Carseat in South Korea and Japan?

Sep 17th, 2006, 11:49 AM
  #1  
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Carseat in South Korea and Japan?

Hello,
My husband and I are discussing whether we should bring a car seat on our trip to Korea and Japan. I understand that car seats are not customary in Korea. We have a heavy Britax seat that would fit well on the plane, but I'm wondering if it's just going to be extremely bulky to lug around.
Thanks so much,
Montrealer
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Sep 17th, 2006, 06:30 PM
  #2  
 
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We always used a carseat for the airplane...except once when our daugther was nine months old, I took her to the states as a lap baby. That was the most horrible experience...uncomfortable for both of us is putting it mildly, turbulence was bad over the Pacific and i worried that if I slept I'd lose hold of her. I booked a seat for her for the return trip upon arrival in Boston. If you haven't already purchased a seat for your little one, I'd advise very strongly that you do. We used a Britax Roundabout when our daughter was younger and it was a breeze to install in planes and cars alike.

If you have not purchased an actual seat for your son on the airplane, you may not get one...flights in and out of Japan are just about always full or overbooked, with open seats being very rare. It's likely that without purchasing a seat you will not get a seat for him, and will end up holding him for the trip, and if you have your seat with you, you'll have to check it - big problem, as luggage is not treated gently and the seat could be damaged which may commpromise the performance. It also could be lost. Gate checking can lessen the chance of loss, but the chance of damage is still very real.

Britax will advise you to purchase a seat on the plane and use your carseat. At 14 months, unless you have a very large baby who is over 30 pounds, you will use the seat rear-facing on the airplane, just as you do in the car. Same rule applies, rear-facing until it is no longer possible because of weight or head over the top of the seat shell. See www.carseat.org for very good information.

Don't know about Korea and carseats, but in Japan, we used our Britax in our own car. We also used it in taxis when we traveled. But not all taxis have rear seatbelts, though nowadays more and more do.

If you don't intend to use it in cars, you could save carrying it around with you by maybe leaving it in the luggage storage at the airport.

Whatever you do, don't plan on using one of those harnesses or vests like the Baby B'Air on the plane...they are banned for use during takeoff, landing and turbulence (the times you'd want something, right?) because studies show that attaching the baby to an adult is far more dangerous to the child than being completely unrestrained (crushing by heavy adult body). When you think about the rules that everything on an airplane, down to the last coffee cup, must be secured during takeoff, landing and turbulence...and babies do not...it's not logical.

The rule that babies under age 2 do not need a seat or restraint goes back many years to an old study that said babies who travel by car are at more of a statistical risk than babies who travel by air. The gov't decided that to require all passengers, including infants, to have a seat would make some families choose to drive rather than fly, so they exempted babies from the seat requirement.

What I would do is bring the seat and use it on the plane. Depending on how you are planning on getting around Korea, either leave it in the airport or use it in the car in Korea. In Japan, you will be able to have it wrapped at the baggage delivery service in Narita and send it to KIX to await your departure if you plan to travel by train.

I would definitely, without question, for safety and comfort, purchase a seat and use the carseat on the flights.
KimJapan is offline  
Sep 17th, 2006, 11:52 PM
  #3  
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Hello again...
Our plan is to arrive very early at the airport and get the bulkhead seat for our son to sleep on. We would then bring the car seat along, or use the bassinet for him to sleep in. Have you ever heard of this? I also was thinking of just setting up the carseat right on the table flap of the bulhead seat (that folds down to hold the baby bassinet they provide). I am pretty sure it's to late for us to get a separate seat for him now, as per our travel agent.
Thanks so much for all your help,
montrealer
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Sep 18th, 2006, 02:44 AM
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Some comments.

Bulkhead seats are horrible for babies who are too big for the bassinet as the armrests do not go up. Sit anywhere else if you think he'll lie down on a seat and sleep, but the bulkhead won't allow this because of the armrests. The tables for the bulkhead seats are in the immovable armrests. No lying down across 2 seats in bulkhead rows.

The bassinets do not sit on tables, they hook into the wall into these little holes in the wall. You could not possible sit a carseat on any table anyway. The bassinets are very small. Our daughter was too long for it at 9 weeks old. A 14 month old is definitely, without doubt or question, too long...and they usually have a weight limit too...check with the airline.

I can't encourage you enough to get him a seat...but if you can't, I would leave the carseat at home, as it's main purpose on a trip like yours would be for safety and comfort on the long plane ride. Without his own seat, the carseat must be checked as any convertable seat is too large to fit in the overhead bins. Checking a carseat is just something I would never do for the reasons stated above.

I always choose my seats way in advance. Why don't you at least choose seats. Call the airline and find out if the flight is sold out. If not, choose seats that are aisla and window with an empty seat between you and hope it doesn't get used. There have been times that I've asked for and actually gotten that empty seat between 2 us blocked...not often, but it has happened. At the very least, get your seats before going to the airport...the good seats are all pre-chosen, believe me.

Actually, you should call the airline anyway to 1. ask about the weight and height limitations for their bassinets and 2. to reserve one, as you don't just get one when you are on the plane, they have to be reserved in advance.
KimJapan is offline  
Sep 18th, 2006, 09:27 AM
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Hi Montrealer,

You might also want to check out the airlines forum where there is a similar thread on bassinet/bulkhead.

A couple of questions: How old is your child--does he/she young enough to fit into bassinet? How are you planning to travel once you're in Korea/Japan? If you're using public transport/walking a lot, then carseats may not be practical. If you need a buggy, that's one more thing you need to schlep around.

To be honest, I never took carseats when flying, though as KimJapan said, I strongly advise against doing a lap-baby for such a long flight.
W9London is offline  
Sep 18th, 2006, 10:45 PM
  #6  
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Hi all, and thanks for the gracious feedback. I did call the airline, and they said that the weight limit was 30 lbs and, I think, 30 inches. Our son is a teeny guy, so it seemed to be a good idea.
I am convinced from all the great feedback that we'll leave the carseat at home, but I think that that getting him a seat of his own is a bust at this point both financially and ligistically (plane is pretty well sold out).
Montrealer is offline  
Sep 18th, 2006, 11:08 PM
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Which airline are you flying? Really double check on the bassinet size...I'm not kidding when I say my daughter at 9 weeks was too long for the one on Northwest. The weight wasn't an issue, but she was diagonal in the box and jammed in there at that. The inside, usable dimensions of the bassinet are quite a bit smaller than the dimensions on the outside of the contraption.

I'm not trying to be contrary, really, but I am having a hard time imagining a 14 month old fitting in the bassinet.

I've seen bassinets in use on Thai, Garuda, Northwest, United and ANA and they all look the same to me. A rigid rectangle of pipe or something with a canvas box shape...it "plugs" into the wall of the plane with a rod on each side. A cardboard box fits inside the canvas part, which is then lined with a blanket. With the bassinet in place, the passenger seated in the seat it goes with has very little room left in front of him/her.

I would call the airline directly and ask about the possibility of amending your current booking to reflect the addition of another seat booked at an infant occupying own seat fare. There is a substantial discount for infants in seats, and if your travel agent didn
KimJapan is offline  
Sep 18th, 2006, 11:19 PM
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Hit reply by mistake

Anyway, if your travel agent did not inform you of the infant in seat fare and advise you of the option (let alone encourage you to get the seat for safety and comfort) you did not get good service at all.

Give the airline another call, and ask about the bassinet again, b/c I just don't see it working. Think about it this way...the bassinet is as long as your seat is wide. If your child can lie across your lap on not hang off much, the bassinet will work. If not, forget it. Remember, the bassinets are designed for infants, not toddlers.

Ask for the infant seat discount. It varies between airlines, but can be as much as 70%. And with that seat, you get a baggage allowance, your child can earn miles for the flight, and a child/infant meal will be provided IF you request it. The lap fare provides you with nothing other than the right to hold your child for the entire trip and the bassinet, IF no one else has booked them before you and IF your child fits into it.

IF you get a seat, then if your son is indeed very small - small enough that you think he'll fit into a bassinet on the plane - then he will also fit into an infant carseat/carrier like the Graco Snugride. Actually, that can be your test...if he fits in an infant seat with at least an inch of seat shell over his head, he'll likely, but not surely, fit in the bassinet, at least diagonally. If his head is over the top of the infant seat, forget the bassinet.

And, if he fits in the infant seat, then I still recommend you buy the seat...and carry the infant seat with you as your carseat...it's smaller, lighter and much more portable than a Britax anything (but I'm guessing you have a Marathon), and you can install infant seats quickly in cars without using the base at all and just following the belt path indicated in the instructions for use without the base. Simple.

KimJapan is offline  
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