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One common question that many new traveling parents have to think through is whether or not to bring a car seat for their baby to use in cabs on their travels. Last night a fellow BoardingArea blogger, and new mommy of a cute son, Angelina from Just Another Points Traveler, asked me that very question on Twitter, and it reminded me that I haven’t really talked about that issue very much here recently.
For infants and the baby crowd, my short answer is yes, you should use an infant car seat on your journey, including in cabs. I know it is more stuff to lug around and install, but the safest answer is certainly to bring their car seat/infant carrier to use in cabs, Uber, etc., on your travels, just as you would driving them around at home. In fact, I have heard of cab drivers refusing to transport a family who didn’t have the car seat with them since it was against the local laws, even for cabs. Though some cities, like New York City, have more lax laws for cabs than private vehicles in terms of car seat usage.
Travel Light, Even With a Infant Carrier:
The biggest reason that some even consider not bringing the car seat for their baby is likely to reduce the amount of stuff they have to travel with. The key to not drowning in gear is to be very smart about what type of gear you travel with for your baby. The combo I recommend for travel with an infant would be their infant car seat/carrier and a stroller frame it snaps into. I would not bring a second stroller or try to carry the infant carrier without a frame. The car seat + frame would be your stroller. You can then use this to push the baby through the airport, thus allowing you to gate check and reduce the amount of handling (or mishandling) of your important goodies.
One type of frame that should work for many infant car seats is this Car Seat Frame but that is by no means the only one out there, so look around and see what would be a good choice for you.
Use the Infant Carrier/Car Seat on the Plane, If Possible:
Assuming you have gone through the airport with the carrier/car seat, then if you have a seat for your baby on the plane, you can use their rear facing car seat on the plane. Even if you didn’t reserve a seat for your infant, the airline will still typically let you use one if it is available. Note that car seats typically have to go next to the window in single aisle aircraft. Assuming the car seat is approved for air travel (and isn’t too wide for the seats), you can then just install it and have your baby fly as safely and comfortably as possible.
Use a Car Seat Cover if You Gate Check:
In the event you aren’t able to bring your car seat on board, I would have a cover for it to keep it as clean and safe as possible while it is gate checked. We have used this Car Seat Cover for a couple of years now. We never used it specifically with an infant carrier, but I imagine most would fit in there since it is quite roomy.
Install the Car Seat in Cabs:
Then, once you get where you are going, you will be able to use the car seat in cabs without having too much extra gear along for the ride. I would check your instruction manual to determine whether or not you need to also bring the infant carrier base. My experience is that many infant carrier also work without the base, but that isn’t necessarily universal so double check that issue before assuming you don’t need the base. If you do bring it, you can put it in the car seat cover bag.
Consult a Car Seat Expert:
In case it wasn’t already obvious, I don’t claim to be a car seat expert of any kind, but The Car Seat Lady is an expert and she has a whole section devoted to car seats in cabs that I recommend you check out.
With a little extra planning you can have a car seat for your infant to use in cabs without being over-loaded with stuff.
Mommas and Daddies, how do you manage the issue of car seats for infants in cabs when you travel?
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