Flying with a 2 Year Old - Aurora,CO

Updated on July 17, 2010
A.M. asks from Aurora, CO
19 answers

Hi Moms,

I flew quite a bit with my daughter (on my lap) during her first year. She's now 2.5 and I'm about to fly across the county with her. She'll obviously have her own seat and I'm wondering if I should bring her car seat onboard or can she sit in the regular seat? Any other tips/suggestions? I'm planning on bringing some fun treats, games and a portable DVD player so she can watch a show.


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answers from Boise on

My kids did well with their car seats. They were already used to sitting in them for a long time, and when they fell asleep, their heads rested against the car seat.



answers from Denver on

I haven't been in this situation yet, but I was talking to a co-worker yesterday who highly recommended using the car seat b/c in her experience her son was more willing to stay seated (without throwing a fit) for the flight when he was straped into the 5-point harness. The airplane seat belt is so easy to get out of, and they are used to being stuck in the carseat without the option of getting up. Last time I flew with my son (18 months at the time) i ended up walking up and down the aisle a lot!

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answers from Denver on

I've done it both ways and definately prefer my child in the regular airplane seat. Ina G. had some of the same reasons I prefer not to take a car seat....their feet hit the seat in front of them and you can't use the fold down tray. Also, if you take the DVD be sure you have ear plugs for it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I don't ever take a car seat with me. I did it once, and it was awkward and exhausting, and left me crabby. I do check it with my luggage, if I can't find a friend to lend me one at my destination. If you do travel with it, I suggest a carryon with 4 wheels, and hook it on their so you don't have to carry it. The only time my son ever appreciated the car seat was one flight when he sat in the bulkhead and slept the whole time. Even at 2, she can sit in your lap a good portion of the time, if you want. Depending on the plane, you can also walk around with her. I try to get a flight that's continuing on overseas so we have the wider isles and more room. I usually take a "new" toy with us. It can be one that hasn't been played with in a while. Crayons can be a mess, so I usually go with something like a doodlepro, etc. Have fun! I hope she does well.



answers from Seattle on

That's the same debate that I have going on in my head.
I think that this time (my daughter is almost 3) I will gate-check the seat. Last time we flew my daughter was 28 months old or so and while the car seat (we had it on board) was great while she slept, she really wanted out while awake. Because it put her closer to the seat in front of her she kept kicking it involuntarily, even in her sleep. Made for some nasty stares from her passeger in that seat :(. She also could not use the table for playing or eating (didn't fold down all the way).
I am NOT concerned at all about her safety. Airplane passengers are exposed to a very different kind of movement during turbulences than a car crash. The lap belt is just fine for protection (it is basically just meant to keep you from flying though the cabin). Let's face it, in a serious plane crash a car seat will not make a difference.
Good luck whatever you decide and have a good trip!



answers from Denver on

We usually bring a full stroller with large basket to stow diaper bags, snacks, etc. We also found a stap which allows us to strap the carseat to our small rolling luggage. This has been a lifesaver, here's the link.

We usually check it with any other luggage we do not want to take on board. It is just too bulky and cumbersome to have to drag around with a toddler, luggage, diaper bag, purse....

I also like to have a backpack for all the important stuff so I can have my hands free. Go to the library and borrow a few new DVD's that you think she will like and some new books.

Good luck and have a great trip!



answers from Boise on

I would call TSA/airline and see if it is required for that age. If it is, there are wheels you can buy from BRU, and one step ahead so that you can wheel it through the airport, even with your daughter in it, or you can get that harness. If it isn't required and you decide to check it, know that carseats are not counted as luggage for the first bag free airlines. You can ask the airline also since many are charging for even one bag, if they are now charging for the seats, but I don't think so. It is really up to you and how you think she would be comfortable.

Have a little bribe bag. Things that you know she will like, but hasn't seen before, and if she gets bored with the other stuff you brought, you can pull out a "new" toy.



answers from Fort Collins on

I fly a lot with my 2 year old and love the "Go Go Babyz" cart. You attach your car seat on it, and it works as a stroller. It's perfect for the airport. I bring small books with stickers in them and tons of books for my daughter. Also, lots of snacks! Enjoy your trip!



answers from Toledo on

Take it. She'll undoubtedly nap on the flight, and she has to have her belt buckled at times. It's only a lap belt, which isn't safe for a toddler in a car, so why would it be safe on a plane?



answers from Pocatello on

May will tell you that the car seat is safest. For me it was not the best. My daughter and son for that matter are not car seat fans. Neither will sleep in the carseat. Long drives are not fun because they just want out. My daugther did ok just sitting on the seat. Then if she got tired or needed a cuddle, I could pull her on my lap. You do what is best for you. Will you need a car seat at your next location? We have always borrowed from familly, so I not only didn't need it on the plan but didn't have to check it to get it there. If you will need it and your daughter is fine in it, might be easier to not pay to check in and just have it on board. But if you do that you will have to haul it through the airports too. Think about your whole trip and decide what will work best for you.



answers from Austin on

I'm getting ready to travel with my barely 2 year old son in a couple weeks as well. We have similar stories...

Here is what I've purchased for our upcoming flight. I plan to check his carseat and just take this harness on board. My little man definitely needs something more than just the airplane seatbelt to keep him in his chair, and he can spend an hour or so just playing with the buckles!!

I used a 20% off coupon at Buy Buy Baby which saved $15.

Good luck!


answers from Medford on

Don't take the carseat. It will be much more comfortable without it, especially on that long of a trip, plus you won't have to lug it around the airport. Trust me, she will be a much happier traveler without it.



answers from Denver on

We just flew last week with our 2 1/2 year old and had no problems - in fact, the lady behind us said she must have been sleeping the whole time, which she wasn't. We debated back and forth on the car seat or not and ended up bringing it. (Since it has that "approved for airline use" sticker on it.) It was a bear to get it through security and the airport, but I'm glad we did. She felt much more comfortable in her own seat and I think that's part of the reason she did so well - and fun stuff and snacks. ;o) The flight attendants said car seats have to be in the window seat, so I think that helped too. Good luck!



answers from Cheyenne on

My DH and I just took a 2 hour plane trip with our 2.5 year old and our 10 month old just a week ago. I brought the older one's seat with us (on the way back, I did ask the airline attendant if there was an age range that was required to be in a car seat which he did not know-either did the supervisor-who finally just told me that it was not required, but highly recomended! If you decide to check the car seat-I would highly suggest checking it at the gate even though it still means lugging it through the airport-what happens if your other luggage gets delayed and you end up on the other side without a car seat! My husband and I ended up lugging through the airport a diaper bag, toy bag, a dvd player, our umbrella stroller (with the 2 year old riding-I Moby Wrapped the 10 month old), the 10 month old's seat in a gate check bag we got on Amazon and the old kid's seat in a back pack I also got on Amazon! It was a pain and a lot to carry, but we managed just fine! We got one of those trolley's and that helped a ton (though DIA wouldn't let us roll it any farther than security-phooey on them-but San Antonio's airport did!) And we only ended up having to purchase one trolley because every other time, there were very nice people who helped us roll our suitcases or carried bags for us or would hand off their trolley to us saying 'I think you need this more than I do'! It all worked out wonderfully!

I too packed tons of little toys and books and crayons and movies to keep him entertained to have him fall asleep 10 minutes into the flight and so we ended up using none of it (though I was glad to have it when our flight kept getting delayed)-so on the return, I kept out only the DVD player preped with 1 movie just in case and the diaper bag and gate checked everything else! It worked great!

Also, I had no trouble with the tray not working with the car seat. And as far as my son kicking the seat in front, he didn't, but we flew southwest that has opened seating so when they called for family boarding, all us with young kids chose to sit together so we would not be disturbing other passengers so my son sat behind another little boy and it was great and I was not stressed about my son's actions at all-and actually the other passengers around us were great at keeping the kiddos entertained with peek-a-boo and the such!

I had no problem with them letting me bring drinks for the boys through security as long as you disclose them up front to the scanner guy-and they now have family lines so you don't have to feel in as much of a rush to get through security.

Also, we had taken fruit snacks for my son to chew on while going up and down to help pop his ears, but he didn't chew them enough to be any good-so luckily I had a box of Skittles in my bag and those worked wonderfully along with the drink! And for drinks, the stewardess had a lid and straw for his cup (and mine as the 10 month old kept wanting to knock mine over!) Which was really cool!

Anyway, hope some of that helped! If you need hekp finding the gate check bag or the backpack, let me know! Have fun!



answers from Denver on

I have flown with all three of my children several times and one thing I always do is check in the car seats. It is just SO hard to bring it on the plane and work around it. I would just buckle her in and go with the flow. She will have a great time. Oh yeah, for my youngest ones, I try to get the window for them to watch outside.




answers from Denver on

I agree with just using the regular seat on the plane.



answers from Miami on

A. -

You know your daughter better than anyone. You need the carseat regardless - will she sit down and stay seated in the airplane seat without having a 5 point harness that she can't unbuckle? My 4 year old son wouldn't - as soon as he could figure out that he could unbuckle he would be standing in the seat. If your daughter will sleep in her carseat and is generally happy in it, then have her sit in it on the plane. Whether your daughter is 2 or 12 - once they have their own seat they have to stay buckled and seated through take off and landing as well as anytime the "remain buckled" light is on.

Good luck! C.



answers from Colorado Springs on

Here's a thought to consider -- do you have to bring the car seat along on the trip anyway so your daughter has a car seat for in the car once you get across the country? If so, you might as well bring it onboard. If she's generally happy in the car seat while riding in the car, I suggest you have her sit in it on the plane. It will feel "normal" to her. She'll understand that she needs to be buckled the entire flight.
Great idea to bring treats, games, and the DVD player! Even if you have to bring an empty sippy cup through security and then fill it up with water once you're through, make sure you have something she can drink out if in case her ears get plugged.
Have a great flight!

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