If you want your child to be safe while traveling, then a car seat is one of the essential items you should bring along.
On the other hand, car seats are a struggle to move around, especially through places like airports.
Here we will present you with 6 tips on how to travel with a car seat:
1. Choose the Right Car Seat for Travelling
Most of the car seats are heavy and unwieldy. They are impossible to pack and even worse to get into a plane.
Fortunately, there are hundreds of car seat models available and a handful of these are light and portable, which make it easier to keep your children safe while you travel.
ParentingNerd is regularly releasing a list of car seats with the best options for every parent.
2. Can the Car Seat Fly for Free?
When it comes to US Airlines, you will be able to check your car seat for free at the gates or at the ticket counter.
But, if you intend to travel on an international airline with your car seat, then the rules will vary.
When you check certain airlines’ websites, you will see that they offer either to travel your car seat for free only if your child is under the age of 2 or they count it towards the checked luggage allowance.
3. How to Protect Your Checked-in Car Seat
Once your car seat is checked in with the airline, it’s condition is out of your hands. Mostly, you should consider how many germs will come into contact with the seat.
You can always buy a protective bag to keep the car seat clean and germ-free as you travel on your family vacation.
Most stores will have a variety of sizes to accommodate the size and style of your car seat.
4. What Are the Dangers of Checking in a Car Seat?
It is not safe to use a car seat that has been in a car accident. The airline will damage your car seat just the way they do with your luggage.
There is a huge possibility of a carrier damaging your car seat to the point where it is not safe or functional to be used anymore. The issue is that there is no actual way to predict what can happen to the car seat.
You can’t know what is happening to it after you check it in. Also, you won’t be able to notice all the possible damages.
Having the car seat with you on the plane is the only way to prevent it from getting damaged. On the other hand, buying a car seat for a child younger than 2 can be very expensive.
Not everyone can afford it. Here are a few alternatives that can help you to save some money:
- One way to eliminate your car seat from being handled by many people is by checking it at the gate. This way, the car seat will be walked over to the plane, and it will be handed to you upon landing.
- You might want to look into the option of buying a car seat that you will exclusively use only when you travel.
- If you are going to rent a car at your travel destination, you also have the option of renting a car seat with it as well. It will cost you some extra money, of course, but it will save you from all the troubles of traveling with a car seat. The downside would be you not knowing what condition the car seat will be in.
- If your travel destination is visiting very close relatives, maybe it would be best for you to buy a car seat and keep it over there. This way, it will not have to travel with you.
5. Getting the Car Seat to the Gate
The feeling of having a child sitting in a car seat on the plane or just checking the car seat at the gate can be a bit overwhelming because you don’t know how you are going to manage it all.
Needless to say, the car seat is heavy. On top of that, if you have another bag, it just won’t be easy for you to carry all that weight.
Here are some suggestions on how to make it all easier for you:
- Having backpack straps on the car seat will make it easier for carrying it around.
- You can snap the car seat into the stroller frame, and you will be able to push it around.
- Getting a car seat transporter is also a good idea because they have wheels and extra space for your suitcase, for example.
6. How to Use the Car Seat on the Plane
You will have to buy an extra seat for your child if you want them to sit next to in the car seat on the plane.
It is required for your car seat to be FAA approved, search for a label on the car seat that says if it is, or is it not FAA approved.
If you can’t find the label, search for that information in the car seat’s manual.
There is a possibility that the car seat won’t fit in the airplane’s seat. To avoid this, simply measure the car seat and ask the airline if it is compatible with its seats.
The car seat will also need to be installed next to the window because it must not block the exit paths of other individuals sitting in that row.
There are non-US based airlines that require you to give details about the car seat at booking, and some will simply not allow you to put the child in the car seat during the flight.
Leaving Your Car Seat at Home
Maybe the smartest thing to do with your car seat is to leave it at home.
Leaving the car seat at home will save you lots from lots of troubles and you can just worry about how to entertain your kids on the plane.
Cities like Chicago, NYC, or Tokyo offer many ways of public transportation, so you don’t really need to have a car seat for your child. A stroller or a baby carrier is good enough if you only plan to use buses and trains.
In many big cities, Uber will provide you a car with a car seat, and it will not cost you a fortune.