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  1. #1
    Carseat Crazy
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    Question New to flying with kids

    We have decided to take a brief family mental health break trip & go play on the coast. We can get dropped off in our own van & will rent a van at the airport upon arrival. My 11 & 9.5yo will most likely be fine & if I hate the fit I will pick up a cheap backless. They generally ride in a backless, but go without in a pinch. They only 5step out great where I buckle the baby in our van.) I will get a Bubblebum for my 7yo & I will gate check my 17mo's Sunshine Radian.

    We will do carry on only. So other than getting a bag & GATE checking my car seat, is there anything else I need to know? How do I get it to the gate as we do not travel with a stroller? Is there anything I can get to make my lap sitter safer if we hit turbulence? How about a sling or wrap?

    If I do get my babe a seat, can I use my not expired Sunshine Radian on the plain even though my stickers are coming off?

    I have only flown with a kid once & he was a new baby. There was an extra seat for us to bring his bucket on & he slept the whole time. This is new to me!

    Thanks,
    Mama bear to 4 now

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  3. #2
    Admin - CPST Instructor murphydog77's Avatar
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    Re: New to flying with kids

    Hi. Lucky! I'd love to take a quick trip!

    How big are the 11 and 9.5 yr olds? My ds could have 5-stepped in a van at 11, but not at 9.5 and he's a big kid. Van seats are typically larger, though the 3rd row may fit better since it tends to be shorter. If the 9.5 yr old is smaller, I'd bring a backless. I'm sure that even though you're only doing carryons, there'd be enough in your baggage count that a backless booster would make it and it fits easily under the seat in front under a backpack (and it beats wasting time at Wal-Mart or Target picking up a booster).

    There is a [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Diono-Radian-Carry-Strap-Black/dp/B0062CHPM6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1421568845&sr=8-2&keywords=diono+radian+strap"]carry-on strap[/ame] for the Radian. If you have a Sunshine Kids version, it should have come with one. But you can buy extras and create a sort of backpack system for it with the loops on the back of the seat designed for the straps.

    Unfortunately, there's no way to make a lap baby safer other than to put him in an installed carseat. Even in a sling or front carrier, your baby will be subjected to forces of his weight times the amount of force of the event (so, dropping in turbulence or a runway overshoot). In other words, let's say your baby weighs 18 lbs. and something happens. A sling won't be holding just 18 lbs. of baby; it'll be holding 18 x 90 mph = 1620 lbs. (guessing--for runway incident).

    If there's an open seat, ask if you can use your carseat. Before you leave, look for the "Approved for use on an airplane" sticker. That text is in red and is somewhere on the side of the seat.

    Have a good trip!

  4. #3
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: New to flying with kids

    Thanks for the reply Heather. The older 2 are the same size. There is a 2# and less than a half an inch difference. Maybe I will ask around to see if I could borrow one or two. My husband would not be thrilled if I drop $90 in boosters.

    I will check for a strap on my seat. That sounds familiar.

    Are there any links/organizations that would make my husband convinced to buy the babe a ticket? It is not like we have $$ burning a hole in our pocket. What are the odds?

    If we do get her a seat, I assume I have to take the boot off & FF her on the plane?

    Thanks,
    Mamabear to 4 now

  5. #4
    CPS Fanatic Brianna's Avatar
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    http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/ Harmony youth boosters would be fine- no need for $90 worth of boosters. You should be able to RF baby on the plane. If it doesn't fit or if they give you a hard time then you could FF. Do you have an angle adjuster?

    More than one flight I've been on we had to stop suddenly and brake hard on the runway. I definitely had to brace my arms against the seat in front of me to avoid hitting my head- if I had a child on my lap we definitely would have slammed into the seat in front of us, and I imagine there would have been injuries.

    The godkids are growing!
    J 9/09 and J&A 1/15

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  7. #5
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: New to flying with kids

    Quote Originally Posted by mamabearof3 View Post
    Thanks for the reply Heather. The older 2 are the same size. There is a 2# and less than a half an inch difference. Maybe I will ask around to see if I could borrow one or two. My husband would not be thrilled if I drop $90 in boosters.

    I will check for a strap on my seat. That sounds familiar.

    Are there any links/organizations that would make my husband convinced to buy the babe a ticket? It is not like we have $$ burning a hole in our pocket. What are the odds?

    If we do get her a seat, I assume I have to take the boot off & FF her on the plane?

    Thanks,
    Mamabear to 4 now
    http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigat...267443051.html

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngogl...s-right-wrong/

  8. #6
    Admin - CPST Instructor murphydog77's Avatar
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    Re: New to flying with kids

    Quote Originally Posted by Brianna View Post
    http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/ Harmony youth boosters would be fine- no need for $90 worth of boosters. You should be able to RF baby on the plane. If it doesn't fit or if they give you a hard time then you could FF. Do you have an angle adjuster?

    More than one flight I've been on we had to stop suddenly and brake hard on the runway. I definitely had to brace my arms against the seat in front of me to avoid hitting my head- if I had a child on my lap we definitely would have slammed into the seat in front of us, and I imagine there would have been injuries.
    You could also get the Harmony for your 7 yr old. They're about $15 and really light. We loved ours when we were in boosters.

  9. #7
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: New to flying with kids

    Speaking as a former airline pilot... Up to generally 80 knots (92 mph) on the runway is considered the low-speed regime during an airliner's takeoff run. During this point in acceleration, the pilots are trained to stop the plane for pretty much anything unusual -- a caution light coming on in the cockpit, unusual readings in any instrument, any warning horn... There is sufficient runway left to stop the plane safely. But it won't be a gentle stop; it's going to happen quickly and without advance notice to the flight attendants or passengers. For folks who are buckled in, this shouldn't be a big deal. But for a lap child, it's the equivalent of having your child on your lap while you're going maybe 92 mph down the freeway and the driver has to slam on the brakes, hard.

    Between 80 knots and V1 (takeoff decision speed -- a higher speed dependent on a number of factors including aircraft weight, runway conditions and length, and atmospheric considerations), the pilots will perform a high-speed rejected takeoff in certain instances in which it would be safer to stop than to continue for flight. V1 is highly variable but could easily be around 140 mph.

    High speed rejected takeoffs are relatively uncommon, thankfully, but low speed ones really aren't. I have done them on commercial flights with passengers on board. I did find this link -- it's an article from Boeing. Estimates rejected takeoffs at 1 in 2000. Probably way more information than most people would care to have but anyway, here it is... http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aer...off_story.html

    Speaking as a mom... It's a WHOLE lot more relaxing to have a 17mo in their own seat than in my lap. No longer a relatively calm nursing infant, my 17mo spends his time on my lap trying to shove his fingers up my nose and in my eyes. On a plane, where he feels confined, it's generally worse because he also squirms to try to get away. If it is not prohibitively expensive to buy your child a seat, it's money very well spent.

    Hope this helps!


  10. #8
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: New to flying with kids

    The Radian is a great seat for aircraft. As for transporting it through the airport, you may be happier strapping it into or onto something (a luggage cart, an umbrella stroller, or a rolling bag) than wearing it. It's heavy and can be pretty awkward depending on your build. I'm short and can't wear it longer than about 5 minutes. Something you may consider before investing in an extra strap.

  11. #9
    Admin - CPST Instructor murphydog77's Avatar
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    Re: New to flying with kids

    Quote Originally Posted by minimalistmama View Post
    Speaking as a former airline pilot... Up to generally 80 knots (92 mph) on the runway is considered the low-speed regime during an airliner's takeoff run. During this point in acceleration, the pilots are trained to stop the plane for pretty much anything unusual -- a caution light coming on in the cockpit, unusual readings in any instrument, any warning horn... There is sufficient runway left to stop the plane safely. But it won't be a gentle stop; it's going to happen quickly and without advance notice to the flight attendants or passengers. For folks who are buckled in, this shouldn't be a big deal. But for a lap child, it's the equivalent of having your child on your lap while you're going maybe 92 mph down the freeway and the driver has to slam on the brakes, hard.

    Between 80 knots and V1 (takeoff decision speed -- a higher speed dependent on a number of factors including aircraft weight, runway conditions and length, and atmospheric considerations), the pilots will perform a high-speed rejected takeoff in certain instances in which it would be safer to stop than to continue for flight. V1 is highly variable but could easily be around 140 mph.

    High speed rejected takeoffs are relatively uncommon, thankfully, but low speed ones really aren't. I have done them on commercial flights with passengers on board. I did find this link -- it's an article from Boeing. Estimates rejected takeoffs at 1 in 2000. Probably way more information than most people would care to have but anyway, here it is... http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aer...off_story.html

    Speaking as a mom... It's a WHOLE lot more relaxing to have a 17mo in their own seat than in my lap. No longer a relatively calm nursing infant, my 17mo spends his time on my lap trying to shove his fingers up my nose and in my eyes. On a plane, where he feels confined, it's generally worse because he also squirms to try to get away. If it is not prohibitively expensive to buy your child a seat, it's money very well spent.

    Hope this helps!
    This is great information! Thanks!

  12. #10
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    Re: New to flying with kids

    To add to all that above, I've had the experience of being a passenger on a plane that skidded suddenly on landing.

    We had quite a wait before leaving the plane as the paramedics were called for a lap child who went flying, and seeing them carrying the child on a backboard was one of the saddest things I've ever seen.

    On a lighter note, I believe the coffeepot is strapped in to keep it from breaking.
    Mom to Mischief 1/DD (10.5), Mischief 2/DS1 (8), Mischief 3/DS2 (6.5), and now baby 4/DS3 (21 months), already in training to be Mischief 4 soon, since he is learning from the best!

  13. #11
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: New to flying with kids

    Great news-the baby is getting her own seat! I told my husband I would loose my marbles if I had to restrain her on my lap for 4 hours. Thanks for the tip!

    Should I install it RF or can I do I FF for the flight? I do have an angle adjuster, but have never used it. I am just imagining the nightmare of a RF car seat on the plane. Especially a Radian. I just can't imagine that going well. To recap-she is 18m.

    Appreciative,
    Mamabear to 4

  14. #12
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: New to flying with kids

    That's a trickier one... The main thing is that she's being harnessed. That said, up to 20 lbs she definitely should be RF. If she's over 20 lbs, then it would be safer for her to be RF -- same as in a car. If you want to RF and your husband balks, you could point out that the flight attendants' seats are generally rear-facing. Yes, it's because they're safer. The reason passenger seats aren't too is because adults tend to get airsick really fast if they're sitting backwards.

    I haven't RF'd a Radian on a plane. Carseatlady.com has a picture of a RF Radian on a plane, though -- presumably with the angle adjuster because I can't imagine it fitting otherwise! -- and it looks like it installs pretty upright. http://thecarseatlady.com/before-you...w-your-rights/

    Packing the boot and angle adjuster doesn't seem like much fun. But actually, once the carseat is installed it's pretty nice flying with a RF child. There is no chance of them kicking the seat ahead of them (although an 18mo in a Radian might not be able to reach it anyway) and with them facing you it's easier to hand them food or toys when they're awake. Also, she probably won't be able to reach your tray table to grab things off of it and fling them, which is my son's favorite inflight activity if he's forward facing (yup, ours isn't always RF on planes -- in the frenzy of installing 3 carseats we sometimes forget to RF his). You'll also have a lot more room to move without a carseat against your shoulder. If she's long-legged and trying to kick you, try wrapping a blanket over her legs.

    Hurray for having her own seat! Enjoy your trip.

  15. #13
    Senior Community Member aeormsby's Avatar
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    Re: New to flying with kids

    Once my kids were over about 15 months I usually FF'd them on the plane, even though they were RF in the car until after they turned 3. With the tall seats they were almost more upright RF than they ended up being FF. If you want to RF (and since you have a larger group) I would purchase tickets so that some of your family are in front of the carseat (maybe do that either way, then you don't have to worry about the kicking with FF either).
    Ann

    DD - 1/06 - 5-stepping
    DS - 12/07 - Incognito, Recaro Performance Booster & Harmony Literiders
    And a Bubble Bum for backup/travel

  16. #14
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: New to flying with kids

    Thanks bunches you rock stars! Flying with my bigs is not concerning. It's my spicy 18mo that could be interesting.

    Appreciative,
    Mamabear to...4

  17. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by minimalistmama View Post
    That's a trickier one... The main thing is that she's being harnessed. That said, up to 20 lbs she definitely should be RF. If she's over 20 lbs, then it would be safer for her to be RF -- same as in a car. If you want to RF and your husband balks, you could point out that the flight attendants' seats are generally rear-facing. Yes, it's because they're safer. The reason passenger seats aren't too is because adults tend to get airsick really fast if they're sitting backwards.
    I've seen variations on this comment on several carseat-related sites, but I've not been able to find anything "official" that flight attendant jump seats are RF primarily for safety reasons. I'm not disagreeing that RF is safer. But my research indicates that the position of the jump seats (i.e., whether they are FF or RF) are usually tied to requirements that FAs be able to see the cabin during take off and landings. In some aircraft, this can be done from the front of the aircraft from a RF seat, but other aircraft have both types of jump seats.

    Thanks to anyone who can provide any clarification on this.

  18. #16
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    Re: New to flying with kids

    Quote Originally Posted by kookaburra View Post
    I've seen variations on this comment on several carseat-related sites, but I've not been able to find anything "official" that flight attendant jump seats are RF primarily for safety reasons. I'm not disagreeing that RF is safer. But my research indicates that the position of the jump seats (i.e., whether they are FF or RF) are usually tied to requirements that FAs be able to see the cabin during take off and landings. In some aircraft, this can be done from the front of the aircraft from a RF seat, but other aircraft have both types of jump seats.

    Thanks to anyone who can provide any clarification on this.
    I don't know whether this makes it "official" or not, but I received this information from my instructors during pilot indoc training at two different U.S airlines.

    You can of course find FF fight attendant jumpseats -- usually they are at the rear of the cabin, either as a spare/training jumpseat, or in cases where it is an aircraft that requires two flight attendants. Then the lead FA is RF and the aft FA is FF, often in a pull-down center jumpseat (say, in front of the lav door) where he or she can see the aisle.

    You'll notice that additional FA jumpseats located in the galley are generally RF as well.

  19. #17
    CPS Fanatic aept's Avatar
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    I think you will be really glad that you decided to buy your baby a seat!
    Since you last flew with kid(s), airlines have really reduced their number of flights offered compared to the demand for tickets and it seems much more rare for there to be an open seat on a flight (to let the baby fly for free but in their own seat like worked out for you last time.) Now they often seem overbooked with passengers waiting on standby for any open seats.
    My littlest was 23 months when we flew last and we got him a seat and brought his sunshine kids radian. Our stickers were still intact but for sure were faded and wrinkly - barely readable. No one checked them. (Also our sunshine kids radians did NOT come with the handy carry strap when we bought them. It was true that some SK radians did but not all.)
    I ended up ff my son on the plane as it seemed really awkward RF. I set it in that way for just a moment. Maybe if I had taken off the boot and installed it incorrectly RF it might have fit but I didn't want to take forever messing around with different options. I wanted to look like I knew what I was doing and was confident! I know how to install it FF so went with that. I did change the shoulder strap height back and forth as the slot he was on at the time (for RF) was really far below his shoulders.

    Also it will be much better for the radian itself to be installed on the plane with you. Gate checking is not too safe for the seat. They can get tossed around by the crew and easily have damage - visible or hidden.
    Ann, mom to 3 big brothers and a baby girl:
    DS1 - Aug 2006, 80 lb, 56", incognitos
    DS2 - May 2008, 77 lb, 51.5", Vivo or NBB
    DS3 - June 2011, 46 lb, 43", FF in FR85 or booster training
    DD - May 2015, 19 lb, 29", ) Snugride 30

  20. #18
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: New to flying with kids

    To clarify, while it would be safer to RF her, if she's 18 months and over 20 lbs I wouldn't stress about it either. If that Radian isn't easy to install RF in her aircraft seat (I was assuming you'd have the boot with you anyway for installation in the rental car, so might not be too much extra effort to try it on the plane), I'd flip it FF and not worry about it. I was also thinking that if she's RF in the car, then it could be easier to RF her on the plane too as you'd not have to make any strap adjustments.

    Anyway, this trip is planned as a stress relief ... so don't spend too much time worrying about which direction to put the carseat. It'll probably be pretty obvious once you board whether this is a case for RF or FF. Enjoy your trip!

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