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  1. #1
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    Plane with 4 year old

    We'll be flying with our JUST turned 4 year old this Spring to Disney. We'll be taking the bus from the airport to hotel son won't need a CRS while we're there. It's a 2 hour (tops!) flight. Would you take a seat for the plane? What do you consider minimum weight/ height to be best supported by the belt? (I can't believe I'm even considering "minimum") I don't fear trouble with her being to fidgety, etc. She was fine last year and I expect the same... her Leapster will keep her content if all else fails!

    Second... IF I should use a seat, is it OK to use a Scenera if her shoulders are a bit above the slots? Right now she's a bit below them (I checked the other day after I realized it was time to crank the Blvd up) I'm afraid she might outgorw that seat by Spring. We'll be replacing it with a Maestro type seat or GN (that's another discussion, LOL) but I'd rather take the smaller, lighter Scenera. I wouldn't drive a car like that but it should be OK for turbulence, right?

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  3. #2
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: Plane with 4 year old

    No, you should not use an outgrown seat. For a child her age I'd prefer no seat on the plane to an outgrown seat. The FAA states that "seatbelts only may not provide optimal protection for children less than 40 lbs." However at age 4 and able to sit still, if she's at least 35 I'd probably consider it.

    The other thing you could consider is buying or renting a CARES harness, for use on the plane.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  4. #3
    CPS Technician firemomof3's Avatar
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    Re: Plane with 4 year old

    Personally I would buy a Maestro. Since your going to need one anyway and its so lightweight and easy to install, I don't think it would be much of a hassel.
    DD1 10.5y/o seatbelt
    DD2 8y/o 45" 52lbs. backless
    DS 7y/o 51" 58lbs. ProBooster or backless

  5. #4
    Admin - CPS Technician
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    Re: Plane with 4 year old

    I have stopped taking a seat on the plane with 35-40 pound 3 year olds. I didn't need the seat at my destination.

  6. #5
    CPS Technician Ali's Avatar
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    Re: Plane with 4 year old

    Last April (right after DD turned 4) I let DD fly with DH without a carseat! I also let her booster train at that age - she barely breathes when sitting in a booster.
    DD Jan 2005
    RF to 3 1/2 years; Harnessed to 7 1/2 years; Now Boostered

  7. #6
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    Re: Plane with 4 year old

    Thanks for the input. I don't remember reading that FAA statement. Looks like I'm leaning towards the seat, then. Maybe a new one. Thanks for the input about the Maestro, too. I let my CPST cert lapse last year and it's amazing how quickly I stopped keeping up with the latest. I'm just starting to learn about that one!

  8. #7
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Plane with 4 year old

    Quote Originally Posted by bensmom View Post
    I have stopped taking a seat on the plane with 35-40 pound 3 year olds. I didn't need the seat at my destination.
    what about a child a couple of weeks from the 3rd birthday and weighing about 35 pounds (give or take)?

  9. #8
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Plane with 4 year old

    Quote Originally Posted by mykidsmom View Post
    what about a child a couple of weeks from the 3rd birthday and weighing about 35 pounds (give or take)?
    I found the seatbelt didn't fit Piper well until 40 pounds solidly. Some belts don't fit her at 42 pounds or 43 pounds (which for her is six to nine months growth). For a child that young and small I'd probably take a seat.

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  10. #9
    Admin - CPS Technician
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    Re: Plane with 4 year old

    Quote Originally Posted by mykidsmom View Post
    what about a child a couple of weeks from the 3rd birthday and weighing about 35 pounds (give or take)?
    I've gone both ways. If the child will sit still and keep the belt buckled the entire time, I'd think about leaving the seat home. For a wiggly child, I'd lean towards taking a seat. For me, it would depend on how much other stuff I'm taking with me. Also, it depends on the time of day. If I want my child to sleep, it's easier with a carseat.

  11. #10
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Plane with 4 year old

    For me, the real issue is getting the car seat to the destination in one piece. The chances of anything bad happening on the flight are very slim but the risks of checking a car seat or having it sent to another city are much greater. Car travel is much less safe so don't risk being in the car without your child properly restrained.

    So I promote using a car seat on the airplane more if you need to transport it. Some might take a seat anyway and bravo to them but realistically, having worked for the airlines, I would not trust the airlines with a checked car seat.

    If there is a reliable seat on the other end or not needed, then statistically, the lap belt is safe, if only because you're all on the aircraft. CARES harnesses only go to 44lbs. Saferider vests and boosters can't be used on airplanes.

    The car seat is always a safer option on the airplane regardless. I used one for my 5 year old last summer, less for the flight and more for the car trip we took down the coast of California.

    So don't debate the size and weight of your children but the practicalities of your whole trip. If your child is over age 2 or you have purchased a seat for your under 2 baby, and you have a FAA approved car seat, it's your right to use it on board, as long as it fits.
    Former Flight Attendant, 13 years, 2 companies in 5 countries
    3 trilingual, international travelers with two nationalities
    http://flyingwithchildren1.blogspot.com

  12. #11
    Admin - CPS Technician LISmama810's Avatar
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    Re: Plane with 4 year old

    I wouldn't use a seat for a 4-year-old unless it was needed at your destination (which it sounds like it isn't).

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