Posted February 3rd, 2013, 11:04 AM
We travel with our two boys, who both require restraints in vehicles. Wee have developed a variety of ways of bringing car seats on airplanes, because it is important to us. You are correct in saying that not everyone travels with their car seats, but some of us do and are more than willing to share our experiences.
I'm assuming you will drive to the airport and your child is in an infant (bucket) seat. Do you plan on bringing a stroller? If you do, and your car seat fits on the stroller, you're set. I not, there are stroller frames that are very small and collapsible that could be used to turn the car seat into a stroller. On board the aircraft, you will need a seat for your child in order to install the car seat. Installation on an aircraft is exactly like a lap seat belt installation in your car. The only catch to this is if your car seat requires a base, some infant seats can be installed without the base, some need the base. If you can tell me what kind of car seat you have I can be more specific
. If your child is a "lap child", then the car seat will need to be gate checked with the stroller. Do consider getting a seat for your baby, as unrestrained children can be thrown around the cabin during turbulence, even when an adult is trying to hold them. Be warned, airlines have been known to break or otherwise render unusable many items, including car seats and strollers. I tend to use the car seat on board and gate check a cheap stroller, but that's me. If you use a vehicle with seatbelts to get to the port, simply reinstall the car seat in that vehicle. If there are no seatbelts, then the vehicle is designed to protect the occupants without the seatbelt, but research in Canada has shown that children under the size of an savage 4 year old could still be injured in these vehicles. (I reference Canadian information because I am a Canadian car seat tech.)
At your destination, your child goes back into the car seat clicked onto the stroller. That gets you right onto the ship, where the car seat goes on the bottom of your closet. It could be used as a baby rocking chair in a pinch too!
IMHO infant seats are probably the easiest to use while travelling. The next seat up, usually called a convertible seat, is much heavier to use, but there are tricks for those seats too
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