Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

There can be 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 BoardingArea articles from awhile ago by Ed from Pizza in Motion and Summer from Mommy Points (since migrated to The Points Guy).

The facts are that your child is definitely safer in a car seat than in your arms.  True, if the plane crashes from 30,000 feet, a car seat 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.  When I first wrote this post, our youngest was 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.

(SEE ALSO: I’m calling it now – no more free “lap toddlers” on flights)

But in any case, we chose the car seat anyways for a variety of reasons

Lugging the car seat around the airport

One of the cons often given against bringing the car seat 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 🙂

a car with luggage in the back

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

(SEE ALSO: Can you save seats with Southwest Airlines seating?)

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…)

This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as This may impact how and where links appear on this site. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers and that compensation may impact on how and where card products appear on the site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners and I do not include all card companies, or all available card offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers and other offers and benefits listed on this page. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit to learn more. Other links on this page may also pay me a commission - as always, thanks for your support if you use them

User Generated Content Disclosure: Points With a Crew encourages constructive discussions, comments, and questions. Responses are not provided by or commissioned by any bank advertisers. These responses have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the responsibility of the bank advertiser to respond to comments.