According to the Traveling Industry Association, each year one in four household trips in the U.S. includes a child under the age of 18. For children on the go, travel safety is of the utmost importance – whether it is by car, train, bus or plane.
Always use a car safety seat for your child while traveling in a moving vehicle. A rear-facing car seat should be used until your child has reached one year of age and weighs at least 20 pounds. Once your child is at least one year of age and at least 20 pounds, he or she can ride in a forward-facing car seat; however, it is better to keep your child in a rear-facing seat until he or she reaches the highest weight and/or height allowed by the car safety seat. A child who has outgrown her car safety seat with harness should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's seat belt fits properly (usually when the child reaches about 4' 9" in height and is between 8 to 12 years of age). Laws vary from state to state in the U.S., so be sure to check which laws apply to your child safety seat needs here.
Similar to motor vehicle travel, a child is best protected during air travel when properly restrained in a car safety seat appropriate for the age, weight and height of the child, meeting standards for aircraft until the child weighs more than 40 lbs. and can use the aircraft seat belt. You can also consider using a restraint made only for use on airplanes and approved by the FAA. Belt-positioning booster seats cannot be used on airplanes, but they can be checked as luggage so you have them for use in rental cars and taxis.
Remember to give yourself and your child some extra time while traveling. With a little patience and preparation, your trip can be fun for the whole family with minimal stress!