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3-yr old on Plane. Carseat or No?

We are planning a trip to France with our 3-yr old. Since he will have his own seat now I am wondering if we should, or need to bring his carseat.

We already know we can rent one once we get to France for our car, but wondering about the plane.

Your opinions, or expereinces with the logistics are appreciated.


Posted by
9363 posts

Why don't you contact the airline and see what they recommend?

Posted by
80 posts

It might be nice for your 3 yr-old to have a familiar seat. Also, if there is a problem you can ask the flight attendants to check it at the door of the plane. Bonus, then you don't have to rent one. I know of families with babies that have brought the car seat, but not older children, So I'm not exactly sure. Find families to ask, good luck!

Posted by
3313 posts

I meant that you shouldn't need a car seat for the plane. Our child is four and we take our carseat with us as checked baggage for any trip where we'll rent a car. (The one great thing about paying full fare for a child is that you get to check more bags).

But our car seat, which we began using when she was two, would be too big in an airline seat. We've never considered using it nor can I recall ever seeing someone use a regular child seat in an airplane.

Posted by
93 posts

Another perspective...

When my kids were 5 & 6, we flew on a plane and brought their car seats - well, actually by then, booster seats w/o the backs. It worked out very well for all of us.

When they were 4 weeks and 19 months, we flew and we brought the full sized car seat for the older one. It was great! She'd always been a great car traveller - she knew that once she was strapped into her car seat, she had to stay put. That worked on the plane, too. We had a much easier time than the families with kids who wanted to run around all over the place getting on every one's nerves. :)

Posted by
505 posts

Actually, just like in a car, a baby or toddler is much safer strapped into an appropriate car-seat that is belted into the seat. Plane seats and seatbelts are designed for adults, so are not very safe for young kids in a crash. It's been shown that babies who sit on their mothers lap have a much higher risk or injury or death in crash or heavy turbulence. It's fine to hold them for feeding or to quiet them, but they are safest in their own seat.

To be honest - a car seat is probably much more comfy that most plane seats - and a sense of the familiar might help to calm a kid who is flying for the first time.

Most babies are carried 'in lap' because it's cheaper and it can be a pain to carry around a car seat. But that doesn't make it safer or make it wrong to use a car seat.

You should check with the airline because some airlines only permit certain 'approved' brands or types of car seats.


Posted by
3 posts

Another perspective: while there's no doubt that being in a car seat is safer, we don't normally travel by plane with a car seat for our four year old daughter.

Without it, she has much more room and her little legs can't kick the seat in front of her. With it, there's almost no way to keep her from kicking the seat in front of her. Also, we can lift up the armrest and cuddle and use the tray table. A car seat is normally too high for a child to be able to use the table.

Happy traveling, Amy