The need for child car seats can be a frustrating part of traveling as a parent. The seats are bulky, often heavy, and can be difficult to install in unfamiliar vehicles. Flying with a car seat involves making the sometimes unclear choice between treating the seat as checked luggage or hoping to take the seat onto the plane. Parents always want to ensure that their kids are safe, even if it means extra work. Here are a few tips for safely traveling with a car seat.
Using a car seat on the plane can improve a child’s safety.
Airlines usually have no problem with parents installing car seats onto a child’s seat on the plane. Follow the same process for installing the seat on the plane as you would in a car (rear- or forward-facing, and so on). Children who are in car seats on planes will be better protected if the plane has problems or experiences significant turbulence. Kids often sleep better in car seats too.
Try to avoid checking your car seat.
There are some who argue that once a car seat has been checked as luggage it should be treated as “crashed” and thrown away. Putting a seat inside a bag can offer some protection, but if the bag isn’t hard-sided a luggage handler probably will treat it like any other luggage, and it may get crushed or dropped. A seat that’s left unprotected may suffer damage to buckles or other exposed parts. Gate checking a seat may improve the chances that it will be treated with care, but even then parents will have no way to be sure that the seat hasn’t been damaged.
Always inspect a checked car seat for damage.
Car seats are carefully engineered to meet strict standards. If a component is loose or broken, the seat’s effectiveness in a crash will be compromised. If checking a car seat can’t be avoided, it’s a good idea to remove its cloth cover and inspect the underlying components for damage. For example, make sure that foam padding is still in good condition and properly attached to the seat’s frame. If damage has occurred, it may be necessary to replace the seat.
If a car seat is damaged on a flight and a child later suffers an injury as a consequence of the damage, parents may in some cases have a valid legal claim. Such cases face significant hurdles: airlines build damage waivers into their contracts that limit how much responsibility they have for damaged luggage, and parents may bear responsibility for using a seat that they know is damaged. An attorney can help parents sort out their options.
For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has served clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury and products liability cases. If your child has been injured by a damaged car seat, please contact is today for a free attorney consultation. Call 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website