Why You Should Use a Car Seat on the Plane
While most airlines allow children under the age of 2 to fly for free on your lap, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a child is much safer in a car seat. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) agrees, strongly urging parents and guardians to use a child restraint system during flights. Are the safety concerns enough to warrant the cost of an extra seat? Yes.
Preventable deaths have occurred in children under 2 in survivable plane crashes. Sudden stops, emergency landings and turbulence can pose a huge risk to a lap child causing unnecessary injury or death. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a mandatory federal requirement for restraint use for children on aircrafts.
Not only is using a car seat the safer choice, consider crossing the Atlantic with a squirmy baby on your lap – you’re likely unable to sleep, eat or use the restroom, thus, arriving at your destination exhausted and irritable. Your child is used to sitting in his or her car seat every car ride, so an airplane ride should be no different. A lap child, on the other hand, won’t understand the need to stay sitting and still.
The FAA recommends that a child less than 20 pounds use a rear-facing car seat while children 20-40 pounds use a forward-facing car seat.
Before you book your flights, contact the airline to find out the cost of an extra seat for your child. Some airlines offer significant discounts for children under the age of 2. Next, make sure you have a car seat that is approved by the airline. Airline approved car seats will have a sticker stating that the car seat is approved for aircraft travel. Before you purchase it, double-check with the airline that the model number is approved. The airline may need the measurements, so have that handy.