Have you ever wondered if you need to use a child restraint system (CRS) or a car seat on an airplane? Well you are not alone.
If you're taking it on an airplane, it will need to be FAA approved, of course!
While there are so many guides offering tips on child safety seat installation and use for your vehicle, there are so few such recommendations for best child safety seats for travel or for FAA approved car seats.
Funnily enough, even the FAA website will not provide an FAA approved car seats list!
Since you do not want to arrive at the airport and be told your seat is not approved fro airplane use, I have prepared this essential guide for FAA car seats for travel.
Check out our quick FAA Approved Car Seats List:
"While child safety seats are not required while traveling in an aircraft in the US or Canada, nor are there airline approved car seats, the Federal Aviation Authority recommends that you secure your child on the aircraft using a proper seat."
Many parents with kids under two years will just have the kid on their lap for the entire flight, though flying with an FAA child seat is always the safest way to travel.
Bear in mind that you'll have to buy a seat for your infant in this case, whereas if you're traveling with them in your lap, you can just get a lap infant fare.
Best FAA Approved Car Seat: Safety 1st Guide
Out of the best FAA Approved car seats on the list the Safety 1st Guide 65 is the best portable safety seat for travel with its small size, adjustable headrest, side impact protection and 5 point harness.
But here's the thing:
If you have a child older than two years, and you are on a long haul flight you will have either of two problems or both:
- Such a child is very active and will not be content to sit on your lap the entire time. I can tell you from experience, they can get bored very easily and want to walk all over the plane playing with other passengers
- A toddler without a child car seat will be a nuisance on the flight since even if they are on your lap they will never let you enjoy your airplane movie or a meal, at least with a seat your hands will be free.
While there are many child safety seats on the market, some that claim to be the best seats for airplanes, you can only use an FAA approved car seat on an airplane.
FAA Certified Car Seat:
Your car seat is FAA approved if it has the sticker on it declaring "this restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft"
FAA Approved Car Seats: A Comparison Chart
Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat
Britax Marathon G4.1 Convertible Car Seat
Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat
Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat
4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
How to Install an FAA Approved Child Safety Seat
FAA Recommendation and Regulations for Child Car Seats
5 Infant Airplane/FAA Approved Car Seats 2018 Reviewed
Have you ever been in an airport with a million bags and trolleys, and a toddler on one hand and yet also have to tote along a huge car seat? sounds familiar doesn't it?
If you are someone like me who travels often this can be quite a frustrating experience all round that we often wish we could just not have to travel, but travel we must.
When it comes to child safety seats, most are designed for cars which makes them totally unsuited for us travelers who have to go through check in at airports sometimes several times a month.
Would it not be nice if you could have something small and portable that you could get in and out of your car and dash across the airport with without too much hassle.
This is what the Safety 1st Guide 65 is built for. The Safety 1st is the best FAA Approved car seat if you are looking for a small and portable car seat for travel.
In addition to being small and portable car seat for travel, you also get the following benefits with the Safety 1st guide:
While the airline wont charge you to check in your child safety seat, lugging around a heavy convertible seat is not the best of experiences.
However getting a balance between safe and convenient has often led to safety seats that are for lack of a better word just a pain if you travel a lot or even if you are just tired from a long commute.
But did you know that you can get an FAA Approved car seat that weighs in at only 9 pounds? Yep the Evenflo Tribute LX weighs in at 9 pounds making it the lightest FAA Approved seat for travel we review.
Even as a portable or lightweight FAA Approved seat is important, sometimes you just need a seat that is not only safe in airplanes but also for use in the car where you will definitely be using it more often
Most car seats will either do one or two things really well, but a seat that does more than that is definitely better. However, such a seat is often more expensive given that it provides not only convenience but also safety.
"All Britax harnessed car seats, including infant car seats, convertible car seats, and combination harness-2-booster seats, are certified for use on aircraft. Belt-positioning booster seats (backless booster seats) are NOT FAA approved and should not be used to secure your child on a plane."
Enter the Britax Marathon G4. 1, the safest and best travel car seat for infants as it is a car seat that you can use it for your newborn and older children in both the rear and forward facing modes.
It is quite a fancy child safety seat from the biggest brand of safety car seats that not only provides safety for the child but also comfort and convenience for both the child and the parent that is using the Britax child seat.
Sometimes you just want that one car seat that you can use for everything not just for when you are traveling on an airplane. But truth be said there are very few seats that come close to being multipurpose car seats.
As I have previously said, trying to make a car seat good for everything is tough and oftentimes can make the safety seat quite expensive. This means that most of the FAA Approved seats even the ones on this list do just one thing very well.
Well except for the Graco 4Ever All in One child seat which is the best car seat for air travel on the market hands down. Apart from being the best convertible car seat, the Graco is also the longest lasting car seat that happens to be FAA Approved.
The Graco 4Ever All in One is a 4 in 1 car seat that your child will use right from when they are an infant, to toddler and when they transition to harness boosters and finally to seat belts as a teen.
While some parents may prefers the bells and whistles in their car seats, in some instance a bare bones FAA Approved child car seat will do just fine, if you can find it.
In the quest to make the best multipurpose safety seat, the manufacturers seems to have forgotten about the budget consumer who just needs the car seat to transport their child in the airport and keep them safe while on the plane.
However, there is one brand, the Cosco Scenera NEXT that fulfills this very niche being the very best of the affordable FAA car seats on the market.
I got to warn you that while it is an FAA approved car seat, it is the last option I would go for, if I was traveling with my kid since its ratings on comfort, convenience, and safety are just so so
FAA Weight Recommendations for Airplane Travel
- More that 40 pounds - Airplane seat belt
- 22-44 pounds - CARES Child Restraint System
FAA Approved Child Airplane Travel Harness - Cares Safety Restraint System
According to the FAA regulations and laws on car seats the CARES Child Safety Restraint which is the only FAA Approved child restraint recommended by the FAA for children weighing in at not less that 22 pounds and not exceeding 44 pounds.
If you want a light alternative to hard backed child safety seats, then this is what you need to buy. However you need to remember that the CARES Child Safety Device is only approved for use in aircraft and never in motor vehicles.
If you buy this child safety restraint device ensure it has the sticker written
"FAA Approved in Accordance with 14 CFR 21.305(d), Amd 21.50 6-9-1980, Approved for Aircraft Use Only" on it or "FAA Approved in Accordance with 14 CFR 21.8(d), Approved for Aircraft Use Only"
How to Install a the Child Safety Seat on the Plane
. Follow these instructions to install your aircraft approved car seat relatively fast and easily.
- Recline the airplane seat back
- Thread the belt through the safety seat belt path. Cinch the belt with the buckle flap facing the aircraft's seat back making it easy to release.
- Tighten the seat belt and raise the back of the seat
It is always best to install the aircraft baby seat the same way that you install it in your vehicle.
If the passenger sitting in the front seat complains that the seat prevents them from reclining, politely tell them that your baby will sleep better and will not disturb them by kicking the the seat.
You need a greater deal of time and attention installing a forward facing car seat than you would a rear facing one
Best FAA Approved Car Seat: Safety 1st Guide 65
Out of the FAA Approved car seats the Safety 1st Guide 65 is the best car seat with its small size, adjustable headrest, side impact protection and 5 point harness.