What Car Seat Should A 4 Year Old Be In Flying with Your Baby – Tips to Make Your Trip Enjoyable

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Flying with Your Baby – Tips to Make Your Trip Enjoyable

So you will get on a plane with your baby. Before you go on a flight in the US, you must find out the safety rules and regulations of the particular airline and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). These rules govern what you can and cannot do with your child in flight. Most domestic airlines follow these guidelines:

  • Under 40 pounds or two years old, a child must either be carried on the lap of a paying passenger or be in an infant carrier such as a car seat or some other convertible restraint. Also, they must be located in the window seat in a row that does not exit. The child restraint system must have an FAA approval label and must be securely fastened to an airplane seat using the provided seat belt.
  • All children over 40 pounds must have their own seat and wear their seat belt securely on their hips. Booster seats are not permitted.

Baby on board

When traveling with an infant, you have one of two choices. The first is to carry your baby and travel with them in your lap. The airline will allow you to put your baby in a sling or carrier during the flight. However, during takeoff, turbulence and the seat belt on sign, and landing, you will be asked to remove your carrier (or sling) and hold your baby in your arms. If you choose this option, you will have to buy only one plane seat ticket, but this option has obvious security issues to consider, because they will only be held in your arms. Some airlines may not allow this option.

The second choice is to get an FAA approved car seat. Such a car seat should have a sticker to that effect stuck on it somewhere; generally you can find it on the bottom of the seat. If your car seat does not have a sticker attached to it, you will need to call the manufacturer and ask if the car seat you own is FAA approved or not.

If your baby’s car seat is approved, you will bring it with you on the plane and put it in the seat next to you. This travel option requires you to purchase an additional seat for your child, although you may be able to get a discount or a free seat on a less crowded flight if you ask. The carrier must be in a window seat so that other passengers are not blocked from getting in and out of their seats. Also, make sure it is no wider than sixteen inches, the width of most airplane seats.

If you go this route, and you’re traveling alone with your baby, you’ll quickly realize how much superhuman effort it will take to carry the car seat, your carry-on luggage, and your baby! Try this instead: Place a front carrier like a Snugli or Baby Bjorn with baby safely inside, then strap the car seat to your back using a Cheeky Monkey Pac Back. This way you will always have both your hands free.

Flying Options For Older Babies

If your baby is between 22 and 44 pounds, you have three options available. The first is to hold your child, who is under two years old, in your lap. This is the same scenario as if your child was still an infant. The second option is to use an FAA approved car seat that will be secured in the window seat of the plane.

The third and new option is a harness known as the CARES flight harness. This restraint, which is easy to store in your luggage or purse, can be used instead of a car seat by children between 22 and 44 pounds, or 1 to 4 years. The harness is FAA approved for flight and is less bulky than trying to carry your car seat through the airport and onto the plane. While the CARES flight harness can be a bit expensive at about $75, it also ensures your child is as safe as possible, which in my opinion is not expensive.

Flying with your baby or child can seem like a daunting process. However, with some research and planning, both you and your baby can be happy and safe on the plane. Always check with the airline you will be flying for any additional rules and regulations. This can usually be found on their website. Have a safe and happy trip!

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