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Air Travel with Toddler

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trouble30. Show Trouble30's posts

    Air Travel with Toddler

    Hi All:

    I searched and found many postings about air travel with an infant, but not many about air travel with a toddler.  We'll be taking our first flight with TWO kids in a couple of weeks.  Just a short trip down to Atlanta, but I'm already terrified!  DD has traveled before when she was just shy of one, but now she's two so she'll have her own seat.  

    So now I'm focused on how to strap her into her seat.  We're definitely taking her convertible seat down with us because we will be renting a car.  So my question is: Can she also use the car seat on the plane?  I do know about the CARES harness, and I'm inclined to get it so we don't have to lug the car seat with us through the terminal and on the plane, but I know that DH will want to take the car seat on board and scoff at spending $70 on yet another piece of baby paraphanalia.  

    So before we even start that argument, does anyone know if it's even possible to use a huge convertible car seat in the airplane?

  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from dz76. Show dz76's posts

    Re: Air Travel with Toddler

    No personal experience exactly but.  When we went to Disney with my whole family, my niece was 2.5  They used her car seat in the airplane seat with no problem.  My SIL said it was great because she was used to sitting in it and knew she couldn't get out. I'm not positive but I think that it was a Britax.

    They do sell so sort of rolly thing that you can attache your car seat to so you don't have to carry it through the airport.  I think I've seen one that the kid can even ride in the seat too.  Although I may be imagining that part.  :-)
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from lissafro. Show lissafro's posts

    Re: Air Travel with Toddler

    When we flew we strapped the convertable car seat into the seat we had bought for her, the same way we would in the car.  Not only did it make sense because she'd need it when we were driving around when we got to our destination and we didn't want to have to check it, it also ended up being really great because I feel like she was better behaved than she would have been just sitting in the seat.  It was like she knew what to do in a car seat, just sit like she does in the car--it was more normal and less of a special-occassion thing. I am not sure about width of two convertable car seats strapping in next to each other.  You might need to call the airline and ask?  Also, you aren't allowed to put the car seats on the aisle, they HAVE to be on the window.  If you are actually getting to reserve seats (not that airlines do that anymore) you are probably going to have to split yourselves up and have your DH sit with one twin and you sit with another. 
    One thing that will most likely be an issue (I don't know the solution) is the potty.  How long is the flight?  We did ok with our flight to Maryland (Dulles) because it wasn't too long, we went before we got on the plane and then she was ok waiting until the seat belt sign turned off.  You might want to think about pull ups for a long flight.  I know your twins like to use potty time as a way of stalling things (like bedtime!) so I'm assuming once they figure out going to the bathroom means getting out of their seats you might have some issues.

    Of course, my DD is petite and she wasn't bad about kicking the seat in front of her.  If your twins are on the longer side you might have a seat-kicking issue.
    If you're flying Jetblue, you'll be golden--those screens right in front of the kids' faces are a godsend.
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trouble30. Show Trouble30's posts

    Re: Air Travel with Toddler

    Thanks!  Good to know that you can take the convertible seat aboard!  I will let DH win this one then :)

    Lissa - I don't have twins, my son is 8.5 months and will be on my lap.  DD isn't potty trained yet either, she just turned 2 this week.  I paid the extra $ (!! talk about nickle and diming) to preselect seats so I know our seat configuration.  Thankfully DH is coming too so one of us will push the big old double stroller and one of use will manhandle that pesky convertable seat and our carry ons. 

    Those flight attendants and passangers are going to love us!  
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: Air Travel with Toddler

    DZ--you're thinking of the Go Go Kids Travelmate.  Lots of people rave about them but I've never used one.  The seat attaches in such a way that the whole assembly "becomes" a stroller.  The only issue I've heard about is that it's too wide to fit down the airplane aisle.  I don't know if it's the car seat that's too wide or the contraption, but you'll need to disassemble it before getting on the plane.

    Also, when I was looking for that link, I came across this:

    It's much cheaper and could be useful if you are planning to bring a carry-on suitcase.

    Whenever we've traveled since the kids turned two, we've brought their car seats on.  Yes, it's kind of a pain to get them through security, etc. but it keeps them comfortable and CONTAINED.  I've heard good things about the CARES harness, but do some research/check with the airline before you buy one.  I feel like I heard or read something recently that the airlines don't allow them anymore, but it's very possible that I made that up in my head.  I will warn you that the regular seatbelt latches are no match for a toddler, so don't plan to rely on just that.

    Tips for traveling with two kids:  Make a plan about who's doing what at security ahead of time.  Some people find that one parent designated for each child and their respective gear is easiest (what DH and I usually do).  Others find that one parent handling both kids while the other parent takes care of all the carry-ons, strollers, gear, etc. works better.  Either way, it will be easier if everyone knows who is doing what ahead of time.

    Get there EARLY.  Like, ridiculously early.  Once you're through security, you can eat, let the kids run around and wear themselves out and just chill.  We've been fortunate on most occasions to time it so that we don't hit long lines in security and can take our time.  The TSA agents we've encountered have always been kind and as helpful/understanding as they're allowed to be.  Let them know ahead of time if you're putting bottles or sippy cups through.  They may test them on the other side, but we've always been told to "take your time and come over when your shoes are on and the kids are situated."

    If you can time the flight to coincide with naptime, do it.  I sincerely think that has been key to our relatively trauma-free flying experiences.  Novel toys, novel snacks, and novel books are also important when they're awake b/c they'll hold their interest longer.  Mr. Potato Head was a HUGE hit with my kids on a plane trip to Phoenix and kept them occupied for a good 45 minutes or so.

    Anyway...those are my somewhat-scattered thoughts about traveling with toddlers.
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from CTMum. Show CTMum's posts

    Re: Air Travel with Toddler

    You have great suggestions from the posts already.  The only thing I might add is this:

    I have traveled extensively (internationally and within the US) with a convertible car seat. In our experience, it really helps to have a bag for the car seat to aid getting it through the airport.  The one we have that works the best is this one with wheels:

    I found the option to strap it to a wheelie suitcase and pull the together extremely helpful.

    We have also used the one (also by JL Childress) that is a backpack, but found it is really too big, as such.  When I wear it, it nearly topples me over backwards. And when my husband wears it, he usually (accidentally) hits someone/something with the monstrosity on his back.

    We've since graduated to the CARES system, which is great, but, has its own limitations. 

    Good luck!
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Air Travel with Toddler

    Trouble, I don't know where you live, but is there a local parents list?
    I see people posting *all* the time on SomervilleMoms that they are either trying to find or have to offer these kind of travel things, CARES harness or straps/bags/carts for car seats.  One person specifically listed that she would lend out her CARES harness for $5 to anyone who was interested.

    Oh - sounds like you are leaning away from CARES - but I also read there that it is FAA approved, but some flight attendants will not be familiar with it and may question you.  The people who were posting about it said that once they showed them the FAA tag and explained it nicely, it was all good.  But definitely call the airline like Daisy said.

    Has anyone strapped a Britax Marathon 70 into a plane seat??  It just seems SO enormous.
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from CTMum. Show CTMum's posts

    Re: Air Travel with Toddler

    In Response to Re: Air Travel with Toddler:
    Has anyone strapped a Britax Marathon 70 into a plane seat??  It just seems SO enormous.
    Posted by medfordcc

    Yes, this is the convertible car seat we have traveled with. (See above posting).
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from cwagner13. Show cwagner13's posts

    Re: Air Travel with Toddler

    We have graco myride and CARES. Our son is 19 months and we just did a trip where we flew to SFO then from SFO to LA (which was a short flight) then back home and experiemented with CARES on the short leg... for take off, he loved sitting like one of us, but landing, he hated it (and I think he was overtired). So we switched back to the car seat and that went a whole lot better. BTW, graco myride is huge but it fits in the seat and both my husband and I could sit next to him. It does have to be in a window seat (I think all car seats need to be by the window though). He did want to walk around or sit in our laps so we had to bribe him back into the car seat for landing with a new sticker book of his favorite vehicles.

    I would not count on napping - that will vary from child to child - we were stuck in the airport for hours due to weather delays, and he loved watching the jets, but he would not sleep on the plane so he was so tired and cranky (he did sleep in the car, whew).

    We got the backpack bag (there were bunch of reviews that seemed to indicate that graco myride was too big for wheelies bag but would fit the backpack one so we went with the backpack one). It is big and you do need to remember you have this big thing on your back, but it worked fine for us. When DS refused to ride the stroller (he was more likely to prefer to be in the ergo carrier than in the stroller), we just plopped the seat bag into the stroller.
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from Micromom. Show Micromom's posts

    Re: Air Travel with Toddler

    We recently flew with two kids about the ages of yours.  We rented a car with car seats so we didn't have to lug ours.  If you do decide to travel with them, make sure that they'll fit on the airplane seats, I've heard that some people have trouble with that.  

    We also found that we could rent or borrow a lot of equipment, so we didn't have to travel with pack and plays etc.  And we bought a cheap umbrella stroller at Target that was really handy.

    Preparation is key, strategizing with your DH is smart.  Stock a travel bag with lots of snacks and distractions.  Small items that will amuse them for a bit (books, snacks, toys etc).  A friend suggested gift wrapping each item to take up more time and add to the fun, then doling them out at intervals.

    The seatback TV's are handy, we also loaded some Caillou and Sesamee Street videos onto our iphone (you can't use youtube in flight), which was a good distraction.

    Talk with your two year old about going to the airport, flying in the plane etc.  Maybe read a children's book about it if possible, so they know what to expect.  Plane's are surprisingly noisy and it's less scary if they expect it.

    Pack extra clothes in your carry on, for your kids, and you.  Trust me on that.

    Counterintuitively, I'd recommend flying at night.  Both our kids actually slept both ways flying in the evening.

    And of course pacifiers or bottles/nursing for take off and landing.

    I had crazy pre-flight anxiety, but really it all went well.  I think for the most part people are patient if they think you're trying to keep the kids quiet, even if you're not always successful.  Have a good trip.
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Air Travel with Toddler

    Micro, my siblings always traveled at night with their LOs, and they always slept.  Also, you can give Dramamine (if it's recommended for their age) and not only prevent motion sickness but almost guarantee sleep on the redeyes without messing up their day/night rhythm.
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from rama8677. Show rama8677's posts

    Re: Air Travel with Toddler

    Don't have a ton to add - some good info above - but I recently flew with my DD who is 2 years, two months old.  We used the CARES safety system because I was flying alone and there was no way I could have dragged the convertible carseat through the airport.  She loved it!  She loved sitting in her own seat and was able to stretch out and lie down on me and cuddle next to me much easier than if she had her car seat.  Her legs were also too short to kick the seat in front of her, which was a major issue we had encountered the last time we flew with her when she was in her convertible.  (We have a Britax Boulevard and it fit in the seat, no problem, it's just big and makes little room for legs).  I really can't rave enough about CARES and how easy it was.  We had no issues with flight attendants having seen it before, it's easy to install and it's not heavy!!  We bought ours at buy buy baby and used a 20% off coupon so it was about $56, as opposed to $70.  Money well spent, IMO!

    For my DD, there is no way she'd sleep on the plane so we purposely time our travel to avoid naptime.  Logan has two kid playspaces, one in terminal A (where Delta is) and one in terminal C (where Jet Blue is).  I made sure we got to the airport super early and let her play/burn off some steam before we got on the flight.

    We did fly Jet Blue and the TV was good but not amazing - my daughter didn't understand why Elmo and DOra couldn't be put on the TV at her command, like at home when she exclusively watches shows that have been pre-recorded and can start at any time.  Hard to explain the concept of a pre-selected TV schedule to a toddler.  I found the best distractions were new toys - purchased from the dollar store - that I brought out at regular intervals. She is into bracelets and jewelry so a package of about 20 sparkling bracelets kept her entertained for awhile, as did a coloring book and other small toys. 

    Be aware that on some smaller planes with only two seats on a side, only one side of the plane will have the extra oxygen mask so a lap toddler has to sit on that side only.  I mention this only because another family had an issue on our flight home where it was a mom, lap infant, a grandma and a toddler and the side that "allowed" the lap infant was the side that they only had one seat so the mom had to sit next to a stranger and the grandma and toddler were relegated to the other side, which made the toddler unhappy.

    Good luck and remember that the airline has seen it all and even if your kids act up, the flight will be over in just a few hours!!

    ETA: I guess I did have a ton to add!!
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from amy-lynn. Show amy-lynn's posts

    Re: Air Travel with Toddler

    I've travelled with DD who is 3.5 several times on planes, and much of what has been mentioned is true - carseats have to go in the window seat, it does provide a familiar, escape-proof place for your LO, but it also allows them to kick the seat in front, and can prevent them from using the tray table. 

    We have a Cosco Scenera car seat that we use when travelling - it is the "back-up" car seat we bought for a friend to keep in her car for emergency pickups (we are a one car family). It was pretty cheap (I think around $50) highly rated, and much lighter than our Sunshine Radians seat. It is still bulky to carry through the airport, it is much easier than our heavy daily use seat. Just another option.

    As far as some of the practicalities of travelling, many of the previous tips are great, I have a few more:
     - Make sure you leave enough time at the airport to check in, but also make sure you have enough time to make connections if you can't fly direct. We usually schedule at least an hour between flights, and prefer closer to an hour and a half. 
     - We have had great success even on Southwest, so booking seats ahead of time isn't mandatory, but remember you can't sit in exit rows, or the rows right before or after the exit rows as well, and the further back the noisier the planes tend to be.
     - Different models of planes have different bathrooms, and not all have changing tables. I know you are asking about your toddler, but for both, plan on a strategy for changing diapers if there isn't a changing table on your plane. (Also ask the flight attendants when you board, some planes have one lavatory with a table and the rest without.) I make a ziplock bag with the minimum required changing supplies - a diaper or pullup, and pack of wipes, diaper cream if needed, plus another ziplock bag with a change of clothes.  I only take the bags with me to the bathroom, plus maybe a pad if there is a table, otherwise I do a standing change. There is no place in an airplane lav to put a whole diaper bag, and having the stuff in a ziplock keeps it dry when you have to put it down in the sink. If you know you won't need the change of clothes, you can leave that at your seat, but if I'm not sure, I'd rather bring it and not need it than have to schlep back and forth.
     - The tips about new toys or books is great, but also mix in one or two familiar ones. At two, is your DD capable of carrying a small backpack? DD loves to have her own bag with her favorite doll, small toy, and a coloring book (the "magic" ones from crayola with markers that only write on the special paper are great for the plane!) and a small snack. It makes her feel grown up. I keep the new surprises in our carryon, and try to keep her bag very light (if it's heavy I'll wind up carrying that as well). 
     - Bring an emergency kit with baby tylenol, band-aids, hand sanitizer, and maybe grown-up painkillers and a chapstick as well - I put the emergency stuff in my one quart plastic bag of liquids and gels for security, since the tylenol and hand sanitizer need to be declared.
     - That brings me to my last point - with two LOs you will have a bunch of stuff you will need (stroller / carseat / diapers / changes of clothes / snacks / bottles / sippy cups  /pacifiers / lovies / etc.) but try to keep it to the bare minimum so you are not carting giant heavy bags through the airport. And I am a big fan of ziplocks to organize things inside a bigger bag, so you can find what you need, and segregate the dirty from the clean.

    I hope this isn't overwhelming, but each time we travel, I find it gets easier, although I doubt it will ever be fun to try and get through the air travel part of it. There is a reason no culture has ever come up with the metaphor "As lovely as an airport."
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trouble30. Show Trouble30's posts

    Re: Air Travel with Toddler

    Thank you, thank you, thank you all for all your information and tips!!!!!  I especially love Amy-Lynn's idea about organizing in ziplocs - it always seems like my diaper bag is a mess 3 seconds after I pack it up.  Rama - thanks for the tip about the kids play area!  Micromom - wrapping gifts sounds brilliant!  

    We have a backpack thingy for the carseat that we purchased for our last trip but didn't use.  Maybe I'll look into the one with the wheels.  

    We were planning on bringing our city select since we think we'll be outside a lot and the sun shades on it are far superior to our umbrella and snap and go.  But it's so big and heavy and I certainly don't want it ruined by the baggage handlers.  Hmmmmm...

    We already have our flight booked for midday, but hopefully that'll be okay since it's only a 2.5 hr trip down there.  DS might sleep, but I doubt DD will.  

    If anyone has any additional tip, please share!  Thanks again!  :)
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Air Travel with Toddler

    Lots of good tips for traveling...

    We are about to take our annual big trip with two kids...and I'm starting to get nervous about it.

    Last time I checked you can check children's items (car seats/strollers) for free. Delta will check strollers and car seats for free, and I believe most airlines will too. This makes things easier if you don't want to lug a car seat around the airport! Call a head to make sure.

    we are fans of red eyes...DS has always slept just fine on planes...We'll see how DD does. But we also allow unlimited DVDs and Lollipops (but our trips are long, 6-10 hour flights usually).

    You're not dealing with a time difference, but we always assume the time zone of the place we are landing as early in the travel day as we can-even if it means starting at home before we leave for the airport. But again, we have a big time difference...

    Hope the travel goes well!
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from cwagner13. Show cwagner13's posts

    Re: Air Travel with Toddler

    If you get a kid backpack, I would recommend one with wheels. DS at 19 months loved pushing it around the airport, and it was easy to hook onto the handle of our rolling carryon when he got tired or wanted to be in the carrier. It was small so he could carry it if he wanted to but it is harder to carry a backpack as a little kid over a period of time than it is to push something to the gate.

    It was easy to shove our ergo carrier into the bag that has the car seat so we always took that, sometimes that would be the only way he would go through the airport (it made him feel secure with DH carrying him and he could still watch the activity). And if he was in the carrier then we used our stroller like a little luggage cart :)