Baby car seat on plane??

Amira - posted on 04/17/2010 ( 42 moms have responded )

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We are planning to travel with our daughter this summer and are still debating over whether or not to take her car seat with us on the plane. She will be 2 yrs old at the time of the trip and we already booked a seat for her. The total trip is around 15 hours (7 hrs + 5 hrs + layover) and we are very worried because she will not sit still!!! HELP!

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Wendy - posted on 04/20/2010

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No, I say NO! 15 hours is a loooong time, and you will want to throw that car seat out the window. She is going to need to sleep and that is sad to sleep sitting up, her little neck!!! If the person in front decides to layback (& YES THEY DO) they will squish her legs....most likely you will lift the arms and let her lay her head on your lap and her body on the seat ( a little bed) check it with baggage, bring EVERYTHING to entertain her...you should double check, but I have checked it and took it, checking it always worked best!!! Also-check with her pediatrician, they may be able to give you something gentle to "help her get sleepy" incase you need it!!! Honestly after a head was in her lap though...I gave her the markers (just kidding)

Tammy - posted on 04/26/2010

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I am a flight attendant and highly recommend using your car seat. I have a 4 yr. old and until she truly understood that she needed to be buckled in at all times the plane was moving (even though the seat belt sign is off I have hit many unexpected bumps) I brought the car seat. Yes, it can be a pain to haul around but is really the safest place for your child to be!!! Also, even though it may seem like it your child is NOT the only one to ever cry on a plane and it's never as loud as it seems! I hear crying kids daily and like everyone else said, snacks, a new game or toy or book does wonders! Safe travels and I'd love to hear how it went!! Good luck!

User - posted on 05/28/2011

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Hi - We're from the US and live in New Zealand - have done big trips with kids a few times. We have done it both ways, and I will not bring the car seat on the plane again. For 15 hours, it just didn't work for us, and was a PAIN to drag on and off. She couldn't lay down on my lap, the car seat actually eats into the other seat a bit. It was awful. She ended up on my lap alot of the time, and the car seat just sucked up space. When my son was 2 1/2 we did the trip without the car seat on the plane, and it went much more smoothly. I actually only travel with the car seat when I absolutely must now. Most car rental companies have decent ones, which can be made a bit more comfy with a blanket or something.

Oh, and you mentioned you are worried she wont sit still - neither of mine sit still either, but it doesn't seem to matter much if a car seat is there or not :-)

Tammy - posted on 04/27/2010

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if there is an adjacent seat not being used your child can sit in that seat as long as they can sit independently without help and stays in the seatbelt. The car seat will have a sticker on it saying it is faa approved. It needs to have a solid back and harness. Good luck!

Akeeba - posted on 04/27/2010

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your 2 year old can not occupy a seat without her car seat. she will have to sit in that. we are planning a trip abroad with my son who will be 18 months. we are planning to hold him however we are now considering the car seat. also need to make sure your car seat is okay for the plane (size, fit, etc.)

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Kelly - posted on 05/26/2011

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We are leaving tomorrow and I had the same concerns. I have a 5 1/2 yr old and a 22 month old. We got her a seat and she will be in her car seat. I bought a " Go Go Babyz" trolley, that attaches to her car seat so I can roll her aaround easily and don't have to lug a stroller as well. We are renting a stroller at the vacation site so this thing is really going to help us out. I also got the kids their own protable dvd players and head phones and we will use that on the plane. I would definately take the seat if I were you and maybe check into the go go babyz. http://www.gogobabyz.com/
It doesn't need to be removed to attach the car seat to the seat of the plane. Good luck

Amy - posted on 04/27/2010

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We took our VERY active son on a trip at 13 months. We decided against the carseat because we called to make sure we didn't "need" one at the destination. If you don't need one when you get where you are going, then I say leave it behind!

It's one extra thing to lug around. Also bring an umbrella stroller, it'll be nice for the layover if your daughter needs to take a nap, or gets tired of walking. You can check it right as you walk on the plane. If you leave it behind it gives her room to play and move around using up her seat and part of yours. If we had the carseat I think it would have been harder to keep our son happy.

Bring an activity bag, and have every adult your traveling with have a new toy she hasn't seen yet. Toys don't need to be big or expensive, just something new. That will help pass the time. Also, bring snacks, and make sure you have enough for her to drink.

Suzanne - posted on 04/27/2010

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Take the seat. We travelled from England to Canada when my son was 2. He had to be on my lap for take off & landing but otherwise was in his own seat. Just means that they can do their own thing as can you. Check with your airline as they have to be a certain standard. We had to buy one which complied with airline standards & which fitted in the seat. One tip, once they are fixed in to the aircraft seat, ensure you can get to the release as otherwise they can be difficult to get out. Also you might find you can't hire car seats when you hire your car like we did then your in the realms of having her unsecured in the car!

Lucia - posted on 04/23/2010

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Take some of her fav toys with her, and try to keep her entertained. Hopefully she will fall sleep and you will have to carry her in your lap. I took my 18 month on a short trip and she did not stop the whole way. About the car seat, why not hire one at your destination. I do that simply because I don't want to risk loosing or getting it damaged by the airlines besides it is a pain to carry it with you to and from the airport.

Cheryll - posted on 04/23/2010

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With both my kids, I always used the car seat. It is easier to keep them sitting down, as they are strapped in and it provides familiarity for them. Plus the seat fits their body perfectly. If turbulance hits, your covered! But yes they are bulky and have to be on a window seat usually. Just make sure to bring lots of books, coloring, toys, maybe even a couple of new things to arouse her interest. . . and only bringing out things 1 or 2 at a time so that she doesn't get bored with all at once. Movies are good too! Oh and getting through the airport can be hard with a big carseat, so I figured out a way to secure it onto the airport cart, and the kids sat in it. No worries about kids running amok, because they were enjoying the ride! Good luck!

Jennifer - posted on 04/23/2010

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Hi! We regularly fly with our kids internationally, so I have tried it both ways. I have to say that the car seat was a pain to carry, but on a long flight, it is worth the hassle, especially if you can recline it. When you have such long flights, eventually the kids get tired and then the car seat is a DREAM! It is very uncomfortable holding a sleeping child for any length of time and I found mine always had a tendency to fall of the seats, when I laid them out. So, no rest for Mommy. The car seat solved that problem!
One thing you have to be aware of, is that every airline has their own policy about car seats. When we took our carseat on Air Canada, after starting in Europe, we had to hold my daughter during take-off, as the car seat didn't have the Canadian Safety Standards stickers on it. The same applies going the other way. In Frankfurt I was told that as long as the seat wasn't bigger than the airplane seat, it could be used, but if it was bigger, then it needed to be checked. It wasn't a problem after take-off and landing, though, and I ended up being very glad to have it.
As you can see from others, it does have it's downsides, but if you have the bulkhead seat, then it isn't a problem. BUT, do your homework, so that you don't end up disappointed and not able to use your seat!
The only other thing I can tell you, is you can almost never have enough entertainment with you. I had one little bag for my husband and I, plus 3 bags for the kids. We take books, snacks, DVD's, toys, games, pretty much anything small and possibly entertaining. Stay away from the sugar, though. That just ends up backfiring. :-)
Good luck. Hope you have a great trip.

Kathy - posted on 04/23/2010

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WOW! We just went through this with our little guy... although the flight time was only 4 1/2 hours. I know it's a tough decision. First we went to MX and booked him a seat and brought his seat on the plane. What ended up happening is my husband and I were squished in two seats with an empty carseat in the window because Anthony didn't want to sit in it! We ended up holding him the entire time. And for the few minutes he DID sit in his seat, he was close enough to the seat in front of him and he was kicking the back of the poor persons seat! A month later we flew to NY and decided to purchase him a seat but not bring the carseat on. That was nice because we could give him the middle seat and keep him occupied with fun things. I still ended up holding him a lot but it was nice to have the space to spread out!

Carrie - posted on 04/23/2010

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relax and be prepared I took my 18 mth old on a trip all by myself and he did alot better than I thought good luck

Jeri - posted on 04/22/2010

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I recently purchased a "5 in 1 stroller" for the intention of using on our family vacation. It is airplane approved stroller that supposedly fits in the aisle of the plane and the wheels tuck under to convert as a car/airplane seat. It eliminates lugging around and checking in a stroller and/or a carseat. It is approved from infancy to 40 lbs. I use it all the time now...(so i will get my money's worth) but havent actually used it on my trip yet. You can check it out at strollerdepot.com. And my want to check out ebay or other auction sites if interested in a used. They do go very fast though. The consumers' reports were positive.... just another option to assist in probably more confusion... sorry. lol My baby is 18 months... I know he will not sit through the flight on my lap, thats why I opted this route. Check it out and see what you think. Good luck in your decision :)

Robyn - posted on 04/22/2010

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I bring along an etch a sketch. Prepare snacks ahead of time too. I held my son on my lap until he was 2. The online catalog One Step Ahead has straps that connect to the seatbelt on the plane to make it more of a harness. I would recommend that over carrying a huge car seat. Make sure that you tell the rental car place that you need a carseat.

Amy - posted on 04/21/2010

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If you have to pay for a seat for her, I would absolutely take her car seat. At least that way you won't have to physically restrain her to keep her still during takeoff, landing or other times you don't want her running. We are taking my son on a trip this summer too. We didn't book a seat for him as he is under the age limit, but I'm hoping there will be a vacant one. I can't imagine one of us holding him for 12 hours.

Louise - posted on 04/21/2010

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We have never used a car seat on a plane. The seatbelt on the seat has been enough. Get a small backpack for her for the plane and buy some small toy items and wrap them up. Every time she gets cranky ask her if she'd like to open a present.
If you feel safer there is no reason why you shouldnt have the car seat but and i'm not saying you would do it but we flew from shannon to jfk with delta last year and there was a mother with a 3 year old in first class. The girl was strapped into a car seat and the mother put on headphones covered her eyes and slept for the trip while her daughter screamed her head off. Then when the plane was about to land she let her out and the poor girl ran up and down aisles till the air hostesses had to tell her to put her daughter back in the seat!

Kathy - posted on 04/21/2010

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Just to add a bit more info.. when travelling with my 18 month old, I chose to sit at the back of the plane nearer the toilets, and also it meant closer to the staff, which of course they adored being able to 'entertain' my daughter at times.. She go less distracted too by being in the middle where there were things happening ALL around her... at the back she only saw things happen in front of her and therefore wasnt trying to get up and stand on the seats etc to look backwards etc. The other thing, depending on the Airline ~ many have individual entertainment with the headphones/Movies etc which they didnt have back then when I travelled with her... If you have her carry her own backpack (small!) and tell her their are some special things in there for her for the plane, hopefully this helps her too. Just remember not to give too many snacks that might make her hyperactive!

Judith - posted on 04/21/2010

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I would say that if you're hiring a car at your destination, then take the car seat for that, but not to use on the plane....same reasons as many people have already mentioned.

I have to admit though, I really don't understand how so many people choose to go on long haul flights with babies or toddlers....not quite sure if the parents are brave or mad!!?? ;-)

I've been on so many flights and seen stressed out parents with toddlers who won't sit still, who scream or are running up and down the aisle annoying other passengers.

I just wouldn't put myself through that amount of stress when there are so many places to go on holiday that don't require a long haul flight. It's hard enough to plan a long car journey with my son, but at least we can stop and have a few short breaks if needed, but the idea of taking him on a long haul flight...I just wouldn't even consider it until he's older. I know sometimes there might be reasons such as visiting family who live abroad etc but if it's just for the sake of having a holiday, I would definitely stay closer to home.....but that said, good luck to anyone planning a long haul flight and if you do manage to stay stress-free....tell us all your secret!! :-)

Candace - posted on 04/21/2010

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I flew with my daughter when she was 15 months old and we will be flying again shortly she is 2 now. I brought her car seat then and I will bring it again this time. I believe it is the same as being in a car and it is much safer to have her strapped in a seat. I give her short breaks on long flights. Turbulence can hit without warning so I feel better having her strapped in. I have a Britax carseat which fits well in the plane. Also I have a gogo kidz travelmate, it attaches to the carseat and converts it to a little stroller, you easily unstrap it, fold it and store it in the overhead compartment. It works on almost any car seat. It was a life saver and I didn't have to carry the seat, a stroller and everything else! It was a bit expensive, costs around 90 to 100 dollars but look around and you can probably find a used one someone is selling. I live in Emonton Alberta so if you are near by I would be happy to lend it out :)
To add with some of the other comments, lots of snacks, dvds and activity books to keep them busy. My child does not sit still well other but she doesn't have a choice when she is belted in her carseat.
Happy Traveling!

MELANIE - posted on 04/21/2010

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HI THERE, I HAVE CONTACTED SAFETY KIDS CANADA AND THEIR RESPONSE TO THE SAME QUESTION WAS, IF YOUR CHILD IS REQUIRED A CARSEAT FOR A VEHICLE THAN YES THEY ARE REQUIRED A CARSEAT FOR YOUR CHILD. IF U ARE PAYING FOR HER SEAT THEN I WOULD HAVE A CARSEAT IF NOT SHE SHOULD BE OK ON UR LAP, BUT THAT IS A LONG TRIP TO HAVE A 2 YR. OLD ON UR LAP. HOPE THIS HELPS

Nira - posted on 04/20/2010

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Highly recommended!!!!!! We took one on a trip to israel via Paris!! It saved us!! The airlines do not give you a safe seat for baby unless you pay a lot and it was very handy in Europe & Israel where the drivers are much more crazy than in the US!!!!!!!

Li - posted on 04/20/2010

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If its an international flight, some airlines will actually provide the car seat and install it before you are on the plane. However, bear in mind that once installed, the air hostess will not remove it during the flight if your kid does not want to sit in it.

Melissa - posted on 04/20/2010

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Take it only if you are needing a car on the other end. Otherwise, the kicking of the seat in front of you and the crappy looks you'll get from the person in that seat is not worth it. I've done it both ways and there's just more trouble with the seat. If you are using one of the large seats, the size of it pretty much pushes her into the seat in front of her, so the slightest movement on her part ends up in a big WHAM to the seat in front of her. So, unless you're in the bulkhead, not worth it. If you need it on the other end, I would suggest, as others have, to check it with your luggage or gate check it with your stroller. With the layover you'll have, there should be plenty of time to stretch legs and get more energy out. Take a dvd player and lots of new toys for her as well as her sippy and some snacks just for her.

Iran - posted on 04/19/2010

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You do not need it on the plane! TRUST ME!!!! It will be mre of a hassle than anything...What you need to do is take it and gate check it. Most Airlines will not charge you for a car seat or a stroller. If the baby gets tired you can lay her across on your lap. I was lucky and found a couple of empty seats to totally lay my 2 year ld down when we went to Hawaii. But, then again 15 hours is a long time, but, 15 hours with a bulky car seat on an already cramped airplane can be worse. However, what I will say is that you know your daughter and if you think she would be better off sleeping in her car seat for a long period of time then its worth taking in on the plane. GOOD LUCK and Safe Travels!!

Pam - posted on 04/19/2010

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You need to check with the airline. Some allow them and some dont. If they allow car seats, I would bring it at that age because they are comfortable sleeping in there already and sometimes the airplane seats are too big for them to get comfortable. I would also suggest keeping extra water or milk for the take off and decent as this is when they need to suck to pop their ears. Also plenty of snacks are always good just in case the layover is longer than expected.

Carmel - posted on 04/19/2010

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We started flying with my son when he was 14 months old. We ALWAYS took a car seat, I found a really nice (affordable) Eddie Bauer car seat bag that has a shoulder strap. With kids you can pre board and if possible try to get the bulkhead seats. With us, we had it down to a science - I would board first with the carseat so we did not block the aisle, get the seat installed and a couple minutes later my husband would board with our son.

On a couple of the flights we hit a lot of turbulence and a 2 yr old is pretty light, he would have been bouncing out of the regular seat. The car seat also helped him sit up higher so he could look out the window. It was also more comfortable for him to sleep in the car seat when he was that little. Good luck and safe travels!!

Rose - posted on 04/19/2010

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Skip the carseat it'll just be something extra to lug around. A 2 year old won't sit still for that long anyways. Take plenty of drinks, snacks, books, a few toys and just some ideas that would keep her busy. Play-dough, coloring books and crayons. If you have a DVD player maybe bring one of her favorite cartoons or movies. Good Luck! Oh and take plenty of patience. Maybe a small lap blanket in case she or he gets cold.

Shannon - posted on 04/19/2010

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we didn't take car seat on plane because our son was to young and wouldnt stay in his seat. he was able to sit on our lap but we did purchase extra seat just in case. we did take it through luggage, this was before new luggage rules and it was a life saver.

Rebeeca - posted on 04/19/2010

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We just came back from Cuba. We had 2 flights each way. My daughter is only 9mths, so she sat on our lap both ways, she did awesome. However there were other people with little ones that were around 2 or 3 years of age and they had a car seat. The little boy was not happy to be in it at all.

Marcy - posted on 04/19/2010

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We never take a car seat when we fly. If someone (family) is meeting us on the other end then I always borrow. When we went to Hawaii we rented one. My motto is the less I have to carry, the better off I will be. I figure (and I know this is morbid) but if the plane is going down, what good is a car seat anyways...horrible, I know. 7 hours is a long flight. Try and keep her up as long as you possibly can that day so she sleeps for some of the flight. Also, buy her some new toys to play with and if you can. bring a small dvd player. I'm not an advocate of giving my child meds to make them tired so I won't comment on that. When our son was 2 (he's 3 1/2 years old now) we traveled with diapers, wipes, snacks, a backpack full of toys/books/games) and his blanket. He's been on about 7 trips with us so far and with the exception of one trip when he was 6 months old, its been a great experience. Get to the airport early and run her around for about 30 minutes or so before the plane takes off. With any luck she will fall asleep for 2-3 hours.....oh yeah, don't forget your sense of humor. its the most important thing to pack.

Luisa - posted on 04/19/2010

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i would say don't take it on the place but do put it in the place. you will need it if you rent a car. she wont sit on it for all that time. try to get the seat you baby and dad that way she will be OK and she can lay down with out no problem. also if she is still using the bottle give her one while you take off and one while you land. ask your doctor but u can give her Benadrill it will help her not be fuzzy the whole time... i hope this helps..

Martha - posted on 04/18/2010

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I believe it is a law that the child has to be restrained in a car seat. If you have to be restrained then it would make sence that your child would be as well. Also remember you have other passengers to deal with who may not appreciate your two yr old being unrestrained. And also that the plane ride will more than likely hurt her ears. Unless you can get her swallow alot, since at two I would hope you would not give her gum the pressure of the cabin is going to cause her ear aches and blockage. Another good reason for restraining her for she may want to run around or be antsy because she won't understand why she is uncomfortable. To be honest a 15hr trip with a two yr old is going to be very diffucult no matter what you decide to do.

Berthann - posted on 04/18/2010

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If you plan on driving while you are on vacation, I would bring it for the car. Also, she is use to HER car seat and she will probably feel more comfortable sitting in it. Good luck on your trip and have a wonderful adventure!!!!!!!

Nicole - posted on 04/18/2010

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We took our 2 year old on a flight to FL last year. He was in a car seat. We flew with Southwest and were really confused about it at first. I called them to verify the do require a car seat. You must have one that is approved for use on a plane - not all are. We found a seat at Target for about $70. He had to sit in a window seat b/c of the car seat and installing it wasn't the most fun thing I've ever done. But it did give him comfort/consistency with riding in a car which made him more still overall. The flight was short in comparison to yours though. I will admit the flight staff did not restrict other parents who had toddlers from flying without a car seat. I did learn that a booster is NOT safe. Another couple (who had flown many times this way) were informed by a flight attendant to NEVER use a booster on a plane; it's not safe. Anyway, I hope this helps - have a great trip!

Denise - posted on 04/17/2010

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keep the child interested in things...toys or what not next you be at your destination...i personally have never been on a plane so i don't even know if they allow car seats...sorry i couldn't be more help..good luck

Sylvia - posted on 04/17/2010

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We tried taking the carseat on a plane once, and it was an unmitigated disaster. DD had no leg room, we had to unstrap her every time she wanted to get down or sit in someone's lap, she was too high up to see out the window, she felt squished, DH and I could barely see each other around the seat in between us ... The next time we did what we'd always done when she was still under 2 and didn't need her own seat booked: we checked the carseat and picked it up again at the baggage claim to put in my mom's car when she collected us at the airport. (This also means not having to wrestle the thing around the airport after checking in: it's gone with the checked suitcase, and all you have to worry about is one kid and three backpacks. Bliss!)

I guess it depends on the size of the seat, the size of the plane, the size of the kid, etc. But I would never try to use a carseat on a plane again if I could possibly avoid it :P

Jen - posted on 04/17/2010

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I'd take the seat. Even if she needs to get out and stretch a little bit she'd be better off contained in her car seat. We bought our daughter a seat and put her in her car seat for a 2 hour flight when she was 9 months. She stayed in the seat except for on our shortest flight back home when she wanted to be up and talking to the people behind us. Make sure to bring some toys and a dvd player if you have one. Books are also a nice quiet toy to bring. Also lots of snacks. You want to keep her ears popping and she's too young for gum. Make sure you have plenty for her to drink and extra pull ups or panties than you would normally carry with you. Good luck.

Carol - posted on 04/17/2010

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We traveled short distance to Florida with our then 2 year old daughter. At the beginning she didn't want to sit, but it was good that we made her. It got pretty rough in the plance once and that seat kept her safe. She felt asleep on her car seat well. We then, use that seat for the car we rented. Had lot of games and books for her and movies for her to watch in our DVD player. When we could get up, we got her out of the seat. Lots of snacks.

Colette - posted on 04/17/2010

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Good Luck, please share what you did as I have twins and will be travelling with them a lot and need all the help that i can get.

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