I just booked a flight for myself and both kids to fly from Seattle to San Diego. Most people flying with a child under two would have that child be a “Lap Baby”. Lap Babies are potential projectiles in severe turbulence or the event of a plane crash, therefore it is unsafe for not only the baby but also every other passenger on the plane. An article in the New York Times discusses the dangers of lap babies here. I opted to not have Little Dude be a lap baby for a few reasons. First, the safety aspect. I like him and I think he’s quite precious the way he is and I’d hate to reconfigure his face. Second, I had no idea how I was going to keep him on my lap for the whole flight without making every other passenger want to push us out the door somewhere over Oregon.
I purchased airfare for both kids so that I can use their car seats in-flight. I don’t have to worry about renting a seat in San Diego with unknown history and care, they’ll have familiar seats, I’ll be able to restrain them in-flight, and I know they’ll be safely harnessed. My plan of attack is to check our one rolling suitcase and have only one carry-on backpack in addition to the two car seats and children. My dear sister in laws (or is it sisters in law?) are being kind enough to let me borrow their nifty car seat wheels called GoGo Kids Travelmates. These wheels will turn my car seats into strollers for our two hour layover and help with getting both kids through the airports at better than a toddler pace. I also purchased a Traveling Toddler for in the airport in San Diego so that when I pick up my luggage and have three wheeled items to drag to the car rental shuttle, I can put Little Dude’s seat on the suitcase. In addition, one of the seats I will be using, a Sunshine Kids Radian XTSL has backpack straps! I’ll have a few options!
When I board the plane, I will be sure to have my seat manuals and the stickers on the seat that clearly indicate that my seats are FAA approved. I will also have a printout of the FAA guidelines on child restraints on planes in case a flight attendant asks me to check my seats or install them in a specific direction. Because I have done the research proir to my trip, I also know that I will need to request a seatbelt extender if I decide to install Little Dude’s seat forward facing. The Britax Marathon and airline seatbelts don’t play nicely together and require some tricks to get the seat back out of the plane. You need to either flip the female end of the buckle or you need to use an extender.
I’m taking a lot of snacks and little things to do. I have small dry erase boards for them with low-odor pens, coloring books, reading books they enjoy, I-spy books, and their favorite for in the airport for the layover-a car playmat and cars. The playmat is also a blanket should they get cold on the plane.
I’ll try to post pics from our adventure and let you know what I think about the Radian and Marathon for travel use, as well as the GoGo Kidz Travelmate and the Traveling Toddler.