Buckling Up And Flying Safe WIth Kids For the Holidays

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is almost here!  It seems like yesterday that it was the first day of school.  This weekend kicks off  the busiest travel time of the year and, when you’re travelling with kids, it becomes even more stressful.

Whether you’re travelling by car or plane here are some tips on the regulations on booster seats and some tips for safety:

Car Travel

The booster seat laws are extremely confusing.  How long do kids need to be in a booster seat?  Do you determine whether they need to be in a booster seat by age or height and weight?  Are backless booster seats or ones without backs better?  The reality is that every state has different laws regarding the use of booster seats and it’s imperative if you’re travelling through several states that you abide by the strictest law.  CLICK HERE for a chart of booster seat laws state by state.

In regards to backless boosters versus high backs, high back belt-positioning booster seats give children head protection if your vehicle does not have head restraints. If your vehicle has head restraints, a backless belt-positioning booster seat will work and make the safety belt fit properly. Make sure your vehicle’s head restraints cover at least the top of your child’s ears if you are using a backless belt-positioning booster seat.

In the event that you are in a car accident and rendered unconscious, it’s important that first responders have all pertinent information regarding your child.  I recommend purchasing a bright neon sticker that can be attached to the side of your child’s car seat with information including an emergency contact number and any important medical information.

And of course, set a good role model for your kids by always buckling up.  According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, one out of five Americans still doesn’t wear their seat belt.  And half of the 14,000 people who die in car crashes would have lived had they been wearing a seat belt.

Airline Travel

Dealing with long lines and delays at airports is always annoying, but doing it with three kids in tow will really test your patience!  While dragging one more item along is the last thing you want to do, having your kids in an FAA approved car seat on a plane really is important.  Booster seats are not allowed on planes and you need to be sure that your car seat is indeed FAA approved.  Here are some great tips from the FAA on travelling with kids:

  • Make sure your child restraint system (CRS) is government approved and has “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft” printed on it. Otherwise, you may be asked to check the CRS as baggage.
  • Measure the width of your CRS. It should fit in most airplane seats if it is no wider than 16 inches.
  • Ask your airline if they can provide a CRS for your child. If so, you may not be permitted to bring your own CRS on board, and may need to check it as baggage.
  • A child may also use an alternative, such as a a harness-type restraint, if it is approved by FAA. FAA has approved one restraint appropriate for children weighing between 22 and 44 pounds. This type of restraint is not safe for use in motor vehicles.  Visit www.kidsflysafe.com to learn more about this restraint.

For more great tips, visit http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/crs/

When flying on domestic flights, ID for your child is not required however depending on the airline, they may require that you show proof your child’s age with a birth certificate. Before heading to the airport, check with the airline to learn about their specific rules and even though children do not need identification, it’s a good idea to have ID for them anyway. Forms4Travel is a great source which compiles information from medical information to emergency contacts and more on a computer chip attached to a card.

Happy and safe travels!

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