LAP INFANT VS SEAT INFANT: HOW DO YOU CHOOSE?

LAP INFANT VS SEAT INFANT

There is a lot of discussion about this topic, seat infant or lap infant, which one is the best choice for your child?  In general, it seems to be safest to reserve the baby’s own seat and keep him in the car seat.  Do you like this choice, however? There are many factors to consider.

Parents know they have options when travelling with a baby (under two years old) when flying.  It is possible to hold a baby on your lap or restrain them in their own seat.

If the world were ideal, there are certain things I would do as a parent. But until we had children, all of us were perfect parents, right? I’ll share my thoughts on what you should consider when flying with a lap baby, the safety issues, the costs, and the comfort issues involved in flying with a lap baby.

F.A.A. strongly recommends that you secure your child in [child-safety restraint systems] or other devices during flight. To ensure your family reaches your destination safely, it is wise and right to do so (FAA).

Lap infant vs seat infant: The best would be…?

Children under two years of age can sit on their parents’ laps for free, but after the second birthday, they must be in a child safety seat or sitting next to an adult. 

Parents carrying children over 2 are required by law to purchase a ticket and bring one with them upon boarding that matches the height requirements set forth by each airline carrier.

 The safest way is usually lap-sitting if you want your baby near you while flying, which may require purchasing additional items such as blankets and pillows beforehand so when it’s time for take-off, there will be nothing obstructing her view from being able to see everything clear out!

Difference between lap infant and seat infant 

Below is a table that shows the difference between the two

According to price
Lap infant Seat infantwinner
International travel for infants usually costs approximately 10% of the full fare (plus taxes and fees) on domestic flights in the US.  How much does this trip cost?  Depending on when you book and your airline, that will differ. You will have to pay for your seat.  Certain airlines will offer discounted prices to children based on their age, so it is important to make sure your booking is based on the right age.Lap infant
According to safety
In the United States, the FAA has banned belly belts (small seat belts that attach to me), which I’ve always used overseas.  During rough turbulence, babies are at the greatest risk of becoming projectiles.  I feel better when I carry him in a Baby Bjorn during these times than simply when I hold him.  The lap infant harness below, however, I found very interesting.   You should buckle your child in a safety chair, even if it isn’t convenient or cheaper.  Here is FAA information on it.  Despite purchasing a separate seat, some parents end up taking their baby out to nurse or walk the aisles on takeoff or landing.  During those times, the extra safety benefit is lost. When your baby is strapped in while taking off or landing, the flight attendants may require that he or she is sat down, which make nursing impossible.

According to space 
Seat infant
Among the lap infants, this is where I place my preference.  My child is not interested in riding in a large car seat that most likely won’t be comfortable in the airport.You can pull some great car seats like luggage and use them as strollers, which would make your journey through the airport a bit more enjoyable.  However, these are likely to be another expensive, rarely used baby accessory.  There is not much space for car seats on planes, since they are bulky. Care’s Harness is a great option for children who weigh between 22-44 lbs.Lap infant

Purchasing a seat has several advantages

Airlines are now offering the opportunity to purchase a seat for children under 2 years old. 

This will provide more space for your flight, especially when flying with toddlers who enjoy exploring their surroundings! Airlines allow families to check strollers and car seats, whether they have a lap child or not. The adult travelling with the toddler must be in coach as well, so make sure that they buy tickets at the same time.

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Flying with a toddler on your lap

Let’s be honest: lap toddlers are controversial. A lap child is a controversial subject in general. In the opinion of airline safety experts, your children are safest in their own seats with child restraint devices (car seats or CARES harnesses). Parents must make that safety call until and unless FAA rules change. I’m not judging. My children have flown on my lap more than once during the years, despite my efforts to buy a seat for them whenever possible.

The controversy surrounding lap toddlers has an additional reason. Infants are quite different from toddlers. A larger number of them will have developed an independent streak. Things can get out of hand if they don’t get their way. They need the extra space of a second seat simply because they are more likely to need it. (My family travel blogger friend, Points With a Crew, wrote a great piece calling for the end of the lap toddler).

Are you up to the challenge of flying? Take into account the personality of your toddler and how long of a flight you plan to take before you decide to fly with your toddler in your lap. For example, my first child was fiercely independent and was not a lap toddler at all. Fortunately, my son was much more relaxed. Ultimately, budgets are important, but your sanity is just as important.

Godspeed and good luck if you have decided to travel with a lap toddler. Let’s hope you make it out alive! (I’m exaggerating here, but only a bit.)

Keeping a lap toddler happy and safe on the plane is my top tip for flying with a lap toddler. Although these tips are primarily aimed at people with toddlers on their laps, they would also apply to a toddler in his or her own seat!

 Lap Toddler Tips for Success

  1. Decide when to fly and what time to arrive. …
  2. Increase your chances of getting an extra seat. …
  3. It’s essential to have an electronic device. …
  4. Keep little fingers entertained with non-electronic games. …
  5. Prepare various snacks for yourself. …
  6. It’s time to walk the aisle. …
  7. Make sure you have a baby carrier on hand. …
  8. Don’t worry about the nap.

Flying with a baby on lap

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), flying with a baby on your lap is not recommended. A passenger’s seat, including a baby’s seat (usually secured by a government-approved restraint system), is the safest place on an aircraft for anyone, including babies. Taking a baby on board does involve risk. Consider getting your baby an individual seat if you have the budget to do so.

To provide extra safety, bring your own car seat or purchase a government-approved child restraint system, such as CARES.

 Flying with a baby: how early can you do it? What is the price?

Some airlines allow babies as young as two weeks to fly, but most do not.

✓ Flying with your baby earlier than these age ranges is best done with a paediatrician’s a certificate/note

✓ For babies up to two years old, domestic travel is free (international flights are discounted)

These are some tips to help you manage flying with children on your lap:

  •  1. Avoid flying during the baby’s ‘witching’ hours!
  • 2. Determine which seat is “right” for you
  • 3. Get your baby’s age verified 
  • 6. Baby items that are bulky should be checked in
  • 5. Use an airport stroller to keep your baby company! 

Travelling with infant on plane, what seat is best for Your Child

Children under the age of two do not need a seat. For safety reasons, your baby should, however, be buckled up in a car seat. A parent wonders, “Should I purchase a separate seat?”. No simple answer exists. Though many moms keep their children on their laps, a second seat may be worth the investment for squirmy toddlers. If you’re not sure whether an empty seat is next to yours, try option three: Don’t buy your child a ticket, then ask an agent at the gate if they have an empty seat. Your car seat may be checked (in case of a full plane).

It’s more important than ever to make your reservations early to get the best seats today. If you’re booking online, it’s best to book directly from the airline’s website instead of a travel website. Booking a seat at the back is recommended since you’ll usually find empty seats there since they are usually closer to the bathrooms. 

For more privacy, book a window seat if you plan to nurse. (If you don’t mind narrow aisles, sitting in the front is perfect.) Do you have a partner? Choose two aisle seats and one window seat in a three-seat row. In order to switch between the middle and front seats, a passenger may bend backwards. Your toddler may be able to move to an aisle seat (bulkhead rows cannot be reserved except for disabled passengers), which will give them some space once you’re in the air.

Seatbelt for infants on airplanes

Choosing the best car seat for your child can be a difficult task. Every parent wants to ensure their children are as safe and comfortable as possible in the event of an accident on the road or on an aeroplane. Travelling with infants is also tricky, but travelling on infant plane seats poses additional challenges. There are three types of planes: commercial, charter and private.

– Commercial planes have more restrictions because they are for the public, so there is a strict policy on whether an infant can be seated in their own seat with a lap belt or if you must hold them the entire flight. If your child weighs up to 20 pounds (approximately three years old), then

How old do you have to be to fly? 

That depends on your airline! Some airlines allow you to possibly fly the same day that a baby is born, and others require the baby to be at least one week or two old. 

Airlines will also sometimes ask for a doctor’s note giving the go-ahead for those youngest flyers. But what about how young is too young when flying? Candice Dye, a paediatrician from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, says waiting until babies are two months old seems like a good idea because by then they’ve already been vaccinated anyway, so there shouldn’t be any issues with it.”

Final thought

If you’re a parent with an infant, we hope these safety tips will help guide your decision. We have some of the best travel advice for seat infant vs lap infant in our blog and would love to share it with you!

Since my boys have outgrown the infant stage, purchasing a seat is a good idea for our family.  However, I would go for this route if I had a small child who couldn’t sit up independently.  Take advantage of a bassinet if your flight offers them!

What’s your opinion on this hot touch issue?  Flying with a lap infant or always booking a seat?

FAQs

  • What is a seated infant?

An infant seat must be used if the child cannot sit upright in a seatbelt with an adult at the wheel. Children under the age of three must be accompanied by an adult when in a car. You cannot hold an infant on your lap while an aircraft seat is secured.

  • Is it is safe to fly with an infant in the lap?

This is not a good idea. If there is severe turbulence, any baby in your lap may suffer injury or even die while flying. The additional seat is worth the price, even if infants are not discounted.

  • Do airlines charge for lap infants?

FAA regulations limit the number of lap-held infants an adult may carry. In the case of two infants travelling with an adult, additional seats are required for each infant. The parents of infants on domestic flights must purchase tickets and pay for the applicable fares.

  • What are the rules for flying with a baby?

During taxi, takeoff, landing, and whenever the ‘fasten seatbelt’ sign is on, the infant must either be in a safety seat approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or be capable of sitting upright in their seat without assistance.

  • What airlines do babies fly free?

Infant airline fees and allowances

AirlineInfant Fee
Southwest AirlinesHolding an infant in a car seat that is FAA-approved is free
JetBlue AirwaysSeats reserved in a lap are free; otherwise, tickets are required
Alaska AirlinesIf in a reserved seat, ticketed fare if held in the lap

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About Me

Hi! I’m Aliza , the voice behind Car Seat Traveler. I am a world traveller and Child Passenger Safety, consultant. I love helping people to travel more, better, and easier…Read More

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