The Secret Tip for Flying With A Toddler

With spring break and summer approaching, airline tickets are reserved with thoughts of pleasant vacations dancing in our heads. And then the thought occurs…

Crap! I am flying  with a toddler.

*insert ominous music here*

Traveling with a toddler can be like buying a lottery ticket. Rolling the dice on toddler behavior can cause even the calmest parent’s hearts to skip a beat.

There are the obvious suggestions of scheduling trips around naps, packing snacks, binkies, extra toys, activities, etc. Those are all good and should be investigated.

As the mother of three boys I want to introduce you to what we have come up with after years of experimentation.

The Secret Tip for Flying With A Toddler

The rolling car seat:

rolling car seat for use in airport

We learned early on that a car seat on the plane is a MUST. Our children were conditioned to sit in a car seat after hours/days/months/years of car travel. The ONE AND ONLY time we traveled on a plane without a car seat and with that child in our lap we vowed to never travel again…

After recovering from the trip, we reconsidered and evaluated where we had gone wrong.

The car seat is a must when flying  with a toddler.

So, this is the latest contraption. It is a large luggage cart with wheels that the car seat can be strapped onto with one strap. It is important not to make it too complicated because about 50% of the time you will be required to dismantle it through security.

This allows you to strap your toddler into the car seat while negotiating the airport. It gives you an extra hand to tote all the toddler stuff you need. The bonus is that the toddler is strapped in so he won’t be lost in the airport.

I usually wheel the toddler/car seat down to the plane assembled and take the car seat off at the plane entrance. Most plane aisles past first class will not accommodate it’s width.

The first thing I do when I find our seats is to install the car seat and strap the child in ASAP. The less time they realize that they can walk around the plane, the better.

The other recommendation I have is to prime the child. For weeks leading up to the trip I talk about how we will be on a plane.

How he will sit in his seat on the plane.

How he will fall asleep in his seat on the plane…

Child sleeps in car seat on plane

And when it works, it is PURE MAGIC!

6 Comments

  1. LOVE it!! But wait…you have to wheel it PAST first class? Tell BlogSteadman you need to sit up front! 🙂 har har har

  2. Thanks so much for the tips!

  3. Thanks for posting your tips about traveling with a toddler. My son will be 14 months old when we fly next week and I am starting to get a bit nervous about the ordeal. He has flown before, but he was an infant and not a squirmy, vocal toddler! I purchased a GoGo Kidz Travelmate (basically, it will allow me to push him through the airport as well). I saw other parents with this on my last trip and knew it would come in handy!

    We did not purchase a seat for my son, but after reading your blog I am really sad I didn’t. I thought he’d do much better in his car seat, so I’m praying the flight is not full (Southwest has open seating, so perhaps we can find a way to get him his own seat and take his car seat on)!

    Thanks again!!!
    Jessica

  4. Good luck! It really worked better for us when he was strapped in and didn’t know that walking around the plane was an option! Southwest is usually so accommodating to families you probably won’t have an issue at all. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. This is the perfect invention for traveling by plane with toddlers. We flew one time with a toddler in our lap. He was squealing and squirming to try to get away from us about the time the plane was just taking off. We had plenty of toys and snacks with us but the other people on the plane seemed so much more exciting to him than what we had to offer. He was quite an attention seeker and it turned out to be an exhausting trip. Since then there hasn’t been a question that the car seat travels on the plane with us. But they are heavy to lug around and it’s hard when you’re trying to carry your carry on bag AND keep up with the toddler who is now trying to toddle away from you. This rolling car seat idea is awesome!

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