Chat Plus: Does a Toddler Traveling by Plane Need a Car Seat?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

During our online chat (most Mondays at 2 p.m.), you ask your travel questions and we answer them -- mostly. Here's one we couldn't get to last week.

I have a toddler who is a couple of weeks from being 2. I plan on buying him his own plane ticket, but does he need a car seat on the plane?

Technically, no, but by every other measure, yes: It's far safer than holding him as a "lap child" (allowed for children younger than 2) or strapping him into his airline seat with an adult-size seat belt (permissible for kids 2 and older). The Federal Aviation Administration "strongly urges" that kids who weigh less than 40 pounds fly in an FAA-approved car seat or flight harness. Find info on both on the FAA's Web site (, click on "Flying with Children," then "Child Safety on Airplanes"). And remember to check with your airline for its own rules on child restraints.

-- K.C.S.

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