Flying with 4-year-old and 1-year-old



We have a trip coming up, and we have to fly. I'm not a frequent or good traveler, so I really want to keep things easy, while keeping the kiddos safe (of course!).

Short version: I'm looking for an alternative to lugging two carseats through the airport and trying to get them properly installed in my MILs car upon arrival. I have concerns about getting them both in the backseat correctly, in a timely manner (others aren't super-patient with my carseat fastidiousness), with room for an adult to ride in back. We had a hard enough time with both seats in our own car with unlimited time. I think she has a Honda CRV. And of course, the airport lugging and on-flight installations.

DS is 4 1/2, probably 35 lbs, and rides ff in a Radian xtsl. DD will be 12-13 months, not sure the weight, but small for her age, and rides in a SafetyFirst Onboard 35.

Will the onboard even fit on the plane? I don't want to do the gate check / lap child's tempting, but doesn't seem safe.

Can DS(4) ride with just the lap belt on the plane and in a backless booster at our destination? We would be driving regularly at our destination, for a week or so, but I think it's extremely like that he would sit properly and not sleep. Should he ride with the lap belt on the plane and get one of those ridesafer travel vests for the destination? It's pricer; I just heard of it today. Should we get one of those high-back boosters that you can use with or without the back and carry on the bottom and pack the back part? Or there's that CARES thing for the plane.....

I'd really appreciate any help. Thanks!


Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member

The onBoard fits and is FAA approved. I'd bring it baseless on board, maybe put the base in the suitcase, or see if your folks will buy a base. Or just use it baseless there. It's very easy to install without the base. Just practice before you go.

At 35 pounds it's possible, but I don't think hugely likely that your 35 pound child will fit in the seatbelt alone. The CARES won't make the lap belt fit any better, so that's not a great idea, IMO. The backless booster idea should just be nixed. At four and not 40 pounds I would maybe be ok with a high back for this occasional time, but not a backless. The Radian is very easy to install on planes and carry around, so that's an option. If you're ok with the idea that the lap belt may be a hair loose, the Ride Safer Travel Vest would work.



New member
Luckily, you have the two easiest seats for travel. A bucket and a radian.

I don't personally have experience with a Radian but I do with a bucket and it was really easy.

If you don't want to travel with the radian, I'd suggest to get a HBB shipped to your moms house IF you think your son could ride safely in it.

OB should fit, the person on front won't be able to recline his or her seat. Apologize and smile sweetly, if they aren't a jerk, you can buy them a drink. :)
Last edited by a moderator:


Thanks. If my son shouldn't really do the lap belt only on the plane, which is what it sounds like, then we'll just take the seat and deal. I'm sure it'll be fine; I'm just such a baby about traveling :)


Admin - CPS Technician
I think that it depends on the kid. I've had my 3 year old (he's 35 pounds) in just the lap belt on the plane. I like the Ride Safer Travel Vest for the destination if you want something easy to travel with.


New member
They can sit with just the lap belt. It's a safety compromise but the chances of anything going wrong in the air are far slimmer than on the road. The priority should be on keeping your child safe in the car, since that's a bigger threat than the flight itself.

Are you flying alone with them?

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