There are lots of things we as parents do to make air travel easier on our children. We make treat bags. We buy new toys. We pack plenty of fun snacks in our carry-ons. And of course, we never ever forget those favorite blankets and loveys. But there’s something else we could bring along to make flights with our children a little more comfortable … and a lot more secure—their car seats.
Even though I work for a baby gear company, deciding to bring the car seat along on our family’s first flight (a relatively quick, two-hour direct) was not easy. Let’s face it: Car seats are big and bulky, and not so easy to schlep through an airport. But once I started researching it (see my previous post, “Cleared for Take Off?”), I knew I would feel best, and my son, Jack, who turned 2 just a few days before our departure, would probably do best, if we brought along his car seat—our Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP 5-70 Convertible.
Once we decided the car seat was coming along, our next challenge was figuring out just how we’d maneuver it through the airport. It turns out, there are lots of options. There are mini luggage carts, covers that turn your car seat into a backpack, and inexpensive, yet ingenious straps that allow you to attach your car seat right to your rolling luggage.
The next challenge was getting through security. The TSA agents didn’t bat an eye at the car seat, but they did want us to run it through the baggage X-ray machine, which I wasn’t expecting. At first it wouldn’t quite fit, but changing the seat’s recline position just a bit made it work.
I knew the next tight fit was going to be the plane itself. I had measured the base of the seat before we left, and it was well within the 16 inches the FAA recommends. But before I could try it out onboard, I was stopped by the gate agent and then the flight attendant. They both wanted to see that my car seat had the appropriate stickers. (In order to fly with your car seat, it must say, “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” Otherwise, you may be asked to check it as baggage. FYI, Peg Perego’s Primo Viaggio SIP 5-70 Convertible and its infant car seat, the Primo Viaggio SIP 30-30, are both approved for in-flight use.)
Once we all boarded, my husband quickly got to work installing the car seat with the plane’s seat beat. It took a couple of minutes. There were more than a few people standing in the aisle waiting on us, and yes, a few rolled their eyes, but it really didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. I was doing the best thing for my child after all. And my 2-year-old? He was more than excited to see his beloved car seat, which fit just fine in the plane.
“My seat! My seat! Jack sit in his seat!” he exclaimed as he climbed in the familiar car seat.
With Jack secure in his seat, we were all a bit more relaxed and able to enjoy our first flight together. We took pictures, waved goodbye to the ground and said “whee!” as we soared above the clouds. There were snacks and coloring and a few quiet games of Simons Says. But overall, it was uneventful, which is exactly what you want a flight with a little one to be.
So would I do it again? Absolutely. For our family, the Primo Viaggio SIP 5-70 Convertible turned out to be the perfect travel companion.
What about you? Have you flown with your child’s car seat before? Please share your experience with us by commenting below.
by Emily | Posted in 2012 Collection, 2012 Primo Viaggio SIP 5-70 Convertible, Baby Talk |