I have been flying alone with my toddler since he was about 6 months old. Each flight has been a little different as he gets older. Now that he has his own seat on the plane it has become increasingly difficult to convince him to stay in his seat. But not anymore!
Car Seat on an Airplane - AKA total sanity saver
The one thing that totally changed how I will fly from now on is bringing the car seat onto the plane – Total game changer!
I had always avoided bringing a car seat onto the plane because it’s bulky and I worried about being able to carry it through the airport while wrangling my very curious kiddo. This flight was the very first time that my husband traveled with us so he was able to carry the seat while I carried our son through the airport.
Bringing the car seat onto the plane was so worth it that I plan on purchasing this luggage cart to haul the car seat through the airport on my next solo flight with my toddler.
Why was bringing the car seat so worth it? I’ll tell you!
Why You Should Bring a Car Seat on the Plane
1. Car seats make the flight safer
People are safer on a flight when they are securely buckled in. For children who are too small to be securely buckled by the lap belt, a car seat harness will keep them in their seat in case of turbulence. Planes can get shakey during turbulence or during take off and landing. The car seat harness keeps toddlers and small children safely in their seat during a bumpy flight.
2. Car seat = no escaping toddler
No escape attempts. I know some children despise their car seats, but my son is not one of the them. Once he was buckled into his car seat he knew he couldn’t get out so he didn’t try. On previous flights without the car seat it was a struggle to keep him in his seat because he can easily get out of the airplane seat buckle. I was so relieved not to have to spend the entire flight convincing him to sit in his seat.
3. Car seats are more comfortable
Car seats are made for little bodies and much more comfortable for toddlers than adult-sized airplane seats. A comfortable toddler means less wiggling, less whining and more snoozing.
Speaking of snoozing, my son SLEPT on the plane. Like deep sleep for over an hour during each flight. IT WAS SO NICE. For the first time ever while flying with my toddler, I did some reading and even popped in my headphones for a little bit to listen to some podcasts. Ahhh peace and quiet
5. Know your car seat is being handled with care
My biggest worry about checking my son’s car seat has always been wondering how it was handled by the crew loading and unloading it with the baggage. I’ve had suitcases and even strollers damaged from checking them for a flight. My guess is that car seats aren’t handled any more gently. One of the biggest benefits of bringing the car seat onto the plane is knowing that it is not being thrown around or damaged.
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We are finally back home after 10 days or so of travel. It was a GREAT vacation, but my husband and I agree that 10 days was a bit too long for us. A total game changer this trip was bringing the carseat onto the plane ? No escaping toddler and lots of naps. I don't think we'll ever fly without it again! ? Expect an updated blog post in the next few days with all the new travel tips I learned on this trip. But for now I'm just happy to be back in own house and can't wait to get back to building ?♥️
How to Fly with a Car Seat
Are you convinced to bring your car seat onto the plane now? Trust me – it is totally worth it! Here are a couple practical things you should know before flying.
Check if your car seat is airplane approved
In order to bring a car seat onto a plane it must be approved by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Approved car seats will have a label on the side that reads, “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft”.
The flight attendants on our flights and TSA asked to see the label on our car seat to verify that the car seat was approved for air travel. Make sure you check for the label ahead of time and know where it is so you can show airport personnel.
How to install a car seat in an airplane
I was unreasonably nervous that I wouldn’t be able to figure out how to install the car seat on the airplane. But, turns out that it’s super simple.
Before flying I watched a couple YouTube videos on installation and had no problem installing the seat on the plane. Here is the video that I found most helpful:
You're ready to fly with your toddler!
Flying with a car seat is surprisingly simple and will make a HUGE difference in the quality of your flight. You might even get to doze off for a little bit while your kiddo naps alongside you. #momgoals I wholeheartedly recommend bringing a car seat onto the plane for your next flight with your toddler.
I'd love to hear from you
If you have questions about flying with a toddler, let me know in the comments! I have taken over 10 flights with my son in the last 2 years and am happy to share my experiences. Happy travels!
Flying with your Infant or Toddler
Looking for more tips for flying with infants or toddlers? Check out one of my very first posts where I dive deep into what it’s like to fly with a child under age 2.