The first duty of a caring parent is to ensure the safety of children. But ever since Air Canada forced a mom to remove her toddler from her travel car seat during a flight, there has been a lot of debate on the safest way to seat a child when flying.
While most of the parents prefer holding their infants in arms during a flight, the children need a specialized child restraint system (travel car seat) for safety during any case of unsteady movement of the plane.
These travel car seats must meet some set Safety Standards and should have an approved label. If this makes you confused, here is all that you need to know while choosing a travel car seat for your little munchkins.
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What’s The Best Travel Car Seat?
Different children have different needs. We are listing some of the best Travel Car Seats here for you, so that you may choose the best one suiting your requirements.
1. Best Budget Travel Car Seat: Cosco Apt 50
Cosco Apt50 is a lightweight, FAA-approved travel car seat that comes within the budget of most of the people. If your baby weighs around 5-40 pounds, and you are confused if you should choose a front-facing sear or a rear-facing seat, this travel car seat is the best one for you. Cosco Apt50 can be used in both; front-facing, and rear-facing modes.
2. Best Adjustable Travel Car Seat: Graco Size4Me 65
The Graco Size4Me 65 travel car seat can be adjusted according to the size and growth of your child. Any kid under 65 pounds weight can use this travel car seat. This adjustable seat adjusts with most of the kids and fits in on most of the airplane seats.
3. Best Lightweight Travel Car Seat: Evenflo Tribute LX
If you are looking for a car seat that is super lightweight and comfortable, then this FAA-approved travel car seat is exclusively made for you. It is completely washable and comes in a variety of color options.
4. Best Slim Travel Car Seat: Chicco KeyFit 30
If your baby weighs not more than a few pounds, the Chicco KeyFit 30 is the best comfortable option for you. Above all, It is slim, safe, and fits on most airplane seats.
5. Best Convertible Lightweight Travel Car Seat: Combi Compact Coccoro
The Combi Compact Coccoro is one of the small-sized and lightweight versions of travel car seats. It is convertible and slim. The Combi Compact Coccoro is suitable for kids weighing up to 40 pounds in front-facing and up to 22 pounds in a rear-facing manner.
6. Best Infant Travel Car Seat for Frequent Travelers: Doona
Doona Infant Travel Car Seat can serve as both; a stroller and a travel car seat. It completes the FAA safety standards and comes within the budget. With these multifunctional options, Doona Infant Travel Car becomes the best option for the parents who travel frequently.
7. Best Travel Car Seat for Bigger Kids: BubbleBum
With most of the airlines discouraging the use of booster seat for big kids, BubbleBum Travel Car Seat becomes the best option for parents who are looking for something that can suit their growing kids. It is lightweight, comfortable, and inflatable.
Do Kids Really Need To Be In Car Seats On A Plane?
Whether or not you should use a child travel car seat on a plane depends totally on the guidelines issued by your airline.
The Manufacturer’s Instructions that come with your seat can help you a lot in deciding if it meets the guidelines issued by your airlines or not.
It should be appropriate for your child’s height and weight requirements, and you should also be careful if it is front-facing or rear-facing.
The Federal Aviation Administration of America hasn’t mentioned any compulsion on using travel car seat, but it recommends using government-approved for safety purposes.
Besides this, you should also know that not all the flights have the same amount of gap between their seats, and not all seats are good enough to be used on a plane.
Choosing a branded or expensive seat never gives you a guarantee that it is safe. It may be safe for your child in your car, but it may not be safe for your child on the flight.
Few Checkpoints to Decide If Car Seat is Safe For Planes As Well
- Make sure that your travel car seat is FAA (Federal Aviation Administration of America) approved.
- Check the website of your airlines to know the specifications of seats in your flight. Compare them with the dimensions of your car seat before taking it along.
- It should be according to the guidelines and restrictions issued by your airlines.
- If you are using a car seat, make sure you don’t choose an aisle seat for your child. Prefer to use only a window seat so that the other people don’t have to face problems in case of an emergency.
- Make sure you go through the installation instructions once before to be familiar with it.
- Check if the seat is a front-facing or rear-facing one, and also check if your flight is compatible with the front-facing or a rear-facing travel car seat.
- If you are using a rear-facing one for your baby, we would recommend you to make a relative or friend sit on the seat that is in front of it so that your baby may not feel problems with the reclination.
Do Car Seats Need to Be Installed Differently On Planes?
Seats in an aeroplane have different requirements than that of a car. The forward-facing Travel Car Seats need extra care and adjustments as compared to rear-facing when in an aeroplane.
Installing a forward-facing child restraint system:
Front-facing are compatible with most of the flight seats, but we will still advise you to check if the dimensions of your travel car seat are compatible with the size of the seat of your flight.
- Before installing, position the harness straps to fit the child properly. When possible, raise the armrest to allow more room for your child.
- Install the travel car seat always in the center seat of the airplane in a forward-facing manner. Make sure; you choose a window seat for this purpose.
- Ensure you fasten the seat belt as tightly as possible. It should not move more than one inch even if you try to move it forcefully.
- Lower the armrest now, and seat the child in the car seat. Slide the harness straps over your child’s shoulder. Insert the buckle tongues to make them engaged. Now, it comes the turn of the chest clip. Position the chest pit at the armpit level. Make adjustments as needed.
Installing a rear-facing child restraint system:
In the case of rear-facing child restraint systems, most of the parents find it almost impossible to secure the base that comes with their travel car seats. Even if they try to secure such a seat without the base, a seat belt extender can be a help.
- Ask for a seat belt extender from the flight attendant.
- Slide the extender’s buckle into the original.
- Buckle even the other side.
- Fasten the seat belt by pulling both ends.
- Check the car seat and ensure it is tightly fastened.
- Keep checking it from time to time and readjust if it gets loose.
What If My Kid Uses A Booster Seat?
A booster seat is meant for those who exceed the dimension and weight limits fixed for front and rear travel car seat, but their airplane seat belts still do not fit them.
Most of the people are of the view that booster seats, child vests, harnesses, and loop belts should not be used on an airplane, but to the question, if your kid should use a booster seat or not, we will simply ask you to go with the policies of your chosen airline.
Even the FAA doesn’t recommend a child using such options because, according to them, a child big enough for a car seat should only use the standard airplane seat as these options don’t provide the best possible protection to a big kid. However, some airlines may still allow you to use a booster travel car seat for your child.