Babies Archive

Travel Carseats: The Ultimate Guide to What You Want to Take on A Plane


Flying with Children

Airplane -rf CCOIt’s a lucky parent who hasn’t had to travel by plane with a young child. Some minimalist parents have it down, but the rest of us use up every last cubic inch of space we’re allotted, stuffing it with things we might possibly need like hair ties, mismatched infant socks, carabiners, and Ziploc bags that get thrown out eventually. Think back to your last trip on a plane alone when there was a small child—what was that child doing? Standing on the parent’s lap screaming? Waving at uncomfortable adults who waved once but then wanted to disengage from the outgoing child? Were you trying to eke out that last bit of nap before descent when that screech jolted you out of slumberland? Did that parent look happy or like she was going to cry herself?

happy flyerKids have that natural tendency to want to move and explore their environments when they’re in their parents’ arms. Parents naturally provide a safe place for a child . . . everywhere except in a moving vehicle, which is what an airplane is. Most of us who have traveled with children and carseats can attest that our kids have been better behaved in their carseats and have found their carseats to be safe pods for them. When was the last time *you* were comfortable in an airplane seat, after all? Kids in harnessed carseats are protected against turbulence and against runway incidents, such as aborted takeoffs and landings, and overshots. And think about it: coffee pots and Coke cans are required to be secured during flight. Don’t our kids deserve the same respect?

04-13-15 incident

Can I take any harnessed carseat on the plane?

Maybe. It must have a sticker on it that says the carseat is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft. That part will be written in red ink so it’s easy to find. Your owner’s manual will also have this wording. Be prepared to show the sticker to a gate agent and/or flight attendant because they may ask to see it as you board the plane.

Pria 85 - FAA certification

Can I use a booster seat on the plane?

Let’s get our terminology down first. A booster seat is a belt-positioning booster used by older kids. It’s used only with a lap/shoulder vehicle seat belt. Since a commercial airplane doesn’t have a lap/shoulder seat belt, no, you cannot use a booster seat on the plane. A harnessed seat isn’t called a booster seat. If your seat has a harness that also can be used as a booster later on, we call that a “combination seat.” Most combination seats are approved for use on airplanes only when used with the harness; that’s because you can install it with the plane’s seat belt. You can, however, take your booster seat on the plane with you as carry-on luggage for your child to use in the car when you get to your destination. If you have a backless booster, it fits perfectly under the seat in front or in the overhead bin. If you have a folding booster, it fits in the overhead bin. If you have a booster where the back comes off, you can pack the back in your suitcase and carry the bottom on with you.

What are my rights regarding carseat use onboard an airplane?

We have an article that explains what you need to know. Also, know where the certification sticker is on your carseat and bring a healthy dose of patience. Between oddly intimate security searches, our knees being jammed into the seats in front of us, and man spread by guys in the center seat, flying saps the last bit of patience of everyone. Flight attendants receive very little to no training on carseats on aircraft, so the best tactic is one of “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” If there’s confusion, it’s OK to show them the carseat owner’s manual and smile. Remember that they can (and have in the past) remove ticketed passengers from flights.

How far should I push the rear-facing issue?

If you’ve been online at all, you’ve heard of travelers who have had problems rear-facing their kiddos: the flight attendant misinterpreted the flight attendant handbook, which requires carseats to be installed on forward-facing passenger seats, and they had to turn their 3 mo. old forward-facing. At some point you pick your battle with the flight attendant (with a smile–remember, he or she is just doing their job) and the likelihood that something catastrophic will happen is slim. Turning an 18 mo old forward-facing on a plane probably isn’t going to end the world. If you’re still unsure, I suppose you could whip this regulatory requirement out.

What are the best travel carseats?

The Pinch Test


How do you know if your harness is tight enough? Give it the Pinch Test.

Pinch TestYour child won’t be safe in his carseat unless his harness is snug. The Pinch Test is the accepted method for testing harness tightness.

An outdated method for checking tightness is to stick a finger (or two) under the harness at the shoulder, but because we all have different finger sizes, it can lead to very a loose harness.

It’s never been acceptable to “pinch an inch” of harness for tightness.


Mythbusting: Infant seats are bubbles of protection


Next time you’re standing on that wiggly kitchen stool, changing yet another lightbulb…don’t forget what Sir Isaac taught us. So what do you think—does gravity find babies attractive, too? CONFIRMED? PLAUSIBLE? BUSTED? Ten pounds of feathers, ten pounds of bricks, or ten pounds of baby—gravity doesn’t discriminate.

Earlier this year, Home Depot employee Chris Strickland was launched to notoriety when his quick actions saved an infant from a three-foot tumble off of the top of a shopping cart. Unfortunately, not all babies have a guardian angel like Mr. Strickland looking out for them. The Internet is full of stories from parents and on-lookers about children falling from carts. In 2011, a three month old infant died after falling from a shopping cart. While we know that carseats save lives, it’s easy to understand why parents believe that their children are also protected while “clicked” in their infant seats into place on the top of a shopping cart. And while videos of people pouring ice water over their heads to avoid donating to charity explode on the Internet, stories like Kristin Auger’s barely garner public attention.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.01.26 PMWhen we think about children being injured or killed in carseats, we typically think about car crashes. Researchers in British Columbia collected 5 years of child restraint-related injury data (N=95), published in this 2008 Pediatrics International article, that should have you re-evaluating this exclusive assumption. While this article was intended to address carseat misuse, it does so in the context of out-of-vehicle use. The authors concluded that “among all infants, falls were a common mechanism of injury resulting from CRS misuse” and urged for preventative efforts to help educate parents and caregivers on out-of-vehicle child restraint injuries. In this study, 6% of subjects had been injured in falls from shopping carts…all of which were completely preventable.

I took a field trip to a local Target to snap a photo of the warnings parents see on each and every cart, warning them against placing carseats on carts…

Shopping Cart "Warning"

Shopping Cart “Warning”

….is it any wonder parents are still confused?







Watch the shocking Home Depot video where not only does the carseat tip from the cart, but the infant wasn’t buckled in the carseat:

Peg Perego 4-35 Review: Primo Viaggio Rear Facing Infant Carseat


Italian design meets comfort, plus a good fit for the smallest and largest babies in the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 Rear-Facing Infant Carseat.  And not just Italian design, but Italian *made*, which is a big deal in an age when most infant carseats are made in China.  What’s so special?  For starters, you can match it with nearly any of the great Peg Perego strollers without an adapter.  That means an ultra-chic custom travel system with a safe carseat that fits your baby and vehicle, too!  The easy-to-use “Right Tight” lockoff, anti-rebound bars for BOTH carrier & base, and the sharp, breathable fabrics are among the other distinctive features of the Peg “Four Thirty Five.”

Primo Viaggio 4-35 Feature Summary:

  • Rear-facing for babies 4 to 35 lbs. and up to 32” tall, maximum seated height roughly 18.5″
  • Anti-rebound features for installation with and without base
  • PegPerego435RightTightTriZone“Right Tight” easy seatbelt lockoff system (photo, right)
  • Dual Stage inserts fit preemies down to around 4 pounds
  • No-rethread harness height adjustment with 6 positions
  • Side Impact Protection,  EPS foam lined shell and head wings
  • Compatible with most Peg Perego strollers without an adapter
  • Deluxe push-button LATCH connectors
  • Premium breathable fabrics with ventilated shell design
  • Elastic loops keep harness out of the way when loading baby
  • Infinite Recline knob w/Tri-Zone level indicator (photo, right)
  • Large UPF 50+ canopy
  • Certified for use on aircraft
  • 2-year warranty, 7-year lifespan

Primo Viaggio 4-35 Key Measurements:

  • Measured Carrier Weight: ~ 9 pounds
  • Base Weight: ~ 7.5 pounds
  • Base Dimensions: ~ 19″ long, 14.5″ wide maximum at belt path
  • Carrier maximum width: 17″ at handle
  • Minimum Harness Height: ~ 5″ with Stage 1+2 inserts
  • Maximum Harness Height: ~ 11.5″
  • Crotch Strap Depth: ~ 6.5″ without inserts
  • Inside seated head height limit: ~ 18.5″ (Maximum height is ~19.5″ at highest harness adjustment)
  • Interior width: 12-13″

Feature Discussion:

Fashion: Let’s be honest.  When shopping before baby arrives, many parents register at a baby store or internet retailer and often gravitate toward the most fashionable looking products.  We were guilty of that with our first child, though back then “fashion” was navy and white plaid or polka dots.   Thankfully, fashion has come a long way since then!  Many assume all infant seats are created equal as far as safety, so why not get the coolest looking travel system to show off your new bundle of joy?  With the 4-35 Infant Carseat, Peg Perego makes it easy to select among over a dozen stylish fabric options and pair them to a variety of excellent, matching strollers.  From the upscale Alcantara Pearl to basics like Cream and Onyx that will match your vehicle seats.

Want to match your vehicle interior with a little flair and have a reversible stroller?  No problem, select the Switch Four stroller in Pois Black.  Looking for something bolder with an easy folding stroller?  Go for the Book stroller in Flamenco!  Why be stuck with the same travel-system-in-a-box everyone else has, when you can mix and match to your preference and have the best looking baby ride on the block or at the park 😉  pegclimaCollections include the “Taiana,” “Prima Classe,” and “Soft Fabric,” like my Fleur sample.  All of them work with the ventilated shell and foam to keep baby cooler in the summer.  Add the unique thermal slipcover accessory (photo, right) to keep baby even cooler!

Lest you think we recommend carseats mainly on appearance, we are happy to say that the new 4-35 system has a number of great safety and ease-of-use features for us to recommend it as a stand alone infant seat as well.  And we don’t recommend carseats lightly.  It took a lot to improve the previous Peg Perego infant seat lineup to earn our recommendation.  Let’s take a look: