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  1. This article, while well-meaning, is terrible re: children’s safety.

    NEVER rent carseats or baggage/gate check them. Ever seen your luggage tossed around? Just think of the damage to your carseat! And rental car companies, big and small, are notorious for expired carseats and NEVER have the manual which is needed for proper installation.

    Get that extra seat on the plane, even if you have a child under 2yo. Re-evaluate your travel budget if need be. Turbulence will NOT be your lap child’s friend. This coming from the wife of a airline pilot and friend to many flight attendants who have seen IRL injuries happen to LO’s. Besides, your child is comfortable and used to sleeping in their carseat (i.e. will sleep for you!). This also ensures you have a carseat you are FAMILIAR with at your destination – domestic or international. Convertible carseats can, and should, be used on planes. Boosters cannot. Make sure the carseat has an “FAA-approved” sticker on it – some FAs will check, as one did recently on one of our flights. The Cosco Scenera is a great inexpensive yet safe RF/FF seat to 40lbs and our 3.5yo still uses this seat for travel. Our 4.5 uses the CARES harness on the plane (airplane seatbelts cut into the young child’s stomach and don’t hit at their hips as they do for adults) and we carry-on the Safety 1st Go Hybrid Booster carseat (9lbs in a shoulder bag) for use as a 5pt harnessed booster at our destination. Furthermore, you don’t need an expensive travel bag with wheels or Go Go Travelmate – a simple $20 luggage cart and $5 bungee cord will help you effortlessly wheel your carseat (and carry-on) through the airport and very easily store overhead or under your seat on the plane.

    ALWAYS ask to board the plane with those needing extra time to board – you do, afterall, have a carseat (or two) to install safely and will only hold up passengers in the aisle. That’s what I gently remind the gate agents before every flight and every.single.time it has worked just fine.

    Re: seats getting separated. Become a FF member of the airline, its free. THat may help in getting you priority seating over another passenger NOT in their FF program. Consider paying extra to check in online early (computer or smartphone). For instance, Southwest allows you to pay $13 to check in 36 hrs before your flight – regular check in starts 24 hours prior to departure. If all else fails, on a recent flight we were prepared to explain nicely to the people potentially seated next to our two special needs children that yes, one still bites occasionally and the other isn’t potty trained but we’re working on it. Truth can be your best friend although most people are kind at heart and will be happy to switch seats to accommodate your family.

  2. Great article. I was actually shopping for a stroller for my five month old and 2.5 year old. I fly to Chicago alone with them and need something super easy. Any recommendations on brands? I like the look of the Maclaren Twin Triumph and the Kinderwagon but have never seen them in person. Thanks!

  3. You mention renting car seats, how were they??? I have heard horror stories about people getting old, expired seats that people did not want to put their kids in.

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