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Mini guide: Using a child's car seat on board

Mini guide: Using a child's car seat on board

Old Mar 3, 2016, 2:09 pm
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Mini guide: Using a child's car seat on board

When I tried researching the use of child seats onboard British Airways flights a few months ago I found a smattering of information scattered around on various forums but nothing conclusive.

Having flown a handful of sectors with Little Miss CloudGazer in a car seat I thought I'd try to assemble what I'd learnt online and onboard in case it was of use to others.

BA's published information on the use of car seats onboard

It's summarised here on the BA website and should be read in detail.

The following rules dictate the type of seat that you may use on the flight:

  • must be designed to be secured by means of a normal aircraft single lap strap and face the same direction as the passenger seat on which it is positioned.
  • must have a 5-point restraining harness.
  • must not exceed the dimensions of the aircraft seat, and should fit into an area of 45cm x 45cm (17.5ins x 17.5ins).
These do appear to be the only restrictions regarding the seat itself. The seat does not need to carry any marking/sticker such as a BSI or TUV certification.

The 5-point harness, if not obvious by name, is one that has 2 straps that come over the shoulders, 2 around the waist like a belt and 1 that goes between the legs. A three point harness does not have the waist straps. Both are illustrated and explained here

Belt shorteners

One of the listed rules is:

  • must be strapped in place ensuring that the adult lap strap buckle does not lie directly over any part of the frame or under the structure of the car type seat after tightening.
You may wish to buy a belt shortener. This can be used to ensure that the plane's seat buckle doesn't rest on or under the seat frame. They weren't too easy to find online until I worked out what to search for. If you search for "Kiddy Seat Belt Shortener" you'll find them retailing for around 5.

We have flown on BA 747s and several A320 variants, none of them required the belt shortener to be used.

Which [aeroplane] seats can the child seat be used in?

The BA website suggests that a child seat can be used in any flight class.

Note that you must have purchased a seat for the child. I.e. You can't use a child seat for a lap infant.

It's not specified anywhere online but the child seat is fairly hard to get past once fitted. Because of this it should only be used in places where it won't impede anyone's exit in an emergency. This means that permitted locations include bulkhead seats, window seats and the middle seats of central sections. As with all children you can't use an exit row seat.

Our experiences onboard
  • Most BA staff we talked with weren't too clued up on the rules. They just want to see that the seat is secure and fits within the base of the plane's seat.
  • We only learnt about the "impeding an exit" rules on the 4th flight we flew. For the first three she sat in a B seat.
  • On every flight we've been asked as we got onto the plane if we needed help fitting the seat.

Tips
  • Tension the seat both before and after your child is sitting in it
  • Don't release the plane belt's buckle until your child is out of the seat. The seat is front heavy!

Checking child seats into the hold?

This isn't the main topic of this thread but it's worth noting that if you want to bring a child seat with you but not for use on the flight itself BA generously let you bring it along as an extra item of luggage. Full details in the "checked baggage" section here

Last edited by CloudGazer; Mar 4, 2016 at 4:34 am
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Old Mar 3, 2016, 2:09 pm
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Known models of seat to fit the BA criteria

Britax Prince
Believe it has been discontinued but readily available second-hand
CloudGazer

Please reply to the thread if you have experience of other models
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Old Mar 3, 2016, 3:54 pm
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Worth stating that obviously you will need to buy a seat for any infant in which to put your child seat.
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Old Mar 4, 2016, 4:22 am
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Thanks CloudGazer, a concise and useful post.
Mods, Possibly worth adding to the dashboard to make future referencing easier?
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Old Mar 4, 2016, 4:34 am
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Originally Posted by bluemoon68
Worth stating that obviously you will need to buy a seat for any infant in which to put your child seat.
Thanks - I've edited to include this.
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Old Mar 4, 2016, 8:39 am
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Very useful tips. I'll second the suggestion to add this to the Dashboard!

To mums and dads out there, please may I also offer this little video from the USA offering hints and tips about baby buggies / strollers.

The idea of sticky labels showing how to fold/unfold is really good and would be useful for airport staff. It's unbelievable how many buggies suddenly spring open on their way down to the apron level and the baggage men have to try to work out how to fold them again. Until you work in aviation, you have no idea how many different types of baby buggy/stroller there are and how they all fold differently!

https://youtu.be/RshuZSGv71c
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Old Mar 4, 2016, 3:32 pm
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Originally Posted by JB7
Thanks CloudGazer, a concise and useful post.
Mods, Possibly worth adding to the dashboard to make future referencing easier?
Originally Posted by bealine
Very useful tips. I'll second the suggestion to add this to the Dashboard!
Great suggestion, duly added

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Old Jan 14, 2020, 8:39 pm
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Join Date: Feb 2018
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Wow...this is EXACTLY what I needed! Thank you, CloudGazer!

must be strapped in place ensuring that the adult lap strap buckle does not lie directly over any part of the frame or under the structure of the car type seat after tightening.
I was very worried about this because I'm using a Cosco Scenera NEXT car seat (flying from US) and the buckle will likely be right under the structure of the car seat frame. I actually read that the buckle will be in the middle of the baby's back when forward facing so I was trying to think of solutions for this. My last resort would have been to twist the male end of the belt many times to shorten it and hope it worked.

For my fellow Americans, I found this page that has part numbers for OEM belt shortening clips from automakers that are specifically made for old cars. For your child's safety, you should use one of these for belt shortening and NOT a locking clip. It also has an instruction video on how to use them.

https://www.saferidenews.com/2019/01...-to-find-them/
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