Flying and Carseats for a 10 Months Old and 3 Year Old

Updated on March 17, 2011
2.B. asks from Jackson, WY
10 answers

I am flying alone with my 10 month old and 3 year old for the first time. I have a seat booked for my oldest but will be holding my 10 month old. I have to order a new carseat for my 3 year old anyway so I am thinking about having it just shipped to my destination. Then my parents can pick us up with it. Then I don't have to pack it through the airport or check it. Do we have to have a car/booster seat in the airplane for a 3 year old? If so how do you lug it though the airport? Can they just ride with a lap belt?Also I will check my stroller at the gate. Can I also keep my car seat with it? I don't really want to check it and have it get damaged. Here is to a fun adventure!!

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answers from Washington DC on

Check recent posts here -- there have been several about flying with young children. For safety's sake, a small child in an aircraft seat needs a car seat that is fixed in the aircraft seat with the aircraft seat's seatbelt. The airline may not let him fly if he does not have a seat or booster (that actually fits him) with him. A regular airline lap belt is not appropriate or safe for a small child -- they are made for adults and cannot hold a child properly. If there were turbulence, he could end up bounced right out of the seat and injured. It's a hassle to carry car seats on planes but put his safety above convenience. It's only a few more years that he will need any carseat on airplanes. Check the other posts and answers. I"m the one who always advocates for each child having his or her own seat and being in a size-appropriate car seat within that airline seat.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

Boosters are not approved for airplanes only carseats are. There is a sticker on the side of the car seat that says approved for use in motor vehicles & aircraft. Make sure your carseat says that. If your 3 year old is not used to a regular seatbelt, then he might become a Houdini & take it off. The seatbelts on the plane are very easy to remove. As far as safety goes, it IS safer for your child to be in a carseat even if it is a pain to lug around the airport. If you do decide to check the carseat there are covers that you can buy that will help prevent damage. I have also seen people hang the carseat on the back of the stroller with a strap.

Happy travels!



answers from Salt Lake City on

I've travelled a ton with small children. You've gotten some conflicting information, so let me clarify. You do not need a booster for the 3 year old. The purpose of a booster in a car is to make sure the shoulder belt fits correctly. Since there is no shoulder belt in an airplane, the lap belt will work just fine. They will check a booster for you at the gate. I would recommend taking a car seat with you for the 10 month old. Take the car seat with you to the gate. That can be a pain, but the best hint I can give is to buy a car seat carry bag. You can get them at Babies-R-Us and maybe even Target or Walmart. They fit the car seat & have straps so you can wear it through the airport. (You can also fit other carry-on items in it if you need to.) When you get to the gate, ask how full the flight is. Tell them you are flying with a 10 mo. old on your lap and you want to see if they can arrange an empty seat by you. If they can, you have an extra seat & can use the car seat (definitely the safest way to go). If not, they will gladly check the car seat at the gate with your stroller (and your booster). It will be waiting for you at the gate at your destination.

Have a great trip! And if you have any other questions, please feel free to message me. Like I said - I've done this a lot!



answers from Denver on

I fly alot with my kids, 4 1/2 and 18 months. I have carseats for both of them at my parents' house. However, airlines will let you check the carseat for free, but it's a pain to drag there.



answers from Charlotte on

Airlines will not allow you to bring a carseat or booster on board for a child to sit in, unless it is approved for airline usage. A 3 yr old is perfectly fine sitting in the seat by himself with just the airline provided seatbelt. Your best bet is to like you said have it shipped where you are going or just check it into the belly of the plane. Make sure you put a plastic bag over it so it doesn't get damaged.



answers from Washington DC on

We have flown several times with our daughter and have not used a car seat. Check with your airline and see if they require it or allow it. I would not want to lug 2 car seats through the airport if I were traveling by myself with two kids, but the decision is up to you.



answers from Missoula on

No, you don't need a carseat on the airplane for a three year old - but as always check with your airline. Some people do use them for safety/comfort reasons or just for keeping the kid more contained. But yes, just the lap belt is considered ok. I used a Cheeky Monkey Pac Back:

to carry a big carseat when I used to travel alone. If you do take a carseat, just make sure it is airplane compatible (some of the really huge ones are not).

Yes, you should be able gate-check a carseat free of charge along with the stroller. Check with the airline - some airlines let you check them with your luggage free of charge too.

I did the same thing once of ordering a carseat to be delivered to my parents house, they picked us up from the airport with it already in the car, and I checked it free with my luggage for the ride home.

Good luck!



answers from New York on

Wow! Kudos for you for getting ready to travel with two young kids. You do not need a car seat for your three year old. They will be fine iwth a lap belt. THe only requirement from the airline is that your 3 year old remain seated, with a seatbelt, for the takeoff and landing of the flight. I'm not sure if you can check the carseat at the gate. In the past, we've bought a bag for the carseat and checked it with the rest of our luggage. It makes the airport process a lot easier, as you'll know only have to worry about your baby in the stroller and toddler by your side. Good luck!



answers from Denver on

Next week I will be in a similar situation with a 14 month old and a 3 year old. My airline will let me check in one of the carseats for free but not two of them so I am borrowing a sit and go stroller and placing the carseat in the back of that and then either checking it at the gate or putting it on the plane. Shipping a carseat is easier but depending how heavy it is will be expensive. With our older son we bought a Costco Senera Carseat because it is cheap and light weight to haul around.



answers from San Francisco on

If it's one of those snap in ones, like the baby will actually be in the car seat attached to the stroller, then it's fine at the gate. And the benefit of having it, aside from strolling through the airport, is that if there is an extra seat you may be able to request it and put the baby in the car seat in it. But carrying a loose car seat along side a stroller-- I think that would have to be checked. Maybe look at the airlines web site to confirm.

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