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Confused about car seat regulations? Read our reviews of baby car seats, toddler car seats and booster seats to find out which ones are worth investing in.

Airplane confusion - 9 m o car seat?
6

WolfMother326 · 18/05/2022 13:38

I've bought a seat for my 9 m o to fly to the US from Heathrow on Virgin Atlantic next week.
The airline only allow forward facing car seats and I'm trying to determine whether I need to buy one for his seat as our current one is rear facing. I would have been happy to have him on lap for take off and landing but Virgin told me this isn't allowed if we purchased a seat, which is odd. I'd rather not bring one but seems we have to and maybe it will be useful for feeding him? The spare seat was really just space in flight as he's very active.
I'm unsure which forward facing seats are ok for a 9 m o, which ones can connect with an airplane seatbelt etc
I was looking at the Joie elevate and the maxi cosi nomad but not sure I can actually use those in flight?
Please help I'm losing my mind. Can't reach Virgin as they have 2-3 hour wait to speak with anyone.

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BertieBotts · 18/05/2022 17:17

The only seat you could use which is flight approved in the UK is Britax Eclipse, but another poster said they'd had trouble getting hold of it recently. Plus it seems a bit of a waste of money buying a seat you probably won't use other than this one flight. I have heard of people using the Joie Tilt/Steadi on board a flight - it's not officially approved but not all airlines require this. It can be rear facing in a car or forward facing in a car/on the plane. To fit on the plane, you just route the belt through the same way you would route the lap belt in a car.

I would just take yours, a lot of the baby seats are flight approved. Either they'll let you use it on board anyway, in which case yay, or they will say oh no this seat isn't suitable, he'll need to be on your lap when the seatbelt sign is on, in which case you have your first plan! I mean what are they going to do - he has to be secured somehow.

When you're in the US you could purchase one of these for use in future/on the way back: csftl.org/car-seats-travel/ - they have a lot more officially approved plane friendly seats over there.

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BertieBotts · 18/05/2022 17:18

I'll just add - it's considered really risky to forward face a 9mo these days - it did used to be the done thing (about ten years ago now). In most states in America you have to rear face up to 2 years, and the rest up to age 1, so you wouldn't be able to use the Eclipse when you get there if that is also a consideration.

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catblanket · 18/05/2022 17:21

You don't NEED to use a car seat on the flight and in any case I'm not sure it's feasible, as the only UK one that is FAA approved (that I know of) is the Britax Eclipse.

I'm 99% sure that the on board staff will be perfectly fine with him being on your lap with an infant belt for take off and landing, but if they're not you can just strap him in on his own seat using the lap belt, or invest in a CARES harness.

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BertieBotts · 18/05/2022 17:39

Cares harness is minimum 22lbs which is about 10.5kg and I'm not sure it would work well for a 9mo. In fact I don't know if you're even allowed to use them for children under 2. (I just checked Virgin's site and they say it's for children over 2 only).

I'm pretty sure that for regulations (governing all airlines):

Infants under 2 must be on a lap with the supplementary belt OR in a car seat whenever the seatbelt sign is on.

They can only use a car seat if you've bought them their own seat to secure it in, and brought an appropriate seat.

If you turn up and they deem the seat inappropriate, they may let you use it on the airline seat but they won't let you use it while the seatbelt light is on - baby will need to be on your lap. They may insist the seat goes in the hold so it's not a projectile causing danger for other passengers.

If you turn up and can't get the seat secured or it doesn't fit within the airline seat, they will put it in the hold and you will have the baby on your lap when the seatbelt sign is on.

In terms of Virgin specific policy: I've checked their site and there is on;y reference to "can" use a car seat rather than being "must/have to". Since they don't allow rear facing seats, it seems logical this must be the case, as you can't even buy car seats that forward face for very young babies.

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WolfMother326 · 19/05/2022 09:26

Thank you so much @BertieBotts and @catblanket . I am just going to put our car seat (cybex cloud z, rear facing) in the hold because its easy to use in any car so good for our holiday. The baby can be on our lap when needed for take off and landing etc. We only got the seat because the price difference seemed minimal and thought it would help a bit to have space to play eat and sleep. I feel better, thanks!

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Twilightstarbright · 19/05/2022 13:30

I’ve bought a separate seat for DS when he was under 2 and he just sat on my lap for take off and landing. I looked into the car seat thing but it’s such a nightmare.

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