The time for travel and the time for fun! I often get many car seat questions from parents as they begin to embark on their travel research, so I wanted to talk about a few of them to make sure the whole family travels as safely as possible!
One of the most frequent questions I hear is, “should I buy a seat on the plane for my baby even though they don’t need a seat until they’re 2?”
The short answer is, yes! Yes! Yes! The overwhelming majority of plane crashes happen during take off, landing and taxi…..and are survivable! And plane turbulence is a thing; and can be very serious. A properly restrained baby has a much better chance of avoiding death or injury if they are in a car seat.
If you’re not using your seat on the airplane and still plan to take it with you, where will it go?
Gate checked seats aren’t handled with anymore care than seats that are checked with the rest of the luggage. There’s a pretty good chance your car seat will be damaged in some way if you decide to check it. This is an example of a seat that was gate checked and didn’t fare so well. Don’t let this be yours!
The second most common question I hear is, “we are leaving on a plane and won’t be taking our car seat, but I need one at my destination because we are renting a car. Can you suggest some rental companies that provide car seats?”
As I mentioned before, if you are flying without the car seat, there is no safe way for your child to be restrained on the airplane. Secondly, there are many potential issues with rental seats:
1) You don’t know the history (whether or not the seat was in a crash).
2) You don’t know whether or not the seat was cleaned according to manufacturer instructions (they often use harsh chemicals that can compromise the integrity of the seat).
3) You may not know how to install it (and it probably won’t come with the manual.)
4) It might be expired.
5) It might be missing pieces! I’ve even seen some with entire harnesses missing (yikes!)
6) It might not be the right seat for your child (I’ve heard of companies providing boosters for newborns!!)
7) It can be expensive! For the same amount (or less), you buy a brand new seat that is very easy to travel with.
So as this travel season approaches, make sure you’re budgeting for even the tiniest passengers! Your child’s life isn’t worth the perceived convenience of traveling without a seat.
And just for fun, here are some car seats that have been provided by rental companies.