Travel with infant

Old Oct 16th, 2005, 12:28 PM
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Travel with infant

will be traveling with an 11 month old, for the first time. I will purchase a seat for the baby. However, I have gotten various answers from the airlines about car seats. I was told I could bring one if I want or I could just buckle the baby in the seat.Will a seat belt hold an 11 month old? What do you suggest. Do you bring the big car seat(as she is out of the infant seat) on the plane or a booster seat or what??? I am renting a car with a car seat when I get to my destination.
Please help

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Old Oct 16th, 2005, 12:51 PM
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The real question should be, How will the baby be the most comfortable? I really don't think a seat belt will hold a baby that age if she decides to wiggle. Will she stay still for take off and landings? If she will, then I would not bother with a car seat.

Being able to sit without the car seat might be more comfortable for her if it's a long trip. She could curl up and put her head in your lap for a nap.
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Old Oct 16th, 2005, 02:32 PM
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The airline will only accept car seats that are FAA certified. Look on the carseat for some sort of sticker that says it's FAA approved. Otherwise, you won't be able to use it on the plane. Most booster seats are unacceptable.
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Old Oct 16th, 2005, 04:59 PM
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Please bring your child's car seat on the plane. Your child will not be safe with just the plane's seat belt in case of heavy turbulence or other circumstances. I've read horror stories about young children flying out of lap belts and their parents arms during heavey turbulence or difficult landings.

We've flown multiple times with our young children, bringing both car seats and booster seats on the plane. On our first trip, my son was also 11 months old. Because he was familiar and comfortable in his car seat, he slept a good portion of the flight from Boston to Orlando. He got out of his seat at times when the seat belt sign was off, but I was reassured that he was safely fastened in when necessary.

It's really not a big deal to bring the seat. Many airlines let families with young children board first, giving you a chance to get your seat strapped in before the plane gets crowded. One suggestion is to have one parent take the car seat on board at first boarding, while the other parent waits with the child until the last boarding call, limiting the time the child has to sit on the plane.

As far as which car seats are allowed on the plane, while it's true that the FAA recommends using car seats approved for airplane use, I think that most newer models are. And I've certainly never seen personnel checking to see if the car seat was FAA approved. Honestly, I don't think airline employees could care less what kind of seat you bring on. We've brought car seats on board for our kids when they were under 2 and booster seats for our toddlers. I have found that once our kids hit 3 or 4, depending on how big they are for their age, they're more comfortable with just the plane belt and seem quite secure with it.

One additional perk: You could also cancel your rental car seat at your destination, which often cost as much as $10/day.

Good luck! If you're looking for ideas for entertaining your child during the flight, there's been some good threads here on the topic.
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 11:42 AM
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Most booster seats are NOT approved for airplane use because they need to be used with a shoulder harness (their purpose is to put the child at the right height for the shoulder harness) which airplane seats do not have. But an 11 month old would never be in a booster anyhow (not recommended for children under 4) so it's a non-issue.
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 12:05 PM
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My husband and I travel quite a bit with our 2-1/2-year-old son, so we bought a stroller/car-seat/dining booster all in one that is also FAA certified. We found it to be very convenient, and worth the price if you plan on traveling a lot. It cuts down on the gear you have to bring, and you won't have to worry about the quality of the car seats that are provided by car rental companies.

Here's a link if you're interested:
http://www.onestepahead.com/product/...91755/117.html
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 02:01 PM
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Just to echo what others have said, bring along your own carseat. The seat belts on the plane are not appropriate for children under two, if not older IMO. I purchased a lighter weight carseat for air travel with my daughter, as opposed to the super heavy Eddie Bauer seat that is set up in my car. I have flown several times with her (and she is not yet two) and have always been grateful that I brought my own carseat along. Plus, if you bring you're own seat, you'll save on renting one with your car rental. And, it's the seat that you and your child is most familar with... and so on and so on...

If you are traveling with someone, he/she can hold the car seat as you walk through the airport. If you are travelling alone, bring along a bungie cord so you can strap the car seat to the back of the stroller and wheel it along.

Good luck!
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 03:13 PM
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Sounds like you've got the car seat questioned covered.

We've been traveling with our two kids since my son was just a few months old. At 4 and 2 1/2 they're actually pretty experienced fliers.

We've always found the biggest challenge to be boredom. To combat that, they each have their own rolling suitcase and we let them take some toys/books on the plane. When they were younger, we'd take away a few of their favorite toys and reintroduce them on the plane.

You might also consider a portable DVD player if you think you'll be traveling with your child on a regular basis. The prices on DVD players have really come down and we've found the best way to keep our kids occupied is one of their favorite shows.
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 05:19 PM
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I have an 18 month old who has been flying since she was 4 months old and has always been in a car seat on the plane. It's simply the safest way for her to travel. Even now, she's not really big enough to sit in the seat on her own and there is no way she will sleep on a flight unless she is strapped into a car seat.

I don't like/trust rental car agency car seats. You really don't know if they have ever been in an accident and, while the agency will assure you that the proper sized seat will be there for you, it's not unheard of for them to be "missing" when you arrive. They are also very expensive to rent. It's a pain to haul a Britax or an Evenflo through an airport, but it can be done and I prefer that extra peace of mind (and saving the $$).

My other suggestions are to forget about bringing a stroller in the airport - use a sling or hip carrier instead - it will keep your hands free and can be stuffed under your child's seat on the plane. Use a backpack as a diaper bag. Also bring plenty of snacks and drinks, a change of clothing for both you and your child (I had to spend 2 hours in a vomit covered shirt - never again - I now bring a clean t-shirt and shorts), and enough diapers to get you through about 36 hours (in case of flight delays/leaks/whatever).

At 11 months, my daughter slept through most of the flights, and would stay occupied with stupid things like shredding a magazine when she was awake. When all else failed, there were repeated singings of "C is for Cookie".

It's not as bad as you think. Good luck and have fun.
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Old Oct 17th, 2005, 08:39 PM
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I'm no expert here (waited until my son was 6 for airline travel), but I cannot imagine placing an 11 month old in a seat and relying on the seatbelt! I think Ahhnold is absolutely correct here.

Having observed lots of folks traveling with small children, the best organized seem to be those with a stroller/car seat combo where the car seat is used on the plane and the "frame" is gate checked, whereupon they can wheel the child around until boarding, use the seat on the plane (where the little one seems used to same and usually goes right to sleep), and collect the frame immediately upon arrival for further wheeling all about. Those with very large baskets underneath seem particularly efficient.

Same goes for being out and about once you arrive at your destination. The frame collapses and you have a car seat the child is used to.

Gosh, but I wish such efficient equipment had been available when my son was small!
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Old Oct 18th, 2005, 07:02 AM
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DKJBooks - I agree with you about the car-seat/frame combinations, they are great. The problem is that they only work for a child that is still small enough for an infant seat, which generally means under 6 months old. Once a child outgrows the infant seat, a regular car seat can't be used with the frame carrier - they just don't fit. Parents of toddlers wish we could be that organized, but sadly, we cannot.
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Old Oct 18th, 2005, 07:30 AM
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I think Ahnold has a very valid point.
 
Old Oct 18th, 2005, 04:22 PM
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Bgans suggestion of using a hip carrier is good, but I'd like to add another suggestion. If you use the hip carrier, still bring the stroller. Depending on the size of the stroller and the size/weight of your car seat, you can balance the car seat in the stroller, plus stuff a bag or two in the basket underneath while walking through the airport. This has always worked well for us. It's easy to check your stroller at the gate...you just leave it outside the plane door when boarding and it's waiting for you at the door when you arrive.

One other suggestion for carrying your car seat...they do make a harness that straps to your car seat, then you strap it to yourself like a backpack. My husband used one (we borrowed it from a friend) on our last trip and it worked well.
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Old Oct 18th, 2005, 07:09 PM
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Just came home from a 4+4 hour trip on airplanes with my 18mo old. I had purchased a seat (1/2 price on NW Air) I am so glad I did! We took his car seat for safety (plus I don't trust the rentals). Being in the seat gave him the idea that he needed to stay in his car seat until we got him out (as opposed to our laps or the chair he could slide off), plus he slept in it easily. Remember to nurse, bottle or give a pacifier to help their ears at takeoff and landing. We did have at least one flight attendant check the seat for FAA approval.

Be sure to give them lots of exercise on layovers. We saved eating for the plane since it took up time I didn't have to amuse him. We sent Dad with the seat on first then we boarded last, Dad got funny looks until we got there but who cares!

I found a new backpack (ergocarrier.com) that is great for me. It was small, packed easily (no frame). I sent the stroller home with Dad and used the pack for a week. Depending where you go sidewalks/easy terrain are not always a given. Plus some little guys want human contact and this carrier puts them closer than a stroller. Little A fights sleep in his stroller but he was so exhausted even he fell asleep in the carrier. Expensive but I am soooo glad I bought it!

Sara
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