Carseat on Airplane?

Updated on June 27, 2009
K.C. asks from Surprise, AZ
17 answers

I will be taking my 2yo on a flight across country with one layover, by myself. My question is, should I bring his carseat on board, or check it? I have access to the CARES flight restraint system, and can use that, though I have not tried it before. Do you have any advice, suggestions, or advice?

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K.L.

answers from Phoenix on

I always buy a seat for my children and put them in their car seats. I wouldn't just stick them in a car without their proper restraints, so I feel it is necessary for them to have their car seat on the plane. I know a lot of people don't want to pay the extra money for a seat for their baby. I understand that. Personally, I like my kids to be restrained in their car seats.

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J.A.

answers from Phoenix on

K.,
car seat for sure!!!! i fly all the time with my kids 3 years and 6 months. one in the car seat (older one) and one on my lap :) i know, crazy right! but it's so much easier to fly with a two year old in a car seat! just bring things to entertain him and it will be great! i have the gogo child car seat attachment too and i love it! good luck flying!
J.

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M.H.

answers from Phoenix on

I took my daughter from AZ to NC when she was about(+-)15 months old. I put her carseat through the checked luggage and pushed her on the (little umbrella)stroller through the terminal. The pilots/flight attendants are VERY helpful with children esp. if you're alone. They folded up the stroller for me once we got up to the plane and lead us to our seats. I kept her on my lap most of the time as I had her as a "lap passenger". We also had one lay over and on our last leg of the flight there, we got on a smaller plane, our row (3 seats) happened to be vacant, so the stewardess made it a point to let me know and brought me a pillow(Autumn had only brought her Dora blanket,not the matching pillow lol) and helped us get situated so that my daughter could lay down.
...ANYWAYS! Lol I found it easier in my own opinion to just deal with the carseat at the very end. I think it was more comfortable for my daughter and less "scary" with her being able to sit on me or lay down when she wanted to and was able to do so.
Either way, good luck on your trip and fly safe!!

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S.D.

answers from Phoenix on

I guess it all depends on whether or not you feel like lugging the car seat through the airport during your layover. If you decide to bring it, you should get some metal luggage wheels, that way you can easily maneuver it around the airport. I've heard about the CARES system andwould love to try it out myself, but it seems kind of expensive. If you have access to one, I say go ahead and try it.

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M.P.

answers from Phoenix on

We used the carseat (have a britax) in our flying with our baby and were glad we took it. Believe me, that is a bulky carseat but our daughter knew she was IN IT for the flight. Whatever you use, make sure she's restrained for the flight.

I was in a minor car accident once. Someone hit me while I was sitting at a red light - and they were going about 35 mph. Everything in my car went flying. There is no way I could have held on to a baby in that accident. I think of that every time I consider whether or not a restraint is essential.

M.

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S.C.

answers from Phoenix on

I've flown many times with my young kids and it's TOTALLY worth dragging along the car seats. It's familiar and comfortable for the kids, so the chances of them actually dozing off during the flight (hooray!) are greatly increased. Just haul it onto the plane with you and strap it in like you would a car.

My only concern about the CARE system is that it will be so new and foreign that your son will want to mess with it and fuss the entire flight. My kids would, anyway.

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S.D.

answers from Phoenix on

I wouldn't trust checking it. They’re not going to treat that any differently that they treat your luggage and with the way they throw that, I'd be worried they'd compromise the safety of my car seat.

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A.G.

answers from Phoenix on

As others have said, life is so much easier with my 13 month old in his seat on a plane, I can only imagine that's true of a 2yo as well. They sell two things that might help you not have to "lug" the seat through the airport. One is the GoGo Babyz Travelmate, which puts wheels on your carseat and you pull it like a carryon. The kid can ride in it through the airport. It costs about $80 though. If you're already taking a carryon, you can buy a strap that straps your carseat to the luggage, and then the kid rides in that. That's only about $20, but it doesn't work with some carseats.

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N.S.

answers from Tucson on

The least amount of stuff is advisable! My husband and I took a trip 2 years ago with our 13 month old. Arizona to Pennsylvania. Even with 2 of us it was way hard. So if you can, just have the seat sent to Arizona (whether checking it at the front so it goes underneath the plane) or send it UPS or something. Just don't check it at the gate because then you'll still have to carry it for the layover and you don't want to lug around a huge car seat AND a 2 year old! But buy a cheap stroller (if you don't have one) and do check that at the gate. Then you have an easy way to tote around a 2 year old within the airport.
Good luck!

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L.B.

answers from Phoenix on

If you have a seat on the plane purchased for him, I'd definitely use the car seat. It's the seat he is used to sitting in in the car, so he will be comfortable in it on the plane. I've taken 2 trips with my 10 mo old on a plane. Once with the seat (there were extra seats available, and once without. It was much easier to have the seat on the plane (pain to carry but worth it). Just make sure you have more than enough to keep him entertained and snacks.

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K.L.

answers from Phoenix on

We take our 2 boys on many flights each year and always took their carseats until about age 3 to keep them in their own seat and off our laps for most of the flight. They are used to 3 hour car rides in their carseats, so they didn't put up much fuss being restrained for some of the time. When not in their carseats, they are in constant motion which can get old really fast. Wear capris or pants, so that when he is moving around on your lap, it won't twist your skin like when in shorts. Take a sippy cup, snacks, little toys, DVD player and you'll be set! I don't know about the CARES system.

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K.B.

answers from Yuma on

We are flying across the country in two weeks and my toddler has never been in an airplane. She is not a cuddler either. So we chose her carseat. She knows that she has to stay in it and doesn't really mind sitting in it. It is going to be such a pain to lug it everywhere but I am convinced it will be a sanity saver for everyone on the plane. Whatever you choose, call your airline for their policies. Plus you need to make sure that your carseat is FAA approved! Good Luck.

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M.K.

answers from Phoenix on

My family traveled quite a bit while my daughters were younger and we never used a carseat on the airplane. We didn't want to carry one through the airport, it's hard enough going through security and getting to the gate without a 10 lb awkward car seat plauging your every move. We also felt like we had more room without it.

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A.J.

answers from Tucson on

We travel a lot and have the CARES and I have to admit its nice untill my little guy figured out how to undo the buckle and then it became a game the whole flight! I still prefer to fly with the carseats even though it can be a pain to carry them. We have the GoGo Kidz wheels for the carseat which makes it easier on me!
I see you are relocation to AZ from denver! We moved from Colorado Springs to Tucson almost a year ago its a shock for sure! Good luck!

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D.S.

answers from Tucson on

I would recommend putting him in the carseat. Yes, it's a pain to carry, but it's something familiar to him and with my kids they usually fell asleep on the plane in their seats. Plus I didn't have to worry about spilling anything on the seat. We had a long flight delay on a layover and I was able to put him in the seat in the terminal when he got tired instead of having to hold him. Good Luck!! Be sure to have lots of snacks and things to entertain him.

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S.B.

answers from Phoenix on

We just traveled with our 2-yr old last month and used the CARES restraint and it was WONDERFUL. I'm pregnant, so there was no way I was going to lug a heavy carseat through security and all over the airport. I will always use the CARES restraint, it saved a lot of stress for me.

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J.M.

answers from Phoenix on

I'm taking a trip to PA next week with my two boys, 4.5 & 2.5. I am going alone and am 7 1/2 mo pregnant. My 2.5 is pretty wild and I know if he is only in the the airplane seat, it will be a miserable flight. Not to mention, it's not as safe or comfortable. I don't know what the CARES system is, but I plan on taking his carseat. I am going to use one of those metal luggage wheel systems to pull it through the airport. Then I can also double it as a stroller (as long as I feel I can secure it tightly). Then on the plane, he knows when he's in his car seat, he's stuck there just like a car. This will also be much more comfortable for a nap. His seat is the Sunshine Kids Radian (made of steal) and weighs almost 20 lbs, but I'm going to deal with it. I also don't trust checking car seats. The airplane workers don't care if they throw it around or drop it. How would that be different than getting into a slow/low impact accident? My 4.5 uses the same seat and I'm trying to decide if I want to try to carry his as well onto the plane or borrow a booster seat from a relative at destination. Bottom line, you are traveling with one child, you CAN do it if you want to. The gate person and attendees will assist you if you need help.

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