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There is a bit of debate amongst family travel bloggers and even family travelers in general about what to do with infants while traveling on a plane. Here were some recent BoardingArea articles by Ed from Pizza in Motion and Summer from Mommy Points.
The facts are that your child is definitely safer in a carseat than in your arms. True, if the plane crashes from 30,000 feet, a carseat is unlikely to make the difference, but think more along the lines of turbulence as well as taking off and landing
On a recent family air trip, we had to face this dilemma. Our youngest is a little older than 2, so technically she couldn’t have ridden as a lap child anyways, though I bet we probably could have gotten away with it. But in any case, we chose the carseat anyways for a variety of reasons
Lugging the car seat around the airport
One of the cons often given against bringing the carseat is having to lug it around the airport. I can definitely see why that would be an issue, though it wasn’t too bad for us. Although we ended up with 17 (yes SEVENTEEN) different pieces of luggage at the airport, I had a pretty good system that left us with no lost luggage there and back! That’s one good reason to have so many kids – gives you lots of helpers to haul stuff around 🙂
Where does the car seat go?
So once you’re on the airplane, where does the car seat go? We had an issue with this on our recent family trip to Reno. Our flight was only about 2/3 full, so since we were in the back, we thought we’d put the car seat in the middle seat with my wife in the aisle.
Our thinking was that it would be unlikely that anyone would choose to sit there (we were on Southwest which doesn’t assign seats). I mean seriously – is there a worse seat in an airplane than all the way in the back next to someone else’s toddler? : -D
But then we were alerted to a problem
One of the flight attendants came by and told us that because the car seat was sticking out past the edge of the seat, we wouldn’t be able to have it there if someone DID come by and sit in the window seat, since we’d be blocking their exit in case of an emergency.
That makes sense, but I was not amused since we had actually just gotten the kid to sleep in the car seat a few minutes before….
Thankfully, nobody came by to sit there, so we were able to keep the car seat in place (not that she slept very long…)