Does a 6 Year Old Need a Booster Seat on a Plane?

Updated on March 27, 2012
M.C. asks from Ann Arbor, MI
15 answers

My 6 year old son is 4'feet tall and weighs 63 lbs. I don't travel much, so I'm sure if he would need any type of child restraint. Would the airline provide a restraint if he needed one? Or would we need to bring his booster seat? Also, would he need to bring his birth certificate for check in? He's travelling from MI to FL.

Thank you.

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answers from Santa Barbara on

He does not need a booster and no, the airlines would not provide one. He does not need his birth certificate although I usually had an extra copy if the airlines got weird. The only strange thing I have encountered was when I traveled internationally when my daughter was a minor and I needed "permission" from her dad.

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answers from Lakeland on

I have been flying with my daughter since she was about one and we have never used a car seat or booster on the plane, she is 5 now. I was told that the only car seats they allow have to be FAA approved and those are the infant seats. You will probably need it at your destination, but here in Florida kids don't need a booster after 4 years old.

Does the FAA require children on commercial flights to be in child restraint systems (CRS)?

Published 12/11/2003 03:26 PM | Updated 01/18/2011 06:51 PM

Does the FAA require children on commercial flights to be in child restraint systems (CRS)?

The FAA does not require the use of CRS's on commercial airplanes because a mandate would require parents to purchase an extra airline ticket for their child, forcing some families who can't afford the extra ticket to drive, a statistically more dangerous way to travel. However, the FAA strongly recommends the use of CRS's or an alternative FAA-approved device based on a child's weight. A child safety device is an FAA-approved alternative to using a hard-backed seat and is approved only for use on aircraft. It is not approved for use in motor vehicles. For example, the FAA has approved a new harness-type device appropriate for children weighing between 22 and 44 pounds. Airlines currently allow children under the age of two to fly free of charge as "lap children," not the safest way for a child to travel. Many airlines offer half-price tickets so parents can be guaranteed that their child can travel in a CRS or device. Parents should call their airline to ask for a discount and/or ask what the airline's policy is for using empty seats.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Once your child is old enough to properly fit the lap belt in a plane there is absolutely NO need for an additional child restraint/ A booster seat's sole purpose is to raise a child up so it properly fits the shoulder portion of a three point (shoulder/lap) belt. Since plane seats do no have a shoulder belt, you never need a booster.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

We've flown with our daughter several times, ever since she was 16 months old, and have never needed a booster.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

He shouldn't be required by any airline rules to have one at his age and size; however, he may be more comfortable with one. I'm assuming here that you mean a true "booster" that is just a backless, small seat that elevates him a bit? Not a full-fledged "car seat" with sides and a high back etc.? A booster might make him feel more secure in the seat belt and would elevate him a bit in what can be slumpy, uncomfortable seats. If he is used to a booster in the car he may feel more secure and comfortable in the airline seat with one -- it's familiar to him.

We have flown with our daughter, internationally, since she was born and always used an infant seat, car seat and booster (because for infants and toddlers, it's safer). But at his age, I'd do the booster if it's the small backless kind just for comfort. Also, won't you need it when you get to your destination, to use in a car? Easiest way to carry it is to use it!

He would need the birth certificate or other ID I believe if he were traveling alone but if he's with his parents I would think it would not be needed. If you're uncertain, check with the airline.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

We flew once with my stepsons when they were that age and that size and they did not need booster seats. I don't think a birth certificate is necessary but it never hurts to have it either.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

The last time we flew, neither a birth certificate or booster were required. My son is 4 ft and 50 pounds and they didn't require a booster. I would call ahead, some airlines have funny rules.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dover on

Check w/ your airline to be sure. If you are getting a rental car OR expect to ride/drive ANYWHERE, take it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

He doesn't have to have a booster. You should take is birth certificate -just in case -although I doubt you'll be asked for it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

My son likes to move around and sit different ways in his seat, a booster would be uncomfortable imo.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We flew when our kids were 6, 4, and 2. They are all big for their ages, and while the 2 year old was still in a 5 point harness, we checked his seat.

All 3 kids just saw with the lap belts for the plane. I can't imagine if we had to lug his seat on top of our carry on things plus 3 kids.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

The airline won't provide an additional restraint, but your son should be fine with just the lap belt. That's all we've ever used for our kids since they were old enough to require their own seat. I don't think you'll need his birth certificate. The only time we were ever asked is when the children were under 2 and we were flying for free/at a big discount.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

any time we have flown (starting when our kids were only a year old and have flown yearly and my oldest is 7 now), we do not even use a car seat on a plane. We just check it in, and pick it up with our baggage when we arrive.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You don't need a booster on the plane. I've flown with my daughter since she was 2 and never taken one. You may need one in a rental car; that's the only reason to drag it along.

I've never needed her birth certificate to fly, but on my last reservation, they told me to have it with me. So, it may be becoming a bigger issue. Doesn't hurt to have it with you, just in case.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Rapids on

We just made that trek in December and are doing it again next week :) Unless he is an infant in a harness strap type seat, he cannot use a booster seat, etc. The lap belt will be just fine for him. We gate check our booster seats b/c we need them to and from the airport. Do not need a birth certificate either. Have fun on your trip!

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