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Not all car seats are created the same, or allowed for use on aircraft.
The FAA and airlines require car seats to meet certain requirements in order to use them onboard your flight.
Before you travel with a car seat, be sure you will be allowed to use it on board.
The easiest way to check, the sticker. Look for a sticker on the side of the car seat, and it will say “approved for use on aircraft”. It will be in red letters and is easy to find. As a flight attendant I looked for that sticker on every car seat that was used on our flight.
Boosters seats are not approved for use on the airplane. Yes, you may need one when you reach your destination. You will need to check it or if its the smaller ones place it under the seat in front of you.
The FAA approves a safety harness called CARES restraint system for children weighing between 22 and 44 pounds.
If you are flying with a car seat, you will have to place it in a window seat that is NOT in the emergency exit row. Some airlines will also not allow you to sit one row in front of or one row behind the emergency exit row.
If you find that you are not able to use your child’s seat on the aircraft but still need to get it to your destination you will have to check it. Be sure you purchase a cover to protect it from snow/rain/dirt. Even in the best of circumstances it will come into contact with a lot of nastiness.
To carry a car seat through the airport is quite the undertaking. These transporters are popular with flying parents and will fold up to fit in the overhead once your seat is removed.