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Flying 16hrs with 18 month son...bring car seat for plane???

chicago, IL
Level Contributor
44 posts
1 review
Flying 16hrs with 18 month son...bring car seat for plane???

We are flying Chicago to Hong Kong to Bali in 3 weeks with our 18 month old son. We bought him his own seat, question is.....should we bring a car seat to keep him in his seat? I concerned he will just keep climbing out of the lap belt. I found a Cosco seat that is FAA approved and weighs only 8 lbs and cost $30 so it would be easy to travel with and easy to abandon if the car seat proves more annoying then helpful on the flight.

Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
3,089 posts
4 reviews
1. Re: Flying 16hrs with 18 month son...bring car seat for plane???

Since you found a cheap and lightweight car seat, I would buy and bring it.

The seatbelt doesn't really work for a toddler that young anyway, he'd just slip under it...Another advantage is that he could sleep kind of comfortable in the seat. So safety +, comfort + and you won't have to make sure he doesn't climb out of his seat.

Wrexham, United...
Level Contributor
2,174 posts
55 reviews
2. Re: Flying 16hrs with 18 month son...bring car seat for plane???

It may be an idea to contact the airline first

Madrid
Level Contributor
3,104 posts
6 reviews
3. Re: Flying 16hrs with 18 month son...bring car seat for plane???

An FAA approved car seat might not be allowed on a non US carrier.Contact the airline.

Illinois
Level Contributor
14,774 posts
16 reviews
4. Re: Flying 16hrs with 18 month son...bring car seat for plane???

I agree with the recommendation to contact the carrier to ensure the seat is allowed. If it is, I would definitely bring it. I would also have him ride in it in the car some before you leave so he is used to it and you have figured out the best way to install it with the lap belt in the plane. (Sometimes you have to twist the seatbelt so that the latch lifts toward the back of your seat rather than towards the front as it usually does as there may not be room between the belt and the seat to release it with the belt tightened if it is buckled the normal way.)

UK
Level Contributor
49,562 posts
92 reviews
5. Re: Flying 16hrs with 18 month son...bring car seat for plane???

I also suggest you get a lightweight duffel into which you can pack the seat last minute if needed and which has a label on it, I've read accounts of seats not being allowed and then the seat being taken away and when returned was damaged or dirty.

Mombasa, Kenya
Level Contributor
607 posts
6. Re: Flying 16hrs with 18 month son...bring car seat for plane???

Hi everybody, first time on this particular forum :)

I have always flown alone with one and then two kids from the time they were under 2 months old on mid and long haul flights. I also used to buy a separate seat on the plane from the age of one year old for both.

I would also advise to contact all the airlines involved first, preferably getting their answer in writing and have a printout with you when you travel.

From my personal experience, I had a similar car seat once and had more issues with it than convenience. I had to carry it all over the place in addition to my hand luggage and a bag with kid's stuff plus a child himself. Also, as it was quite restrictive, my son was not happy after a while, so I had to ask an air hostess to keep it for me elsewhere. Later, with my daughter who is younger, I did not bother with it after that.

For take off and landing, as well as when the seatbelt sign was on in turbulence, I used to sit the little one on my lap and use the airline standard extension belt. The rest of the time kids would play or watch cartoons, draw, etc - so they had a freedom of movement. Also, when they slept on most airlines (as long as it is not the front row) you can lift a handle between the seats and you child can stretch and actually lay down properly.

Anyway, this is from my personal experience :)

NYC/Israel
Destination Expert
for Israel
Level Contributor
32,328 posts
26 reviews
7. Re: Flying 16hrs with 18 month son...bring car seat for plane???

Bring the seat and strap him in. It is the safest way to fly with a toddler. G-d forbid there is turbulence on the plane you will not be able to hold him in your arms. ( not to mention how long CAN you sit with him squirming in your arms. While you should check with the airline I know of no airline that forbids children in car seats.

In terms of dragging the seat all over--you may want to consider a car seat stroller ( google) It is basically a frame for the car seat and it then becomes the stroller.

Mombasa, Kenya
8 posts
8. Re: Flying 16hrs with 18 month son...bring car seat for plane???

Rdglady, I agree with a lot you said :) But there might be an airline (local) involved with the seats not wide enough for the seat to fit, so it is not necessarily the issue of whether it is allowed. It is the same as not all type of aircraft have the facility for bassinets. If there is such an aircraft involved, it is better to find out if they then put a seat in the luggage compartment.

Safety wise - I think if it was not safe for passengers to fly with toddlers on their lap, airlines would not allow not to have a separate seat for under 2 years. Even if a child under 2 years old has his own seat, the crew will ask a parent to put him on a lap and tie up with a child extension (unless a child is in a seat). It is wise of course to have a separate seat for such a long haul even if a child is under 2 as it will be a nightmare for both to have a child on your lap for 16 hours!

My son was unhappy to be strapped for a long time (we were flying 11 hours haul - transit 5 hours - 5 hours haul), so I had to request the crew to put away the seat, I never used it since with either children. Now they are big enough, so not any longer a problem, although we traveled a lot when they were small. If the child is happy to sit strapped for 16 hours, definitely it is the safest option. If it can be fixed on a stroller and the child can sit in it at the airport, even better!

Mombasa, Kenya
Level Contributor
607 posts
9. Re: Flying 16hrs with 18 month son...bring car seat for plane???

It is my comment above, could not sign in to my account, now all is sorted.

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
Level Contributor
21,766 posts
65 reviews
10. Re: Flying 16hrs with 18 month son...bring car seat for plane???

Hi,

I too have an 18mth old and we've been planning for a while as we have a Europe trip coming up soon.

Have you heard of the CARES (Child Aviation Restraint System)?

According to Qantas, they are FAA approved for children of 2-4 years old or physician weight approved if younger.

It's a full harness that wraps around the back of the seat, with pivotal restraint points adjustable at the child's shoulder height.

It's like a miniature version of the harness used by flight officers in the cockpit.

That maybe an easier and lighter solution if suitable.