A Parent’s Guide to Traveling With Car Seats

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One of the must-haves for parents while traveling is a car seat that can be used even on an airplane. Investing in a good car seat is beneficial for both your ease of mind as well as the safety of your little one. Read on to learn what experts say about using a car seat during travel and everything else under the sun that you need to know about taking them onto planes.

Are Car Seats Allowed on Aircrafts?

As per the Transportation Security Administration, a car seat fitting the size requirements of a carry-on can be brought onto the plane. If it’s too big, it can be included as check-in baggage. It is required under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that a car seat has to fit certain regulatory requirements for it to be taken along for a flight.

MD and a board-certified family medicine physician, Laura Purdy, advises parents to look for a sticker or label on the car seat stating its certification for use in aircraft and motor vehicles. This information can also be found on the website of the car seat manufacturer.

Sitting on Laps While Flying

According to both the FAA and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the recommendation is to put all children below the age of two years in a rear-facing car seat or an airplane harness device while traveling on airplanes instead of being seated in an adult’s lap.

This is because a car seat provides the child with the necessary neck, head, and body protection as well as support that is absent in an adult’s lap. This support can make a difference in the safety of the child in case of an emergency or even turbulence.

Aircrafts and Child Safety

Depending on the child’s weight and height, the safety protocols and requirements can differ. If the child has not met the weight and height prerequisites for a forward-facing car seat, they should ideally be placed in a rear-facing car seat throughout their travel. Further, airplane harnesses like the FAA-approved AmSafe’s Child Aviation Restraint System (CARES) device can be used instead of car seats if kid’s weight is between 22 to 44 pounds.

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Airplanes may be safer than cars, but it’s still important to make sure our children are safe and protected when flying. Thankfully, it’s not too difficult to figure out the right car seat for your child based on the situation.