Children on Plane belts only - crash tests/data?


New member
I was surprised to read here at what young ages it seems to be okay to put a child in just the plane's lap belt. I was just discussing this with DH to see how he felt about this for our upcoming trip and the question of data came up. Do we have any data on this?

I'm assuming my will-be-just-barely 2 yo should be in a car seat on the plane and she will be anyway. From what I read about the AAP's recommendations, it sounds like she should at the least be in a seat and possibly still be RF, making me feel a little guilty about my plan to FF her on the plane.

But we are really unsure what to do about our older child who will almost-be or just-be 4 yo (visiting around her birthday). Before coming here, I had assumed she would need a seat like in the car. Then I was really getting excited about the idea of using a CARES and RSTV for the trip, because it sounds so much easier, but she has already exceeded the height limit of the CARES. This leaves us with the options of nothing on the plane and RSTV at destination OR taking a second car seat for her to use on the plane/in the car. What does the AAP recommend for kids this age? Are there any tests or data? This appears to be a subjective gray area for which people have different age cut offs. Some data would really help us decide.

Thanks! Sorry about having so many questions. I'm struggling with this decision. I cannot imagine my little girl riding in anything without a 5 point harness. :)

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