expert tips for flying with carseats and strollers

Expert Tips For Flying With Car Seats And Strollers  

If the idea of trekking through the airport with your baby, the car seat, and the stroller worries you, then you have come to the right place. We’ve put together a list of the best tips for making your next air travel adventure stress-free.

Go ahead and book the extra seat

While children under two can fly free, it may be well worth your money to book your child his/her own seat. First, experts recommend that babies and toddlers are secured in a car seat while flying. Even if  it's cheaper to fly with them in your laps, it is not as safe in the case of turbulence. Plus, depending on the length of your flight, this may be challenging. Next, as your baby becomes mobile, a car seat can keep your little one in his seat without you having to wrestle him the entire flight.

Book your own seats in the right location

When booking your flight, use the seat map to choose your seats. Frequent family travelers recommend booking seats near the bathroom, though that can be a matter of personal preference.   We also recommend booking seats closest to the front so that you get off the plane faster.  When booking your seats, call the airline directly to check on a bassinet for your infant, if you need one.  Bassinet seats are in the front of each section and also usually near a bathroom.

Make sure your car seat is FAA approved

If you plan to place your child in a car seat on the plane, the seat must be FAA certified. If certified, the seat will have an FAA sticker that indicates it is approved for cars and airplanes. Unfortunately, not all car seats are approved. For more specifications about which car seats are allowed, look at the Federal Aviation Association’s flying with children guide.

If you still plan to hold your baby, use the gate check option

If you are taking a short flight and still plan to hold your baby during the duration of the flight, you should plan to use the gate check option for your car seat and your stroller rather than the baggage check.

Buy what you need to get from point A to point B

The idea of carrying the car seat through security and the airport is overwhelming, but there are many products on the market that make this process easier. For example, you can purchase a travelmate stroller or a car seat backpack carrier.

Be patient while installing your car seat

It is easy to get antsy when you are trying to install a car seat on an airplane. The environment may make you feel rushed – don’t be. Instead, be patient and take your time installing the car seat correctly. And, should you run into issues with people suggesting you cannot use your car seat, remember your rights.

Still stressed about flying with baby gear? Here are some final options

If the car seat is just too much, but you want your child safely secured for the flight, you can purchase a CARES harness. You may also consider renting a car seat. And, depending on your budget, you may also consider simply buying a cheap stroller for the trip.


Most people are understanding of parents traveling with little ones – they know it is challenging. And, airports do too. That’s why airlines do not charge you for checking car seats and strollers. Breathe easy and have a great flight!

expert tips for flying with carseats and strollers infographic



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2 thoughts on “Expert Tips For Flying With Car Seats And Strollers  ”

    1. Great million dollar question! I’ve found that sometimes when there’s an angry and annoyed child, there’s also another issue going on aside from what they’re protesting against- perhaps the baby is hungry or excessively tired.
      But sometimes that problem can’t be solved immediately, and you have to buckle the child in. So the short term solution would be (and this may change depending upon the child’s age):
      1)Distraction distraction distraction – infants find white noise calming, and sometimes I’ve turned on a white noise app or a crackling AM station in the car. Older kids you might be able to occupy with some music or interactive quiet book, toy
      2)Offer 2 choices – Would you like to sit in the carseat with elmo, or with big bird? (or whatever toy they like) This gives them a little “control” in the situation and sometimes calms them
      3)Show your own enthusiasm about being buckled in – “look mommy/daddy wear seat belts”, yay! “let’s see who can stay buckled in the longest!” If they’re a bit older you might be creative enough to make a game out of it.
      4)”Peer modeling” -Find a video of your kid’s favorite character wearing a seatbelt or in a car seat, or show them another calmer kid (maybe someone they look up to)

      For the longer term, I would start by: 1)Acknowledging their pain – you can actually start this when the baby is an infant, but look them in the eye and label their frustration for them. “I understand you’re feeling frustrated about staying in a car seat, but it’s so that you don’t fly out of the car! If you fly out of the car you could get hurt, owie ! “ It won’t work the first time or maybe even the first 100x, but slowly they’ll get it and you can explain to them when they’re calm also. Even little people like to feel heard!

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