My wife and I will be traveling soon to the U.S. west coast for a short trip and we're bringing our 3-year old daughter with us. The flight is about five hours and so we're wondering: Should we have our daughter use the carseat while flying in the plane? We need to bring the seat anyway for taxis, etc., but we're not sure if it would be helpful to use while flying or if we should just check it as baggage.

(The last time we took our daughter on an airplane was when she was 4 months old, and we had bulkhead airplane seats with a bassinet. Kids grow so fast! :-)

asked 14 Oct '09, 00:17

Chris%20W.%20Rea's gravatar image

Chris W. Rea
accept rate: 34%

Similar question but for traveling with a newborn: http://moms4mom.com/questions/2840/travelling-with-a-newborn-by-plane

(24 Nov '09, 16:38) Chris W. Rea

Here's what the FAA recommends:

FAA recommends that a child weighing:
  • Less than 20 pounds use a rear-facing CRS [child restraint system]
  • From 20 to 40 pounds use a forward-facing CRS
  • More than 40 pounds use an airplane seat belt
  • A child may also use an alternative, such as a a harness-type restraint, if it is approved by FAA. FAA has approved one restraint appropriate for children weighing between 22 and 44 pounds. This type of restraint is not safe for use in motor vehicles.

answered 14 Oct '09, 01:08

Kiesa's gravatar image

Kiesa ♦
accept rate: 26%

I suggest against using a car seat. It just takes up a lot of space, you will be much more comfortable without it and your child will also have some space to move around.

On our last overseas trip with our 2 year old we used a CARES safety harness that worked really well. Although we lost it by leaving it on the plane after the second leg ;)


answered 14 Oct '09, 01:13

lajos's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

+1: Thanks for sharing what worked for you. I haven't seen one of those before.

(14 Oct '09, 01:29) Scott ♦♦

I always take my carseat on the plane. Yes, it's bulky, but it keeps him in his seat and he is much more comfortable being in a seat that properly fits his little body. Also, I always need a carseat when I get to my destination, so it's nice to know that I've got my own and that it's clean and safe (ie, it has not "expired" or been involved in an accident).


answered 01 Feb '11, 01:41

Jo's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

It depends on your daughter. If you think she can be a "big girl" long enough, I would say, check the car seat so you don't have to deal with taking it through security, then installing it on the plane, etc. But if she's is very fidgety or you don't think she can stay in her seat for the flight, it might be worth it to take on the plane.

Another point to consider, if you are at all considering a rental car, many of the rental agencies now also rent car seats since so many states have made them mandatory. Instead of taking taxis everywhere, you could look into renting a car and seat at your destination then you wouldn't have to deal with taking one along at all.


answered 14 Oct '09, 00:36

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%


Thanks - that's some good advice. We can probably get her to stay still if we have some entertainment for her... I'll be bringing a netbook loaded with some of her favorite shows. As for cars, when we get to where we're going (Seattle), we'll be staying downtown and only using a taxi occasionally, so I think we need to bring our own?

(14 Oct '09, 01:00) Chris W. Rea

It really depends on your kid and your carseat. Our daughter always sleeps in hers and its comfy for her so if it were me I would take mine. Some seats I have seen are too upright and not comfy for sleeping and they would offer no more in terms of a cuddly place to sleep than a regular airplane seat.


answered 14 Oct '09, 02:52

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

Our daughter was way to fidgety for sitting still for a short 60 minute flight. She rode on our laps so we could play with her and keep her happy (and quiet)


answered 14 Oct '09, 03:09

MrChrister's gravatar image

accept rate: 3%

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Asked: 14 Oct '09, 00:17

Seen: 39,169 times

Last updated: 01 Feb '11, 01:41