I remember watching a documentary in the Discovery Channel once. A young mom who travelled with her baby had the good sense to bring a car seat and to insist on her baby to be strapped in there. They hit bad weather when they were almost at their destination airport, and had she not strapped her baby in a car seat, she’s sure her baby would now be dead. And if you’ve ever had the misfortune of experiencing turbulence while on a plane ride, you’ll probably agree. Can you imagine trying to hold a baby steady while the plane is shaking like heck? Chances are the baby might suffer a neck injury, or worse.
That’s why I believe the baby’s safety is always the primary consideration to bringing a car seat. The baby will be more secure strapped-in a car seat if you happen to hit turbulence. You also won’t have to hold your baby the whole time if you’ve had the foresight to bring a car seat. You can place him/her down for meals or for naps.
Unfortunately, bringing along a car seat will require that you have to pay extra for baby’s plane seat. Normally, a child under age two gets to fly for free as a lap child. But if you want to make sure you can strap your baby on the car seat, you’ll have to buy her a ticket as well. And you have to be sure the car seat is FAA regulated. Your car seat should have a label that reads, “This restraint certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” The car seat should be no wider than 16 inches, more than that, you might not be able to fit it into the plane’s narrow seats.
It’s also important to inform the airline that you’re bringing a car seat when you book the flight. This way, you can request for a seat next to the window for the car seat. The airlines will also be able to advise you about their policy on car seats, since not all airlines allow passengers to use a car seat onboard. And be warned, not all airlines are accommodating about using car seats on their flights. You might encounter some resistance by the flight attendants themselves once you get on board. My best advice is to stand your ground and remind yourself it’s for your baby’s safety.