car seat - 3.5 year old

Old Apr 4, 15, 7:27 pm
  #1  
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car seat - 3.5 year old

Looking for opinions on car seat usage for a 3.5 year old. From Cincinnati to Honolulu, with a layover in Salt Lake City. At this point we're leaning toward gate checking the seat, and possibly using the Cares harness. This would allow DS to hopefully use the lap tray and we'd be less worried about him kicking the seat in front of us. The downside is that we wouldn't be as comfortable for napping, and it's not as safe. We have a Britax Marathon 70, and DS is 37 lbs. This is his 10th(?) round-trip flight. All have been 2-2.5 hours, except for our last trip to Hawaii when he was 25 months old. (We had a direct flight from Chicago then, and had bulkhead seats). He's always used his car seat on fights thus far.

Just looking for people's opinions for and against using the car seat at this age. If the first leg is a failure. We figure we can always use the car seat for the flight from Salt Lake to Honolulu.

Thanks!
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Old Apr 5, 15, 3:08 pm
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Will you need the car seat in Honolulu? It's very easy to get around on transit, fwiw.

I'd lean to no. How close to 4 is he, and how big? The CARES would work very well for you but I think you are close to topping out of it. Would you consider just the lap belt? We started using just the lap belt once my son turned 4 (at which point he was 40lbs/40", if that is a useful point of comparison).
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Old Apr 5, 15, 9:52 pm
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I think your parting thought is a good one: gate check the seat on the flight to SLC and see how it goes. If not well, then use the seat on the longer flight to HNL. I suspect he'll be fine, but certainly understand the utility of the seat for napping--and to keep strapped in if/when he gets unruly.

IMHO skip the CARES at that size/age. Either he needs the seat for comfort/control, or he doesn't, in which case the lap belt should be fine.
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Old Apr 5, 15, 10:24 pm
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Thanks for the responses!

Yes, we will need the car seat in Hawaii (we'll be renting a car).

I didn't realize until now that he was so close to the height/weight limit for the harness (I just checked the website). Our thoughts on the harness where that if something bad happened the lap belt would not keep him secure, while the harness would. But with him being so close to the limit, it might be too much hassle.

I do like your guys' thoughts. Thanks!
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Old Apr 5, 15, 11:06 pm
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If you don't want to lug the car seat, you could get a Ride Safer Travel Vest for the rental car in HI.

We have a trip to Cabo coming up, and I'm considering it for us, for our 4-y-o.
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Old Apr 6, 15, 12:09 pm
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Keep in mind that Hawaii requires children under 4 to be in a safety seat (not a booster):

http://hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/saf...senger-safety/
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Old Apr 8, 15, 7:54 am
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The Ride Safer Travel Vest is a good one. I'm just concerned about the heat in Hawaii.

http://ridesafertravelvest.com/

They're waiting on FAA approval so that it can be used inflight (haven't checked lately).

But there are some not-so-expensive, "low profile" seats that will fit your child and allow him to use the tray table without having to gate-check his car seat. They're also light and could easily be pulled through the airport on a luggage cart (don't buy an overpriced car seat cart which does the same thing). Go over to carseat.org for suggestions.
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Old Apr 8, 15, 11:02 am
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I would not bring the car seat for a 3.5 year old. I did it recently on a flight from SFO to OGG for a then-18 month old, but only because he was slightly too small for the CARES Harness (kept sliding forward). Sitting in Y, he was able to kick the seat in front of him while in the car seat - this was difficult to control because a child that young won't understand why you can't do that. So then we turned the seat around and it was a huge pain because he was prone to falling forward while sleeping. My wife basically had to keep her hand on his forehead the entire way there.

In my view a 3.5 year old should be comfortable and safe with a CARES harness, and far enough away from the seat in front to not cause any trouble. I certainly wouldn't take the seat on board. I expect that for my child's next flight, we will be relying solely on the CARES harness, and he will be just over 2 at that point.
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Old Apr 8, 15, 11:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
The Ride Safer Travel Vest is a good one. I'm just concerned about the heat in Hawaii.

http://ridesafertravelvest.com/

.....


I've never rented a car which didn't have air conditioning.
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Old Apr 9, 15, 11:45 am
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The advantage of the car seat is that your child knows how to behave (for lack of a better word) while in the 5 point harness. How likely is your child to sit correctly and calmly in just a lap belt? For me, that would be the determining factor.

A Harmony Defender might be the prefect seat for your situation if you think you'd rather have the child in a seat. It's a harnessed booster, narrow, and light. That would save you from having to deal with the heavy Britax seat and it would be light enough to drag around the airport. You can bungee it to a luggage cart then buckle the kiddo in and voila a ghetto stroller!

http://www.harmonyjuvenile.com/details?pid=171

It could be more than just a travel seat. It could be seat for friends' cars.
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Old Apr 10, 15, 1:45 pm
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When I saw the age of your child, I also thought of the Ride Safer Vest once you arrive. I personally wouldn't worry about having anything other than the seatbelt on the plane unless you are concerned about the comfort/familiarity of riding in the carseat.
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Old Apr 10, 15, 7:08 pm
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We used the Cosco Scenera - cheap and light and safe - fits easily onto the seat. Get it at Walmart for a very low price. The child could see the IFE and she could sleep comfortably. It's easy to carry, easy to strap into the seat and remove on the airplane or in a car. We had no regrets. We've done this several times.
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Old Apr 10, 15, 8:45 pm
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Originally Posted by B1 View Post
We used the Cosco Scenera - cheap and light and safe - fits easily onto the seat. Get it at Walmart for a very low price. The child could see the IFE and she could sleep comfortably. It's easy to carry, easy to strap into the seat and remove on the airplane or in a car. We had no regrets. We've done this several times.
It's a good travel seat but it's outgrown forward facing before rear facing since the top harness slots are very short (13 inch seated height). It also only has a 40 lbs harness capacity both rear and forwatd facing. There is a fair chance the OP's kiddo has outgrown it already.
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Old Apr 15, 15, 1:02 pm
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car seat - 3.5 year old

Thanks, everyone, for the input. We've decided to gate check our Britax and have our son just sit in the seat with the normal seat belt. We're not interested in purchasing a whole new car seat just for the plane or trips. Carrying the Britax through the airport is a beast, but we normally just use our umbrella-type stroller to hold the Britax because our son now walks through the terminal himself. That's probably what we'll do for this trip as well.
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