Traveling with Car Seats: Tips for Flying with Children Complete Guide

Traveling with children can come with its own unique set of challenges. If you’re looking to make your next family trip easier, you’re in the right place.

This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about traveling with car seats on a plane, from choosing the right seat for your child to making sure it is secure and safe for take-off. You’ll be ready for takeoff in no time!


Traveling with children can bring many challenges, from keeping them occupied on long car rides to successfully navigating airport security. One of the daunting tasks for traveling parents is knowing how to properly transport a car seat on their next trip.

Flying with a car seat for your child may seem complicated, but the extra effort is worth it for peace of mind and overall safety. This guide will provide a complete overview of everything you need to know when traveling with a car seat while flying.

We’ll explain what types of seats are allowed, which airline policies you should be aware of and discuss other helpful tips and tricks for transporting a car seat through airports safely.

Importance of car seats when traveling with children

It is essential that car seats are used when traveling with children in a car, bus or taxi, as they provide an additional layer of protection in the event of an accident. This is particularly important for young children, who must be properly restrained to reduce their risk of injury. The same rules should apply when flying with young children. Many parents struggle to find suitable transport solutions that can accommodate babies and toddlers while travelling in the air – thankfully, car seats can prove very helpful in this situation.

Car seat safety throughout the journey is important, regardless of whether it’s by air or land. Car seats are designed to help protect little ones from breakage and movement inside the vehicle, no matter how bumpy the ride may be. When properly installed, they will keep your kids safely buckled up so they can enjoy their trip without risk of harm or harm to others around them.

In addition, recent studies have shown that parents who use a car seat during air travel tend to reach their destination with less stress and a more relaxed attitude towards their loved ones than those who don’t use one at all.

Overview of the guide

Traveling with car seats can be challenging, especially when you’re taking a long flight. This guide will provide tips for making the journey easier and safer for your children.

It reviews airline rules, car seat regulations, and the type of seats available to use in the air and on the ground. It also presents tips from parents on flying with their children, as well as travel suggestions for families planning a long flight.

Finally, it offers advice on selecting a compatible stroller or traveling case. By following the advice presented in this guide, you can make your next family trip safe, fun, and enjoyable!

Pre-Travel Preparation

Before you board the plane it is important to make sure you have taken proper precautions for your child prior to travel. Here are some pre-travel tips and guidelines to ensure a smooth trip.

-Book early and choose your seat: When reserving tickets, try to book early or use an airline that allows for reserving seats. Seat selection is especially important if you’re traveling with a car seat because you can avoid the hassle of checking in additional equipment if the seat is large enough to accommodate the car seat.

-Check with your airline: Call and confirm with your airline before traveling as regulations vary from airline to airline. Make sure that the chairs you plan on flying with are allowed onboard and whether there is any age restrictions or if they will charge extra fees for their use. Most airlines allow children under two years old to fly “lap infants” without a ticket, though many require proof of age (passport or birth certificate).

-Assemble your gear: Gather all necessary items such as car seats, strollers/pushchairs/buggies, breast pumps/bottles, infant formula, diapers/changing bags and any other flight relevant items so that you have them ready when it’s time for check-in or boarding. Bring extra snacks and drinks for young kids so they are not stuck waiting in line during their hunger pangs! Consider purchasing carry-on bags for kids such as wheeled backpacks or rolling luggage which makes carrying gear much easier on their hands and arms when traveling through airports and busy streets.

Research the airline’s policies and procedures

Before making a reservation, research the policies and procedures of the airline you will be flying on regarding safety and child restraint rules. Most airlines require that children under 2 years old must be in a car seat or other approved safety device while in flight, regardless of cost or seat class. Generally, there is no charge to bring a car seat onto an airplane, but some carriers may impose restrictions such as if it can be stowed away (not counted towards weight limitations) or if it can only be brought up to your assigned seat during takeoff and landing.

Research the specific regulations before booking your tickets. It is ideal to check with the airline, as each may differ slightly in their regulations. Additionally, consider calling ahead to let them know you will have car seats for your child(ren). Ask about any discounts that might be available for your family’s situation and what might be needed for approval.

Choose a suitable car seat for air travel

When flying with a young child, you want to make sure that you select the right car seat for air travel that meets both FAA regulations and your airline’s requirements. Generally, any car seat approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for aviation use is allowed on airplanes.

It is important to review the manufacturer’s instructions about using the car seat for air travel as some may specifically indicate not to use them on airplanes. The FAA also recommends selecting a lightweight car seat that can be carried in one hand and has a seating area with contours or handles to protect baby’s head from side-to-side movement.

If you plan to check your child safety seat through curbside luggage check, it will be subject to inspection and must be properly labeled with your name, address and contact information prior to leaving it at the ticketing counter. Always carry any printed instructions — as well as straps or padding — in case they are needed when reassembling parts at your destination point.

III. Airport Procedures

Most major airports will require you to check your car seat(s) as baggage. Before boarding the plane, be sure to check the tags on the seat(s) and make sure you’ve packed them properly. Be aware that many airlines will also charge additional fees for checking a car seat, so be prepared for that.

When you go through security at the airport, let the screening staff know you are carrying a car seat and inform them where it is located in your bags. If there is an x-ray machine available for larger items (such as some international airports have), place your car seat into it for better surveillance and security. However, if there isn’t one available and your car seat must be placed in traditional x-ray machines— ask the screener to hand search any metal parts of your child’s car seat as these items can set off alarms during metal screens at traditional x-ray machines.

It’s important to remember not to leave your child unattended while taking him/her through security or while waiting at boarding gates. Many different airport regulations dictate how long parents can stay alone with their children in restricted areas, so check with airport personnel before entering such zones up ahead of time if possible.

Checking in the car seat

When traveling by air with young children, it is important to plan ahead and be familiar with the policies of the airline you’re flying with. Most airlines allow parents to check in a car seat free of charge, but some require additional fees. It is important to note that certain types of car seats are not allowed on board the plane due to their size or design, so it is a good idea to check with your airline before packing.

If checking in the car seat during your flight, it should be securely strapped into an approved restraint system such as a HardBasePlus or U-CheckSecureMate. If traveling with more than one child, a parent can typically use an airline restraint system that fastens two seats together for extra stability and protection during turbulence. Once checked in, items such as loss prevention technology can help keep track of your car seat even after your flight has taken off.

Additionally, if you are taking connecting flights and need to change planes during your travels, some airlines will also allow you to stow the car seat in an approved location on board the aircraft for added convenience and safety.

Going through security with the car seat

Going through security with your car seat can be a daunting task if you are not aware of the guidelines and restrictions. Here are a few tips to make it easier:

  1. Inform TSA agents that your car seat is part of the luggage and check that it is permitted on board as part of the airline’s policies before you reach security.
  2. Place the car seat with other baggage on the conveyer belt to be X-rayed and inspected by TSA agents.
  3. If possible, take off the car seat cover and remove any straps or accessories like toys or mirrors in order to comply with screening procedures.
  4. Make sure that you have all parts of your car seat together when you pass through security so it can be properly checked, inspected and X-rayed in one piece. 
  5. If needed, ask for help from agents at the checkpoint so your car seat can go through screening smoothly.

On-Board the Flight

It is important to make sure that your child stays seated and buckled in their car seat or other safety restraint for the entire duration of the flight. To avoid distractions, it is best to bring a few small toys for your child to keep them distracted during the flight. Additionally, if you require supplies such as snacks, diapers, and wipes it is a good idea to keep these items within arms’ reach.

To ensure that you and your children are as comfortable as possible during the flight, you will want to consider bringing a few additional items such as noise canceling headphones or ear plugs for younger children, sleeping aids like melatonin for older children or infants who are used to taking naps on a routine basis, pillows or blankets (for flights that are over two hours in length), books and other light entertainment items like tablets computers that may help the time pass quickly.

Above all else, make sure your child remains where they should be during the entirety of the flight — strapped into their car seats!

Placement of the car seat on the plane

The first step to flying with young children is deciding where in the plane your car seat will sit. The FAA recommends using an approved car seat on the aircraft, but check with the airline you are traveling with to learn more about their policies. Typically, most airlines allow parents to use the airplane seat for any child over the age of two that is licensed by a state or local law to travel in a car without an approved safety restraint system. Additionally, many states require infants and toddlers under two years old to ride in an infant restraining system while seated on board an aircraft, though this may vary based on airline and state policy.

For parents with children under two who do want to bring a car seat aboard, it’s important to select one that can be used both in-flight and on motorized ground transportation (usually those rated for use from 5 lbs – 105 lbs). Additionally, it should have a label indicating that it “meets applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards” (FMVSS No. 213). When placing your car seat into the airplane seat, make sure that there are no loose objects attached as these could cause injury during turbulence or other unexpected changes in air pressure.

Top Tips for Flying with a Toddler

Securing the car seat on the plane

When you need to take a car seat with you to your destination, most airlines will allow you to check the car seat for free. You may be able to check two car seats per child and up to four seats if needed. Any extra items should be packed separately in a bag or box.

When checking the car seat, it needs to be properly secured in a traveling bag or with protective covers that are capable of protecting it from damage during transportation. You will also want to install the installation straps or tethers onto the frame of the car seat, before checking it in order to prevent accidental deployment over rough terrain if the car seat is dropped from height.

After securing your child’s car seat, remember that you will still have a responsibility of safely securing your child in their own airplane seat when traveling by air.

For more information on how to properly secure a car seat on an airplane, please check out our guide which provides additional tips and hints on flying safely with children in tow!


To ensure that you maximize your comfort, convenience and safety when traveling with children, use the following strategies when booking flight reservations, packing bags, and during check-in:

-Book direct flights whenever possible to limit the hassle of transiting through security with car seats

-Consult guides from relevant organizations and government agencies for information on best practices while using car seats onboard airplanes

-Pack a few extra items in your diaper bag or carryon to keep your baby comfortable during the flight, like toys, snacks or a blanket

-Check airline policies regarding child restraint devices prior to travel to avoid unexpected fees or other issues at check in

-Keep your small children close at all times when passing through security

By following these tips for flying with children in tow – especially the use of car seats – you can be sure to have an enjoyable and safe trip with your family. Remember that air travel should remain an option for those travelling with young children; there are affordable solutions available if you take some time ahead of your trip to plan and research.

Recap of the importance of car seats when traveling with children

When traveling with children, it is essential to take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety. Car seats are an essential part of any family’s travel gear and requirements when it comes to flying or traveling by car. Car seat use significantly decreases the incidence of death and serious injury in the event of a collision, making them an effective safety measure for young passengers.

Young children should always be secured in federally-regulated child passenger restraint systems, such as approved car seats that are appropriately sized for a child’s weight and height. It is important to understand the relevant regulations and guidelines concerning car seat requirements when traveling in order to properly secure your little ones during your trip.

Final thoughts and tips for successful travel with children and car seats.

When traveling with children and car seats, it is important to plan ahead to ensure a smooth and successful journey. Some of the tips below will help make things easier:

– Be sure to check beforehand that the car seat model you are bringing is approved for airplane use.

– Book your reservation in advance and make any needed seat adjustments at least 72 hours in advance of your flight.

– Research airport rules and regulations; different airports may have slightly different policies when it comes to car seats on planes.

– Make sure the car seat is installed in your vehicle correctly before leaving for the airport.

– Make sure all straps are securely fastened properly when using a child restraint system (CRS), as loose or improperly fastened straps can cause unnecessary risk.

– If possible, have a friend or family member travel with you who can help with carrying items and attending to children during long layovers or at other times during your journey.

– Be sure to stay up to date on current health requirements when leaving home, so that you can be prepared if any immunizations or other paperwork is required for entry into another country.

– If possible, extend your trip one day prior to departure; this will help reduce stress levels and make packing easier on everyone involved.

– Make necessary provisions for children when selecting airfare; some airlines may provide meals for young passengers upon request or include extra baggage allowance for larger families traveling together.

Widebody jets like A380s, 777s and 747s have bulkhead seating that can provide extra space if available – check with your airline before buying tickets if this type of seating is important to you!

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