Flying with Baby: Taking Your Car Seat With You

Summer is in full swing and many families are flying all around the world. Many of those families will be flying with baby or young children and their car seats. Here are 5 tips you should know about air travel with a car seat.

Flying with Baby: 5 Tips For Flying With A Car Seat

    • Never check your car seat.
    • If your child has a paid seat, you can bring your car seat on the plane with you.
    • If you must check your car seat, gate-check it.
    • When you check your car seat, make sure to have a waterproof cover on it.
    • Label all removable parts on your car seat.

These five tips for taking your car seat with you when flying with baby will help you keep your child safe, germ-free (well…as much as that is possible cause…kids) and lessen your stress.

Flying with Baby: Never check your car seat 

Why? Because airline employees do not take special care with car seats.

 How do I know? I’ve worked for a major airline for the past 11 years and I have seen car seats being tossed and thrown. Car seats have to be replaced after a car accident, and being thrown around can damage them in the same ways.

When you check a car seat, it travels on various conveyor belts (which are never cleaned),  gets tossed in luggage bins with hundreds of other checked bags, and left on the ground outside. That’s right, the same ground that airplanes and fuels trucks drive on, and the same ground employees spit on. Marinate on that one for a second. Click here for my product recommendations for traveling with children.


If your child has a paid seat, you can bring your car seat on the plane. 

People often miss the fact that if you have paid for a seat for your child, you are allowed to put their car seat in their plane seat. It is safer for them to be in their car seat while flying.  Plus, if you are using it, there would be no reason to check it. 

Many children are also comforted by sitting in their car seat because they are used to it from traveling in the car. Staying seated and buckled in their car seat is second nature so doing the same on the plane seems natural to them.

If you must check your car seat, gate-check it. 

You are allowed to take your car seat through security with you. If your child can’t sit in the car seat while on the plane, you have the right to gate check it.

By gate checking it, you reduce the number of hands that will touch it, which will also greatly reduces the risk of it getting lost. You should also be able to get it back plane-side and not have to wait for it in baggage claim.

What would happen if you got to your destination and your car seat had been lost? Reduce as much stress as possible and gate check your car seat.


When you check your car seat, please make sure to have a waterproof cover on it

When bags are checked, there is no guarantee they will be protected from the elements. If it’s raining outside, your checked bags will often get rained on. Your car seat will too while it waits to be loaded in the belly of the plane. Reduce the amount of damage that will be done to your car seat and keep it dry with a waterproof cover.


Label all removable parts on your car seat. 

Before you leave home, make sure to label all parts of the car seat. Even if you don’t plan to check your car seat, it is better to be safe than sorry. Car Seats should have all removable parts attached to the seat when you hand it over. Better yet, take any removable parts and keep those with you.

Some car seats have several removable parts and those parts often get lost or damaged because they aren’t attached firmly to the car seat. Using a waterproof car seat cover will make sure your car seat pieces and parts stay together and make it back to you at the end of your flight. 

Are there any car seat travel tips you would add to this list? 

Flying with Baby bringing your car seat with you

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