Are you planning your next trip with your entire family? Does your adventure involve getting on an airplane and flying to the destination? Don’t worry; I will help you understand how to safely carry a car seat in the airport.
Throughout the process, safety should be your number one priority. After all, taking a car seat on your trip offers kids a safe and comfortable journey.
We have listed five easy ways to make your airplane travel with a car seat for 1 year old. Read on to check out the list:
Airport Car Seat Guidelines
Before you plan the trip and take the car seat to the airport, make sure your kid follows the FAA guidelines. Most airlines have easy car seat rules.
Car seats cannot be used in emergency exit rows. Also, travel car seats can’t be used behind or in front of the exit row.
Does Your Kid Need a Car Seat?
For safety, airplanes have belts, but it’s not suitable for small children. Thus, parents need to provide their little ones with proper restraints.
Young children under 40 pounds must always be in their car seats during air travel. But it is not mandatory. Depending on your kid’s age, you can hold them on your lap or use FAA-approved car seats or a CARES harness.
While it rarely happens, unrestrained kids can be injured during extreme turbulence. So, always choose what’s best for your kids.
Children 0-2 Years Old
If your kid is between 0-2 years, you can make them sit on your lap. You don’t need an additional car seat unless you want to take the car seat on board.
Kids under two who have their seats on the flight require a safety harness or seat. Car seats for 2 years old on the flight must be used during take-off, landing, and turbulence. Kids can get out of the car seat during the other flight portions.
Big kids should use a car seat or a harness. Why? Because a harness is an FAA-approved safety device on the flight.
Kids can only use this harness when their height is no more than 40 inches, and their weight is under 44 pounds.
Under no situation, booster car seats are allowed on the flight because they need a shoulder strap instead of a lap belt.
Tips to Carry Car Seat in Airport
Flying with a car seat can be challenging. But don’t get stressed because we have listed the six best ways to simplify the process.
#1 Carry the Car Seat
Wondering how to carry a car seat in the airport? Well, one of the easiest approaches is carrying your car seat. The process becomes extreme when you have a lightweight car seat.
You must clip all the harnesses together to carry the car seat. If you want to carry a car seat with a baby strapped in, ensure you hold the seat in front with both hands. This way, you can avoid hip and back injury as the weight evenly distributes.
Remember that a car seat with a baby can range somewhere between 20-40 pounds. Thus, you should not carry more load. If you only carry the car seat with no child, you can hold the seat even with one hand.
- You don’t need to buy extra items when you carry a car seat this way.
- Allows you to get through security screening quickly.
- The main drawback of this method is that it can get heavy.
- In some narrow airplane aisles, you need to lift the car seat.
#2 Attach the Car Seat with Luggage Strap
Another way to carry a car seat in the airport is to attach it with a luggage strap. But this method only works with wheeled carry-on suitcases. The strap uses the car seat’s lower anchor. The top tether strap is attached to the car seat in front of the suitcase.
You can wheel the car seat like normal and use it later on the flight. This same setting can be obtained even by using a bungee.
- It’s an affordable and efficient way of carrying a car seat.
- Compact store and travel through the trip.
- You can easily move the car seat around the airplane aisle.
- This method works best with compact car seats.
- The car seat bag becomes heavy when you attach a car seat with a luggage strap.
- During security screening, the car seat must be moved from the car seat bag.
- It is not a suitable method to be used with a backpack.
#3 Use Airport Stroller as Car Seat Trolley
An easy way to carry a seat in the airport is to push it like a travel stroller. Here are common combinations that you can try:
- You can put the car seat on the stroller after reclining it. Don’t forget to stack your carry-on backpack inside.
- If you have a compact car set, place it in a rest position upside down on the stroller’s canopy.
- You can hang the car seat to the back of your stroller. But this way, you cannot carry your kid in your car seat.
- Use a lightweight stroller frame if traveling with an infant car seat.
Most parents try the first option as it works most of the time. Plus, it is easy to unload at the security points.
- If you are bringing a stroller, you don’t need extra gear.
- Using this method, you can try multiple combinations when carrying a car seat.
- It makes walking through the airport very easy.
- Some combinations do not allow the kids to sit inside strollers.
- The car seat needs to be separated at airport security.
#4 Carry the Car Seat as Backpack
You can carry the car seat on your shoulders using the straps. This way, your hands will be free to roll the suitcase or push the stroller. Consider purchasing a car seat for 6 years old with a backpack or carrying straps.
You will still have to move into the security line, but the process will be easy. Always use a car seat cover to cover the car seat when carrying it on your back.
- It’s easy to carry.
- Keep your hand free so that you can take care of other matters.
- The car seat on the back can be difficult to carry.
- It’s not a suitable method for carrying heavy car seats.
#5 Add Car Seat Wheels with Car Seat Travel Cart
If your car seat is bulky, you can get a car seat travel cart to make the process easy. It adds wheels to your car seat. This way, you can keep your kid strapped through the airport.
- Your kid can ride inside the car seat when it’s attached to the seat trolley.
- It’s easy to wheel the car seat transporter down the airplane aisle.
- It makes carrying a full-size car seat easy to carry.
- During security, you must remove the car seat from the cart.
- Purchasing a car seat travel cart can be expensive as you will only use it at the airport.
- Travel carts can be bulky to carry and store during vacation.
- You must be careful at the sharp turns because the wheels don’t pivot.
- Be careful when purchasing travel carts because some are only compatible with limited car seats.
Other Tips for Flying with Car Seats
Here are a few extra tips to make your air travel with a car seat a lot easier:
- Before taking your car seat on the flight or folding stroller as a carry-on, ensure it fits the flight. Why? Because every flight has its size regulation that passengers need to follow.
- Thoroughly check how strollers and car seats are handled at the end of the flight. Will you get the car seat at the oversized luggage counter, or will they be available at the baggage claim carousel?
- You should have a baby sling when checking a stroller or car seat. It can be a true lifesaver when waiting in line to get the stroller or car seat.
- Always photograph the car seat before leaving home so you can easily claim damage if anything happens to it. Make sure your car seat travel system is very well padded.
- Lastly, check whether your destination offers car seats or strollers. You will have a backup if the car seat is damaged or lost during flight transition.
Why Fly with a Car Seat Stroller?
Are you wondering whether taking the car seat stroller on the airplane is worth it? Honestly, it depends on you. But always carry an FAA-approved car seat if you want to keep your kid during air travel.
Here’s why you should carry a car seat on a flight:
Car Seat Protect Young Child in Flight
Many parents assume that kids under 2 years old are fit to travel as lap children. Well, it’s not always the best choice because numerous accidents have been reported. Kids on the lap have sustained serious injuries because they were not harnessed to the seat.
A study has revealed that restrained kids in an FAA-approved car seat are less likely to face injuries during air travel.
Car Seat Offers Extra Comfort
Traveling in a car seat is much more comfortable than the basic airplane seats. Also, when kids travel in a similar car seat, they get a certain degree of reassurance, which keeps them at ease throughout the trip.
Safer Than Rental Car Seats
You can leave the car seat and stroller at your home and rent one at the destination. But it has a few disadvantages:
- You might not be able to rent safety equipment at the destination.
- The rental car seat might not meet the required safety standards. For instance, it might not adhere to the expiration date or have basic features.
- Even if you have a domestic trip, you cannot be satisfied with the maintenance and condition of the rented car seat.
How to Check a Car Seat or Stroller
Traveling with kids is challenging and super stressful. The same goes for traveling with a car seat. But if you plan everything, you can remove the complications and make your trip happy.
Before you start the check-in process, remember to remove attached items like cup holders, diaper bags, and toys. Make sure you have secured the straps to minimize the chances of car seat damage.
At the Ticket Counter
Checking strollers and car seats at the ticket counter are super easy and stress-free. Inform the flight attendant that you want to check our car seat. Following this, you will be given a luggage tag to attach to the checked item.
If you have an infant car seat but your kid is grown up, timely upgrade from the infant car seat to the right one to pass security checks.
At the Gate
Gate checking for a car seat is also simple and easy. You will get a label to attach to your car seat. If you don’t get one, ask the airport staff when you reach the gate so you can quickly attach it to your luggage and streamline the entire process.
Important Thing to Know Before You Pack Your Car Seat
Before you fly with your baby using a car seat, ensure the seat meets all the requirements of the country you travel to. Check different car seat types to find the right one for your kid.
For instance, car seats in the UK and Europe are only approved in those two places. Most car seats manufactured in the UK cannot be used in Australia, the USA, Italy and Canada.
Does an Infant Car Seat Count as a Checked Bag?
A car seat is not counted as checked baggage when flying with an infant. You can bring it on board like normal baggage with a stroller. Always check the airline’s details before taking the car seat to avoid future complications. Most airlines have easy car seat rules.
Can you Gate Check a Car Seat?
Yes, it is possible to gate-check car seats. You can also use a car seat bag to protect the car seat during transportation. But if you are not using the car seat, it’s better to get it checked along with the rest of your luggage.
Some airports put the gate-checked items on the same baggage belt, while others put the item on an oversized baggage belt.
Types of Child’s Car Seat Bags
You can choose from four types of infant car seat travel bags, including:
Padded Car Seat Travel Bag
If you want to carry an infant car seat like a backpack, you should get a padded car seat travel bag.
Car Seat Travel Bag with Wheels
It’s a great option for people who want to pull the child’s car seat instead of carrying it on their back.
Car Seat Travel Bag with Water Resistant Material
To keep the car seat clean and all its parts together, you must get a car seat travel bag made of lightweight, durable, and water-resistant material.
Airplane-Approved Car Seat
While using an airplane-approved car seat, you must use a clip to attach it to carry-on luggage.
As you have reached the end of this post, I hope you have understood how to carry a car seat in the airport.
Traveling with a car seat and stroller sounds challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you get the window seat or aisle, you should use the best travel car seat and have travel insurance.
Your only job is to ensure that everything goes smoothly. You can try one of the methods listed in this post. With the proper knowledge and tools, you can simplify the process of carrying a car seat at the airport.