Hello! It seems as if I have left my blog neglected and abandoned. I’ve been working on a few behind-the-scenes things, like the new look, while I’ve been lacking the time to share actual posts. Sorry about that! We are getting used to my husband traveling more frequently for work, which is good for his seasonal job, but I’m still working on getting more help at home and things to keep the kiddos busy. I’ve also been doing a bit of an online course. One of our assignments was to pick a question I get asked by friends the most and write about that. I have several friends who have little ones who are just transitioning out of being lap infants, so I thought I would share my tips on flying with a child in their own seat for the first time. And, please stay tuned for lots of tips, reviews, and more coming soon (and more regularly!).
One question that I often get is about flying with a child in their own seat for the first time. Up until about the age of 2, most people choose to fly with a “lap infant” or “infant in arms” as the airlines often call it. This has its pros and cons of course, but what happens when your child gets their own seat? For us, our daughter was a little over 2 when she got her own seat. (She was a happy “lap infant”). For our son, the squirmer, he was a little over 1. Before we had children, I flew to New Zealand with my friend and her almost 2 year old son. Even though I didn’t have children at the time, a lot of that trip sunk in.
My first choice would be to always sit your child in his or her car seat on the plane
- Make sure to check if your car seat is FAA approved (there should be a sticker on the side). Some airlines will check, so this is a must!
- To make things go smoothly, book a non-exit window seat for the car seat.
- And, book more than 1 row away from an exit. Some airlines don’t even like a car seat near an exit row.
- Skip the bulkhead row as well. I’ve had hit or miss luck with the bulkhead. Of course it is ideal to get a bulkhead, but I’ve been moved away on some airlines.
- Book economy plus or comfort if you can afford it. This means the person in front of you won’t be able to recline right on top of your child’s legs.
- Transport your car seat through the airport with the Go Go Babyz Kidz Travelmate *affiliate link (see my earlier post).
If all of us were flying, we typically had my husband board first with the car seat and no kids. Then I would follow with the kids near the end. That gives him a chance to buckle the seat in properly. If it’s just me, we board early and start at it. Occasionally, depending on your car seat, you may need a seatbelt extender.
Tips for during the flight
- If you use disposable diapers, consider arming your child with an overnight diaper. I’ve always found the extra padding and absorbency to be helpful in case I can’t get to the restroom for a diaper change.
- Stay on top of your child about kicking the seat in front of them. If you’re on top of it as soon as you board, you’ll have less issues during the flight.
- Don’t take your child out! It was always worse when I took my child out. If they are happy, leave them. If it’s a minor tantrum or outburst, leave them. It’s always much harder to get them back in.
Hopefully your child will happily sit in their car seat because they’re already used to riding in it nearly everyday. When you go to deplane, you may have to wait until everyone is off, since the car seat can be a bit of a beast to maneuver. I usually find myself having to push my way through because my older child didn’t tell me she had to go potty until we were on our descent and it was too late to get up. (No matter how many times I asked her before we started our descent).
In my opinion, a car seat is one of your best options for transitioning your child from being a lap infant to sitting in a seat on their own. There are a few other options, including a CARES Harness *affiliate link, which may also be something to take a look at. For us, we viewed the car seat as the safest and most routine option we could choose. Plus, we often needed our car seat at our destination.
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