Help Buckle in his Back! Plane car seat needed!



Can you help me? We just graduated from a Britax Roundabout to a Britax Regent and need a car seat for airline travel. I have Cosco carseat that I've brought on the airplane with me 3 times in the last 6 weeks and my son cries that the air plane's buckle hurts. I decided to research and buy him a new seat because we travel alot and thought the Radian 80 would be our answer. Ian is almost 3 and is 42 inches and 42 lbs. When I saw the Radian 80 today, I saw that the airplane buckle would still be in the middle of his back, just like the Cosco. Can someone recommend a car seat that will fit a husky kid for a few years where the seat belt routing doesn't go in between the frame and the car seat cover but rather between the frame of the carseat and the seat itself? I can only think of the Britax Marathon because it will have the same routing as the Roundabout but I am concerned about spending all that money and having him out grown it too soon. HELP! Thanks. Janel in Tampa


Senior Community Member
I cannot for the life of me figure out why you'd think the plane's buckle would be behind his back?:confused:

Yeah - can you explain that a bit? If there's a problem, then ask for an extender. The flight attendants should be able to get you one. Perhaps that will move the buckle from whereever it is that's causing the problem...? But I still can't picture it.


New member
I know exactly what she is talking about, I bought a five point seat that turned into a booster, don't remember what seat it was for my then 2 yr. old to use on the plane, it had the flap that you pull up to access the belt path and we had the same problem, i ended up strapping it to an unoccupied seat and strapping her into the seatbelt because the seatbelt was digging into her back, i didn't know about the extender then, but that probably would have worked.


New member
Hey Janel =)

This is Ellyn...I'm the CPST at the store you were at today. Just had to post, as I saw the thread and though "That's funny, I just talked to someone about this issue today..." and it was you!

Seriously, check out the Nautilus. If you can't find one in a store, let me know and I'll bring my Nautilus into my store and you can check it out. =)


An Aurora

Senior Community Member
I have posted about this in the past. The buckle is right in the middle of the kid's lower back. My DD complained the last time she flew with it. DH flew with her by himself, and his solution was to loosen the straps and stuff a blanket behind her back....yeah it's apparent who the safety freak is in the family... :rolleyes:


Admin - CPS Technician
My radian's cover has plastic under it at the beltpath to sort of cover the buckle up...i figured that's what it's for anyway, does it not work in all planes, maybe?


Senior Community Member
his solution was to loosen the straps and stuff a blanket behind her back
While this would be an absolute no-no in a road vehicle, I have done the same in an airplane after my kiddo became so uncomfortable that the only other option at the time to prevent her from screaming (& upsetting the entire passenger list) was to take her out of the seat.... Because the carseat's main purpose on the plane is to prevent injury during turbulence, which is quite different than crash force in a car :eek: It's similar to the fact that you can leave a Gogokidz attached to install on the airplane, but it *must* be removed for installation in a car.


Ambassador - CPS Technician
We've flown quite a bit with the Radian and I can definitely see how this could be a problem. The plane's buckle is not off to one side, like it is in a car. On the plane on an adult, it's right in the centre of your belly (well, hips ;)). For a child restraint, the buckle ends up in the middle of the belt path - even with an extender. (The extender doesn't help because it doesn't shorten the male end, you end up with the extender buckle still in the centre of the belt path, and the other buckle outside of the path.)

Picture this if you will (dashes represent belt, M/F represents Male Buckle/Female Buckle, t represents the side the adjustment tail comes from: )

Normal Airline Belt Arrangement

With Extender

In a car

The Radian (and the Titan we travelled with before it) have an open belt path - the only thing between the child and the belt path is the cover. If you pull back the cover, you can see the belt path. On an airplane, this means the buckle is right behind the child's back, with only the cover between them. The Marathon's belt path is behind the shell, so while the belt can be difficult to undo, it doesn't interfere with the child's comfort.

Thankfully, our DS doesn't seem to mind, but the concern certainly passed through my mind the first time I installed our seats on a plane.

I hope this helps explain things!
Last edited:


Admin - CPST Instructor

Very few seats have a "closed beltpath" which is what eliminates the potential for this problem. All the Britax convertibles (and FPSVD) have a closed ff beltpath, the old Cosco Touriva/Regal Ride has this too. The design of the Maxi-Cosi Priori and Graco SafeSeat Toddler probably mean that they also have this feature.

What I find interesting is that the Radian has a closed rf beltpath but an open ff beltpath. Too bad the Radian doesn't fit rf in a standard commercial coach aircraft seat.

I haven't had the chance to play with a Nautilus yet but from the pics I've seen, it looks like an open beltpath.

In response to the original poster - if you can find a store in your area that carries it - check out the brand new Compass/Learning Curve "True Fit" . It doesn't have a closed ff beltpath but it does have a big recessed area in the beltpath which might be enough to keep the huge latchplate from bulging into your child's back. And with any luck, it should be tall enough to accommodate your child's size.




Senior Community Member
I wonder if you twist the male end to bring it out of the center of the belt path and use an extender if it would help?

On an airplane I'd be ok twisting it as much as necessary, I think twisting the belt on an airplane is safer than stuffing padding behind the child.


New member
Just wanted to post again as I looked at my GN today. It is an open path (as posters above have stated). Sorry, Janel...yesterday I told you I thought it was a closed belt path. In fact, after looking I think I would prefer the Radian for travel as it has a piece of pastic backing the fabric that would help with the buckle a little bit, I think. The GN fabric in the center of the back did not feel very thick.



Thanks for all of your help. I tried to find the Nautlis but didn't have any luck and I guess it wouldn't be the best option anyway. I think I'm going to bring Ian into the store to try out the Radian... and compare to how long he might fit in a Marathon...
While the Radian does have an "open path", you'll notice if you pull the cover up, that there is a belt space between the EPS foam. If you can remove the cover (loosen harness all the way, then pull top down to expose belt path) you should be able to position the belt in that gap which should help a lot. When I installed it forward facing in a car to see how it would work, the buckle came into that gap, but fit in it pretty well and with the stiff plastic I don't believe it would've bothered a child much. Maybe when you go check it out, bring something about the size of an airplane buckle and stick it back there and sit him against it to see if he'll be okay with it. And, as a previous poster noted, you can twist the buckle 3 times to get it more out to the side, and on an airplane, you could maybe do more than that--not sure though, maybe a tech could clarify on whether that would be okay on a plane.

We actually got my son RF once and FF once in his Radian on a plane and he didin't complain with either, but he is younger and lighter than your son.

A nice bonus with the Radian FF on a plane is that the lap tray actually comes down to a usuable level since it's not up on a base.
Hope that helps some.

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