Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Airplane: car seat or no car seat?

We will ba taking a 3 hour flight with an energetic 18 month old. I want to bring the car seat to "contain" her othwise she will be all over the place!

What did you do for flying with a toddler?

Re: Airplane: car seat or no car seat?

  • The most recent flight we had was a 2-hour flight with an 11-mo.  She is a very squirmy baby, but DH and I decided to hold her to save the $ of buying her a ticket.  It went just okay.  It basically took both of us- one to try to hold her, the other to entertain her.  I didn't think to put her in the Ergo- a friend recently traveled with her 13-mo and said he did great in the Ergo.  I would have preferred to buckle my LO in to her carseat in her own seat, but it was too expensive for us.  My advice is to take new toys/books, and snacks to keep LO entertained!  Also, be sure to give LO a sippy/paci/snack during takeoff and landing to help with the pressure on their ears.  Good luck!

     

     

  • Also, make sure you offer a sippy/paci/snack during takeoff and landing to help with the pressure on LO's ears.  Good luck!

     

  • If you can afford the extra ticket, you may prefer the extra seat & carseat to strap her in.  I haven't flown with DD since she was just a few months old, because I am 100% certain that now she would have no part in sitting nicely in my lap for 3 hours, esp at takeoff/landing when its not an option, and she is not a lap-sitter to begin with.
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  • We will be flying in January, when DS will be 18 months.  We did not purchase him a seat.  The plan is to wear him onto the plane and then nurse him during take off and hope he falls asleep.  We do have a seat for DD, who will be almost 5 at the time, so they can share a seat once we are at altitude and she can unbuckle.  They get very little screen time, so we are going to download a couple movies and games on the Kindle to help entertain them.  We will also bring coloring things as they both like to color.  
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  • Just last week we flew (2 hrs & 3hrs) with our 15 month old for the first time. I was extremely nervous because we also decided not to buy a seat for money reasons and J never wants to sit in our laps. I had bought a few new books/small toys that I hid and kept them under the seat for if and when he started to fuss. I was surprised how well he did that we never even took the new books out. He was much to enthralled with the sky mall magazine (finding all of the dogs).

     Also, we flew southwest and one their website it states that they offer discounted infant fairs (different than child fares) but you have to call the airline. I'm not sure how much of a discount it is but it wouldn't hurt to call whichever airline you are flying and see if they offer the same thing. 

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  • I flew with DD at 5m.o. and it was a dream. Fast forward to this summer when we flew when she was 16 months and she was a squirmy little worm. It's a toss up though-  a car seat would contain her, but is it worth the extra $ for a seat?

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  • We flew when DD was just over 17 months.  We had new toys, new snacks, a portable DVD player with new shows and a movie that she had never seen.  Plus you can always walk up and down the aisle once the seat belt sign is turned off.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  We got lucky on the return flight the row accross from us was completely empty so DD and I moved over there for her to move around.  Good Luck!!!
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  • Oh and we had a sippy cup for takeoff so she would swallow and so her ears wouldn't hurt. 
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  • LO was in a car seat the entire flight, minus a diaper change & a slight fuss at bottle time.
  • I'm very pro-carseat for safety so that would be my vote.  Besides, my kid would never, ever sit still in my lap for that long.
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  • I just flew in August with my then 18 month old and it was a NIGHTMARE. If I were going to do it again I would put her in the car seat- when shes in it she knows she has to stay in it (we drove 16 hours a month later without a problem). To say my daughter is active is an understatement though. The steward offered my husband and I vodka nips to "take for later" if thats any indication ;) 
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  • We flew 2.5 hour flights in Sept.  DS was 22 months and is very very busy.  On the way there we lucked out and the flight wasn't full so we could bring the car seat on for free.  Best of all worlds.  No such luck on the way back.  It was painful, but it was just 2.5 hours and he was way overtired becuase it was at the end of vacation and he got sick the last two days so didn't sleep well overnight.  He did fall asleep in the last 30 in. which was a miracle becuase he never sleeps out anywhere.  If the flight is expensice I wouldn't buy a seat but hope that its' not full.  Good luck!
  • We've flown twice with DD once when she was 5 months and it was a piece of cake and then this summer when she was 17 months. I was really worried about keeping her busy, but she was great! I brought plenty of snacks, new toys, and the iPad for games/movies. Neither time did she have a car seat. We also had my parents and inlaws flying with us both times so maybe that made a difference? We had plenty of people to pass her too throughout the flight.
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  • image LinzE:
    I just flew in August with my then 18 month old and it was a NIGHTMARE. If I were going to do it again I would put her in the car seat when shes in it she knows she has to stay in it we drove 16 hours a month later without a problem. To say my daughter is active is an understatement though. The steward offered my husband and I vodka nips to "take for later" if thats any indication ;nbsp;


    We had a similar terrible experience with DS when he was 13 months. We decided to hold him instead of buying the additional seat. Big mistake! We will never do that again. He cried the entire time. And we had a ton of stuff to occupy him.

    Next time, we'll buy seats for all of us seats. I've heard that sometimes if you bring your carseat to the gate they will give you the extra seat for free if there are empty seats on plane? We were not so lucky last time.
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  • I would say take the carseat but I know it can be pricey depending on your flight. We do a two hour flight to the inlaws often and have never bought a seat because the flight has never been full and we alomost always are able to take on the seat anyway. We are flying again for Christmas and don't expect an empty flight because of that holidays so I will gate check the seat and take my ergo on board.

    Our LO is 18 months and our savior is the iPad. Peekaboo and duck duck moose apps and maybe an Elmo show. He rarely gets to play with the iPad so he will happily play for 30 min on it and watch Elmo for nearly an hour. With reading and snacks the rest of the time the flights are pretty easy.  

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  • image lrn327:
    I'm very pro-carseat for safety so that would be my vote.  Besides, my kid would never, ever sit still in my lap for that long.

    This.  It's so much safer to fly with a carseat or a proper airline-approved harness.  How are you going to get into crash position with a kid on your lap, much less get the kid into one?  Plus, there's a great value to having some space of your own while flying.  We get him his own seat when we fly. 

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  • We are going to florida when DS will be 4.5 and DD will be 2.5 years old.  We are going to put DD in DS's car seat (his is airline rated, her's is not), I plan to not take her out at all and pray that she will sleep the whole flight.  I just hope it goes smoothly.
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  • image Karen1998:

    image lrn327:
    I'm very pro-carseat for safety so that would be my vote.  Besides, my kid would never, ever sit still in my lap for that long.

    This.  It's so much safer to fly with a carseat or a proper airline-approved harness.  How are you going to get into crash position with a kid on your lap, much less get the kid into one?  Plus, there's a great value to having some space of your own while flying.  We get him his own seat when we fly. 

    I couldn't agree more. To me, my child's safety is worth the price of an extra seat. I look at it this way, why are we required to strap our kid down in a car, but not on an airplane? 

      

  • We have flown with our daughter (19 months) on 5 different round trip flights. We never brought a car seat. If we don't have to buy a 3rd seat right now, we are fine with that! We also never needed a car seat at our destination (we borrowed ones there) so didn't feel like bringing something we didn't need. We always have a window seat, and lots of food and games. If you want any specific recommendations, let me know....

    Good luck! If you stay relaxed, she will too!

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  • Buy a ticket. Its the safest way to fly. Everything else on the plane gets strapped down, so why would it be ok to have a baby not secured? I am not being snarky either. I flew with DD as a lap baby once, and after becoming a car seat tech, I would never do it again. Chances of crashing are rare, but recent studies show that its hard for a parent to hold onto a child even in rough turbulence. Safety has no price.
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  •  Three weeks ago we flew for the first time with my 14month old to the west coast. We got lucky both ways and got the middle seat. On the way out we didn't know ahead if the middle seat was taken or not so we checked the car seat. DS went bonkers for the whole flight minus the one hour when he finally fell asleep. He was jumping up and down on the seat, tried to pull the hair of the passenger in front. He was very hard to control. On the way back we found out ahead of time that the middle seat was free again so we kept our car seat. It was night and day. DS slept for three hours and change. Then he calmly sat in his seat ate his snacks and watched his favorite shows on the iPad. We were amazed how much difference the car seat made. If you can try to get him in a free seat in his car seat, maybe ask to me moved around, it would make your life much easier. I know every kid is different but i think it can't hurt to have a car seat.
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  • Do not bring one. A car seat will not contain her, and it also pushes them closer to the seat in front of them (kicking). Sounds like you are buying her a seat, 3 seats is plenty of space. Go to the $ store and get lots of cheap toys that are new to her and snacks. 
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  • image DonsWife:
    image Karen1998:

    image lrn327:
    I'm very pro-carseat for safety so that would be my vote.  Besides, my kid would never, ever sit still in my lap for that long.

    This.  It's so much safer to fly with a carseat or a proper airline-approved harness.  How are you going to get into crash position with a kid on your lap, much less get the kid into one?  Plus, there's a great value to having some space of your own while flying.  We get him his own seat when we fly. 

    I couldn't agree more. To me, my child's safety is worth the price of an extra seat. I look at it this way, why are we required to strap our kid down in a car, but not on an airplane? 

      It's more like a bus, they don't use car seats either.

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