Narrow Combination/Booster for Plane

rparker

New member
I need help figuring out what CRS to use on our upcoming trip to Disney World. My daughter is 4 years old, 35 lb., and short. She'll need some kind of CRS for two (possibly more) taxi rides.

Her regular car seat is a Britax Frontier 85, but I'm afraid to try to take it on a plane and I don't want to check it. I really want to keep her in a CRS that has a 5 point harness and side-impact protection after we land, but I think we might have space issues on the plane. There are 4 of us (2 adults, 2 children) and we're flying Southwest (3 seats to a row). I was going to sit next to our 15 month old (Britax Diplomat) and have our 4 year old sit next to my husband who is overweight... there's a good chance that if her CRS is too wide the two of them will impinge on the space of the other passenger in their row. (I know from experience when we were flying as a family of 3 that my husband + the Britax Diplomat take up more than 2 seats.)

Is there a CRS that has a 5 point harness that is relatively narrow? I know that the Radians have a reputation of being narrow, but the Amazon reviews about Super Latch failing freaked me out. Would the Cosco Juvenile High Backed Booster be a good option? ([ame="http://www.amazon.com/Cosco-Juvenile-High-Booster-Viola/dp/B00313JA4A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=baby-products&qid=1267463728&sr=8-1/?tag=dorejuvegrou-20"]Amazon.com: Cosco Juvenile High Back Booster Car Seat, Viola: Baby[/ame]) Is it as bad of an idea as I think to buy a cheaper CRS than the Frontier 85 and check it as luggage? (I would like to be able to use it as a secondary CRS after this trip.) What about the Cosco Scenera? (I could use it for DD2 once DD1 hits 40 lb.)

We also have the option of using a car seat provided by the car service. My husband thinks that we should go with this option, but I've had bad experiences with rental car seats in the past. He also thinks that she would be fine in a backless booster for such limited use. She has the impulse control (especially with an adult sitting next to her), but her small size makes me nervous.

I posted earlier (before I registered) with the idea of using a Ride Safer Vest, but the lack of side impact protection makes me nervous and I'm wondering if it's worth it for the price? I don't mind spending the money, but I'd like something that I'd feel comfortable using on a semi-regular basis in my husband's car.

Thank you in advance :) I apologize for such a long post. I know I'm over thinking this, but I've been in *a lot* of car accidents (two with my daughter).

Bonus question: It's ok to take both kids (4 y/o and 25 lb. 15 m/o) on the shuttle buses between our hotel and Disney World... right? I've taken them on similar short shuttle rides before, but it always makes me nervous and I'm seriously considering renting a car for the 2 mile drive, but my husband thinks that is absolutely nuts (and he's probably right)... although I might walk them in the stroller if there are sidewalks :eek:
 

DaniannieB

Ambassador - CPS Technician
I'm pretty sure the Radian SuperLATCH issues have been resolved (they weren't consistent in the first place, and you can always install with the seat belt). The Radian would be a great choice if your DD fits in it as you would be able to pass it down to your younger child. (You're not likely to get much booster use out of the new Diono versions.) It fits nicely FF on the plane and even allows the tray table to be used.

I wouldn't bother with the Cosco HBB. The top harness slots are about 14.5-15". Your child has probably outgrown it or is close to outgrowing it, even if she is short. It makes a very poor booster, so it really has a limited useful period. The Scenera has similar top harness slots (about 15"), so your DD has probably outgrown or is close to outgrowing it, too. Very few kids actually make it to 40# FF in either seat.

I personally wouldn't check a seat, even if it were a cheap one. If you're bringing a seat, the safest place for that seat is on the plane with you, not at the hands of the careless baggage handlers. It may be a moot point, as even a smaller child at 4 and 35# may not fit well in the really cheap seats.

I would NOT use a car seat provided by the car service. You're not guaranteed a car seat, it may not be an appropriate car seat (they may give you a harnessed seat your child doesn't fit in or a booster that she's not big enough for), you won't know the history (how it's been treated and cared for, if it's crashed, etc.), and a lot of "rental" car seats are expired, broken, gross, etc.

I was going to suggest the Ride-Safer Travel Vest... it may lack SIP, but if you install it in the middle, that shouldn't really be as much of an issue. Safety-wise I'd say it's probably not quite as good as a traditional harnessed seat with a shell, EPS/EPP foam, etc., but it tests better than a booster (especially a backless booster which also doesn't have additional SIP).

Another option would be the Evenflo Maestro. It's generally about $60-$80, so more affordable than the Radian and even the RSTV. It's narrower and lighter than FR, GN, etc. and I believe people have had good experiences with it on the airplane. It has decent height top slots and makes a good (although quickly outgrown) booster.

For the shuttle rides, if there are no seat belts, you don't really have an option of car seats. Such buses generally have some other features that provide safety that makes up for (at least in part), the lack of active restraints.
 

firemomof3

New member
I have flown with my Radians twice and it fits perfectly on a plane. But I would also look at the Maestro. It harnesses to 50lbs., is lightweight, will fit on the airplane and is easy to install/use. And its only $68 on Amazon right now :)
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Evenflo-Maestro-Booster-Seat-Akane/dp/B004GXA6XS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324735897&sr=8-1"]Amazon.com: Evenflo Maestro Booster Seat, Akane: Baby[/ame]
 

rparker

New member
I was going to suggest the Ride-Safer Travel Vest... it may lack SIP, but if you install it in the middle, that shouldn't really be as much of an issue. Safety-wise I'd say it's probably not quite as good as a traditional harnessed seat with a shell, EPS/EPP foam, etc., but it tests better than a booster (especially a backless booster which also doesn't have additional SIP).

Another option would be the Evenflo Maestro. It's generally about $60-$80, so more affordable than the Radian and even the RSTV. It's narrower and lighter than FR, GN, etc. and I believe people have had good experiences with it on the airplane. It has decent height top slots and makes a good (although quickly outgrown) booster.
I'm starting to think that the RSTV *might* be the best option just because there's a chance that we'd have to gate check a larger CRS if there was an issue fitting it next to my husband on the plane which would then make it LESS safe... but I can't decide if the hypothetical risk of checking it outweighs the additional safety features of something like the Maestro.


For the shuttle rides, if there are no seat belts, you don't really have an option of car seats. Such buses generally have some other features that provide safety that makes up for (at least in part), the lack of active restraints.
It's been my experience that a lot of the newer small buses used by hotels DO have seat belts... which would make having something like the RSTV nice, but then I'd feel guilty about not restraining our 15 m/o. There's no way that I'm going to carry her car seat around Disney, but she's too small/young for the RSTV (24 lb. and 30ish inches, definitely under 34) and she outgrew her infant seat months ago.
 

DaniannieB

Ambassador - CPS Technician
Do you think the newer buses will have a lap only belt or a lap shoulder belt? If it's lap only, you'd have to top tether the RSTV (you'd likely have to do this to the seat belt in the seat behind, as I doubt the buses have tether anchors).

Are you planning on bringing a seat for your 15 mo to use in the plane? I'd use the car seats in the buses (if you can) on the trips between the airport and Disney. It's a longer trip on a public interstate. Then, if you're not wanting to haul car seats all over the place, don't use them on the Disney shuttles as they're mostly driving on their own roads (and then there are trams or boats to deal with... car seats w/o travel carts would be a pain). (I wouldn't plan on walking between parks... they're far enough away from each other that that would take up a lot of your time and energy.)
 

rparker

New member
Update: I ended up buying the RSTV after all. I'll try to update this post after our trip with a review :)

Do you think the newer buses will have a lap only belt or a lap shoulder belt? If it's lap only, you'd have to top tether the RSTV (you'd likely have to do this to the seat belt in the seat behind, as I doubt the buses have tether anchors).

Are you planning on bringing a seat for your 15 mo to use in the plane? I'd use the car seats in the buses (if you can) on the trips between the airport and Disney. It's a longer trip on a public interstate. Then, if you're not wanting to haul car seats all over the place, don't use them on the Disney shuttles as they're mostly driving on their own roads (and then there are trams or boats to deal with... car seats w/o travel carts would be a pain). (I wouldn't plan on walking between parks... they're far enough away from each other that that would take up a lot of your time and energy.)
The hotel we're staying at is technically a Disney resort, but it's a DoubleTree operated by Hilton and doesn't offer the Disney airport transportation so for *that* leg of the trip we'll be using a taxi/car service that should have either shoulder belts, anchors, or both. The shuttle between our hotel and the parks is operated by Hilton not Disney. It's about a 1-2 mile shuttle ride. My guess is that there will be lap belts but not shoulder ones?

Yes, I'm bringing a car seat for our 15 month old. She's so "active" that it'd be a nightmare to fly without a five point harness to keep her in her seat. (We're taking her Britax Diplomat. It's pretty small for a Britax.)
 

DaniannieB

Ambassador - CPS Technician
I thought when I was down in Orlando in August that the Disney parks had a place you could leave items (like renting a storage locker). Personally, if the shuttles will have belts and aren't going to be just on Disney property, I'd take the seats/restraints for the trip to Disney, pay to leave them in a locker/storage area, and then just go w/o restraints for transport between Disney parks.
 

rparker

New member
Update: The RSTV ended up *not* fitting my daughter properly. It's too big and the seat belt does not lie properly. She's 4 years old and over 30 lb and over 30 inches, but it just doesn't feel like a good fit to me. It seems like it will be a good product for her in a few years, but not at the moment. I thought I'd include this update for anyone considering the RSTV for their smaller preschoolers. I just ordered the Evenflo Maestro from Amazon.
 

rparker

New member
Update #2: I spoke too soon about the Maestro... I ended up going with a Radian because it was narrower and folds, so if there is some issue with the car seat and my overweight husband fitting side by side the Radian can be stowed as carryon rather than risking gate checking it (I hope).
 

Car-Seat.Org Facebook Group

Forum statistics

Threads
219,303
Messages
2,201,225
Members
13,314
Latest member
Amanda4uni

You must read your carseat and vehicle owner’s manual and understand any relevant state laws. These are the rules you must follow to restrain your children safely. All opinions at Car-Seat.Org are those of the individual author for informational purposes only, and do not necessarily reflect any policy or position of Carseat Media LLC. Car-Seat.Org makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. If you are unsure about information provided to you, please visit a local certified technician. Before posting or using our website you must read and agree to our TERMS.

Maxi Cosi is a proud sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!Graco is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!

Please  Support Car-Seat.Org  with your purchases of infant, convertible, combination and boosters seats from our premier sponsors above.
Shop travel systems, strollers and baby gear from Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi, Evenflo, First Years, Graco, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Safety 1st, Diono & more! ©2001-2020 Carseat Media LLC

Top