Over the years I have been asked lots of questions about traveling with my children. Perhaps the most often asked and debated questions involve flying with car seats. I am a huge proponent of placing children in car seats on airplanes. Today I will address “WHY” and tomorrow I will write about “HOW.”
First let me just acknowledge, yes, this does require a little extra effort! But I firmly believe the benefit outweighs the additional work. Here is why:
- Safety First: There is no doubt in my mind- children are the safest when buckled into a 5-point harness car seat on a plane. Will a car seat save your child’s life if the whole plane crashes…probably not. But a child who is buckled into a 5-point harness car seat stands a much less likely chance of being injured during turbulence.
- Buckled Correctly, at all times: My children take their car seats very seriously. They understand that when my car is moving, their car seats are buckled. The airplane is no exception. I often see the plane seat belts being used optionally. Children (and adults!) feel a sense of freedom to move around, wiggle out of the belt, and even sit/lay in such a way that makes their belt virtually useless. Again, safety first! If the plane hits unexpected turbulence, children who are not buckled correctly might easily be injured.
- Containment: This is where the struggle to haul a car seat through the airport becomes selfishly worth it to me, as a parent. My kids are contained for the entire flight. I don’t have to struggle with a toddler who wants to move about. I don’t have to argue with my child to sit down or keep their buckle on. Just as they don’t ask to get out of their car seats while we are traveling in the car, it doesn’t even occur to them to ask to get out on a plane.
- Comfort: My children are comfortable in their car seats. When they were little, they would fall asleep easily during a flight in their seat. While sleep is more elusive these days, I do see them relax. They will lean their heads against the headrest and snuggle into the seat for the duration of the flight.
- Ease/Safety at Destination: Behind safety on the plane, this is probably my next most important reason for traveling on airplanes with our car seats- the destination travel. For starters, I like having my own car seats along on our trip. I know they have never been in a car accident. I know how to correctly install them. And I know they are clean. Secondly, if you physically have the seats on the plane with you- you know they have arrived. Checked baggage does occasionally get lost, and car seats are no exception. What do you do if you arrive at your destination and your car seats do not come out on the carousel? You either wait, or make other arrangements to rent seats…but you obviously can’t leave the airport until you have that straightened out.
I hope this post has convinced you to consider flying with your car seat. Tomorrow I will post about “How” I travel with car seats to give you some helpful tips!