We were recently contacted by a John Wayne Airport blog reader with the following inquiry:

“I will be traveling with my young child in a few weeks. Will we need to take a car seat with us to use on the airplane? Are there guidelines about this?”

A child up to the age of 24 months is legally allowed to sit on a parent’s lap while on an airplane. Parents frequently choose to do this, in part, because children riding on a lap are usually free of charge. However, the safest place for a child on an airplane is in an FAA-approved child safety restraint system. Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children ride in a safety seat while on an airplane.

Interestingly enough, laws state that everything in the airplane cabin must be secured during takeoff, landing, and turbulence, with the exception of young children under the age of 24 months.

Not all child safety seats are approved by the FAA for use in airplanes. You will want to check your safety seat for a label insuring that your seat is certified for both motor vehicle and aircraft usage. You will also want to check that the size of your child safety seat will fit on the airplane seat. Typically the car seat should be no wider than 16”. Contact the specific airline you will be flying for information regarding the airline guidelines and requirements.

For further information about flying with children visit the Federal Aviation Administration’s page here.


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