Travel - Bring Car Seat?

Hi, we are traveling over Thanksgiving to Florida and we have had to buy, for the first time, our son his own seat. He is 25 months old. I understand it is safer to put him into his car seat in the airplane seat, but, it seems like it will be a big pain in the patootie to lug that thing on board the plane. We have a Britax Diplomat -- I don't even know if it will fit in the airplane seat. Anybody have any experience with this kind of thing? Thank you in advance!

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I have two children. A 3 year old boy and a 1 yr old daughter. I have traveled with them on planes since my son was 5 1/2 weeks old. I have never used a car seat on the plane. I have seen other parents do it and it seemed like a huge pain. The seats are small enough to then put a big carseat on top of it would be horrible. the only advantage to the carseat would be the child not being able to get out of the seat. My son could undo the buckle before he was 2 years old.

He is already used to her car seat, that is the best thing you can do to help her be comfortable. There are a couple of options. I strapped my Britax Diplomat to a luggage carrier with wheels to cart around the airport, that helped. Someone (I don't recall who) makes a car seat with wheels and a travel handel kind of thing. If for any reason you get stuck in an airport, you will want a comfortable place for him to 'settle in'
Good luck

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When I read your question, I immediately thought of this...

http://www.leapsandbounds.com/catalog/product.jsp?product...

If you do decide to take your carseat, I'd definitely get one of these. It's not cheap, but I think it's worth it.

1 mom found this helpful

We brought out carseat when we flew to florida on a small plane with our britax, although it was big, I think it made her feel extra safe, so I reccomend it, also your toddler since they brought a seat gets a carry on not including the car seat so you can bring a stroller on board this makes lugging the car seat off easier since you can put the toddler right in the stroller and then off you go, it was a slight inconvience but you can always ask them to stowe it away if you child doesn't want to sit in it, and then you can use your carseat instead of renting one if you rent a car, hope that helps
J.

I have used CARES, which was already mentioned (I fly with my son every month now). http://www.kidsflysafe.com My son is 18 months and was a bit squirmy in it the first time, but it was great safety-wise for take-off and landing. I have to imagine a 25-month old would be even better in it (bigger kid can sit in the big seat better). I've also used a wheeler borrowed from a friend, which worked well. But if you're worried about lugging a big seat and don't need it when you arrive in Florida, check out the CARES harness; it will resolve the safety concerns.

I would not bring a car seat - they take up too much room and even for a short flight your little guy will want to be moving around some and not having a car seat taking up the seat will give him some extra space! I flew w/ my son when he was about 16 months old and just held him and everything went really well - good luck!

I have two children. A 3 year old boy and a 1 yr old daughter. I have traveled with them on planes since my son was 5 1/2 weeks old. I have never used a car seat on the plane. I have seen other parents do it and it seemed like a huge pain. The seats are small enough to then put a big carseat on top of it would be horrible. the only advantage to the carseat would be the child not being able to get out of the seat. My son could undo the buckle before he was 2 years old.

I would highly recommend taking a car seat. We flew to Florida when my (very active) son was 13 months old and he was a squirmy worm. He didn't want to sit still and wanted to run around the plane. Last month when my son was 18 months old we traveled to California (with a layover both ways) and took our car seat. It was big, a pain to carry through the airport, and a bit of a pain to strap into the seat, BUT well worth ALL of the pain and effort!! He understood that once he was in the car seat he had to stay put. He loves his car seat and was also able to fall asleep for part of each flight. It made the experience much better. I would never travel without the car seat again until he gets much older. BTW, on each flight we were told that the car seat had to go next to the window.

We also brought our portable DVD player for him to watch, and that was also a huge life saver! Good luck.

My opinion is opposite of almost everyone else. I travel by myself almost every month with my two daughters and have NEVER taken a car seat. BUT on the flip side they have both been traveling since they were 6 weeks old. My oldest is 4 and my youngest is 2. It is stressful enough getting through security with all the bags, drinks, liquids, taking off and putting on everyones shoes, etc...that in my opinion it is just another thing to drag around. My 2 year old is very small and the seatbelt tightens up enough to keep her still and she love it because she thinks she is such a big girl. Just remember only you know your little boy and how you think he would be more comfortable. Also from experience and nothing to do with the car seat question. Dress in light clothing because after all the stress I seem to get really hot. Also with a little one you can bring juice just have it out and ready for security to check it and lots of snacks. Also my portable DVD players works like a charm. Good luck on your travels and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Totally recommend bringing the car seat for the plane. We've taken my son to Florida twice now and even though its a pain, I think the seat makes a huge difference. He's comfortable in his car seat and I think its easier for him to fall asleep. What we did is to basically tether the car seat to the back of one of our rolling suitcases. It wasn't too bad. I plan to do the same thing when we go to Florida again in February. This way, you don't have to worry about him getting up and down, he's strapped in. Just keep handing him toys or bring a portable dvd player. Also we took a Britax Marathon with us. I don't know how it compares in size to the Diplomat, but we didn't have a problem getting it in the plane seat.

Yes they are a pain to carry through the airport, and yes they are a pain to get in and out of the seat, but I know my child would never have believed that he needed to stay in that seat without being buckled into his carseat and it would have been a constant battle that no amount of distraction toys would have aleviated. You know your child and if you think there will be no issues with keeping him in the seat maybe you can skip it. For me, having an faa approved carseat for him was a sanity-saver. Good luck and enjoy your adventure. ;)

We took our car seat and it was 100% worth the hassle. If your toddler is not likely to stay sitting, the airplane seat belt is not going to keep him in. The tray afforded my daughter plenty of room for her toys plus, we brought a portable DVD player to keep her busy. She doesn't like headphones but we sat over the wing so it didn't bother anyone else.

We had the same issue when traveling with our two little ones. We ended up getting the Traveling Toddler Car Seat Travel Accessory from amazon.com. It's a t-strap that hooks your car seat to your rolling carry on luggage using the car seat's latch system.

We would actually roll our kids through the airport in their car seats while attached to our luggage. The looks you get are priceless too. I was happy to keep our car seat and the best part about it was that it was only $15.

If you do go this route just make sure to figure out how your latch straps work before you travel. Adjusting the latch straps so they are tight around the luggage is key.

Good luck and have a safe trip!

I found a slightly used sit n stroll on craigs list which we used for a flight from BWI to Charlotte. I thought it was great and my son found it very comfortable.We used it as a car seat on theplan and in the car and then a stroller when we were visiting Charlotte. They are very expensive new so if you don't travel alot the investment is not worth it. I paid $90 for the one on craigs list since the car rental company wanted to charge $15 a day to rent a car seat.

Regardless of what you choose to do, if you bring a car seat on the airline make sure it meets the FAA standards, they did check the stickers on the seat when we got on the plane.

We are also traveling next week with our 16 mon. old. We also have a Britax Boulevard... Huge! We are not taking ours, we are borrowing one when we get there. She is old enough to sit on our lap but when she is old enough for her own seat I could not see lugging it through the airport. I would have to buy the "wheels" that connect to make it like a stroller $89. Still, I do not believe it would be worth the hassle to get it on/off the plane, into the seat, ect. You know how heavy they are and with all the regulations and cost with luggage now I imagine you will have a few carry-ons as well. I think you would do better with a CARES for the airplane and borrowing a car seat when you get there. If you are renting a car you can always rent a car seat. If neither of those are an option I would consider buying a cheap one (Costco brand has a car seat for $20 at walmart) you could send it ahead or have someone there buy it for you. Much cheaper than the alternatives and you can leave it for the next time you visit. So basically you have to compare the hassle of taking your own vs. the added cost in purchasing a CARES and a car seat (unless you can borrow.) Mom sister is meeting us at the airport with the car seat.

I agree with buy an light weight inexpensive one. You will also need it when you get to florida unless you are not driving anywhere. We took our one year one and then two year old and we have always taken it with us and I'm gald we did.

Hi
I've been down that road many times. We lived overseas for almost two years in Asia so I know car seats and airplanes well. I suggest buying a cheaper smaller (aka narrow) car seat for traveling. We did and now that is the seat my son is in as he is 4 and 45 pounds. The up side of the seat is (1) easier to keep them seated and settled (2) safer (3)gives them their own space/parameters--flying may be exciting or scary so again, this helps give them a comfort zone. It is a pain but either buy a backpack for it or a big tote bag--check walmart's camping supplies which is what we did after our backpack wore out. We too have Britax normally so I understand and yes, that is a tough one to travel with. Also, if your luggage is delayed, you still have the safety and cleanliness of your car seat. I once had to use a car seat of an airlines and it was NASTY but I had no choice because our luggage was delayed and I couldn't put my child in the car without one. Good luck.

Why take any chances? Bring the seat. I travelled with my 2 and 5-year old (alone, I might add) and I got the 2-year old his own seat and brought my Britax Roundabout (FAA approved) along. It was heavy but well worth the reassurance it gave me about flying safely with my kids. Go on Britax's website to see if the Diplomat is FAA approved (or call them). I also found this article to be interesting.
http://www.travelwithyourkids.com/on-the-plane/should-you...

I travel a lot with my 3 yo and the airlines will not let you use the carseat in the plane. However, we bring her booster seat since the car rentals can charge up to $75.00 for one with the car rental. You can check your carseat and stroller at the gate.

Hi L., We flew to Fla when my first two girls were 2 & 4 and yes we did take a car seat for the 2 yr old (in those days once your child was 4 & 40 lbs they were done with car seats.) Sure it was a bit of a pain, but she was more comfortable in her car seat in the plane and then we had no worries with the rental car! The biggest pain was the "diaper bag from hell" that I packed with clothes, toys, munchies, coloring stuff etc. I sware it weighed a ton!! LOL. Take your carseat, it is safest according to my paramedic/nurse brother and in the long run it does make things easier! Have a great trip!

Last time I flew with my son he was 18mos old and I got him his own seat. I used the car seat for the trip there but not the trip back home. It worked out much better NOT having the seat. My son is very busy and behaved so much better being able to be a big boy in his own seat and we had more room for hs toys etc... He is now 26 mos old and we will be flying again next week and I will be checking the car seat for sure. It is a HUGE pain to lug it around especially if you have a layover. His seat is pretty big and I could fit it in the seat but had to put the arm rests down. Hope that helps!

PA to FL is a pretty short hop. Does a 25 month old HAVE to be in a car seat on a plane? If not, I'll bet you can keep him occupied and in his seat with a seatbelt for two hours. Personally I would get a CARES http://www.kidsflysafe.com and rent a car seat in FL from your rental car place, if you don't have someone picking you up that already has one. Have fun!

He is already used to her car seat, that is the best thing you can do to help her be comfortable. There are a couple of options. I strapped my Britax Diplomat to a luggage carrier with wheels to cart around the airport, that helped. Someone (I don't recall who) makes a car seat with wheels and a travel handel kind of thing. If for any reason you get stuck in an airport, you will want a comfortable place for him to 'settle in'
Good luck

We lugged that car seat with us on planes for as long as we could. I would not have traveled without one. It is a pain, but so are a lot of things about child rearing! My kids are a little older now, so the Britax Diplomat was not out then, so I can't address that. No doubt you can do the research by seeing how wide the plane's seats are and how wide the Britax is...call the airline and/or the manufacturer if you can't find the info online. We've done that in the past re this issue. (We also paid for our children to have seats...they were half price...as sitting on a lap offers no protection in an emergency.) The car seat on the plane also offers a comfortable, familiar place for your child; for our children, it was what they were used to, and they did not fidget and always traveled easily. Then at your destination, from the moment you get into a cab or a family member's car or a rental vehicle, you have your own car seat and don't have to bother with renting an inferior car seat.

Have a great trip! Enjoy FL!

Keep in mind that your child is used to being in a carseat in the car. Just being strapped in a regular seat belt on a plane is different & they can easily get out making for a very long flight. As a flight attendant I see the problems that parents have keeping their children in the seatbelt when they don't have a carseat. I would definitely either take a carseat or the cares system so that your child is safely secured. I traveled once without a carseat because my parents had one for us when we got there & I never traveled without it again because she wouldn't stay in the seat & it was a battle for the whole 2 1/2 hour flight. In my opinion dragging the carseat through the airport was worth the trouble compared to fighting to keep my little Houdini in her seat.

I flew to Fl with my then 9 month old and I ended up standing in the back of the plane with her almost the entire time. I think if I would've brought the car seat, she might've slept. We didn't want to pay for the extra ticket though. We survived... but anything longer than 2 hours or so, I'd recommend bringing the car seat.

~C.
http://priority1mail.blogspot.com

Airlines don't count a car seat as a piece of luggage. So you can check it for free when you check your other luggage and collect it at baggage claim.

We bought a car seat carrying case that allows us to roll our car seat into the terminal: http://www.jlchildress.com/products/wheelie.html

I also vote for CARES http://www.kidsflysafe.com I'm going to get one for our next flight.

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