Traveling with children can be loads of fun but it also poses challenges that can test even the calmest of parents.
The safest way for your child to travel is in their car seat, even if they’re on a plane.
If there is a sudden change in trajectory, that 5-point harness will be able to hold onto the child better. We have a much better probability of surviving a crash (and less injury) if we stay where we’re seated. If we’re flinging around the inside of a car or plane, our chances of injury or death are increased.
Children are at a disadvantage because they’re lighter weight and have much more flexible cartilige than they do rigid bone because of all the growing that they have to do. That means that the 5-point harness that the car seats use hold in that little flexible body way better than just a 3-point seatbelt would. (A 3-point seatbelt is a standard lap-shoulder seatbelt), or a 2-point (lap belt) on a plane.
Let’s go back to the How do You Catch a Raw Egg demonstration. Let’s imagine you’re running while holding an egg in your flat palm hand. If you stop, the egg would keep going and fling off of your hand in front of you. The is Newton’s First Law of Physics, the Law of Inertia, “An object in motion will stay in motion until an unbalanced force upon it.” Meaning, if gravity weren’t affecting the object to bring it to earth, it would keep going. The only way to stop the egg from flying off your hand and crashing to earth would be to curl your fingers around it and hold it in place.
If you apply the same principal to your child riding in the car at 30mph to 60mph, or 500mph in a plane? Now, that vehicle just dramatically changed directions by either crashing into another vehicle, or losing altitude? What’s holding your child to their seat? Will they keep moving forward and hit the seat in front of them? Will the hit the door, as the car has been twisted and the door that was next to them is suddenly in front of them? What about the plane? If we lost altitude, they would ‘fly’ and hit the ceiling.
It is important to have your child sitting in their car seat and properly buckled any time they are in a vehicle that is moving, whether that’s a plane, train, or automobile. RV’s are a whole other story and don’t have the same safety regulations that cars do, but we’ll leave this topic for another day.
Before you take off for the relatives house for the holidays, or even just running around town. Please take the time to buckle your child properly in their car seat.
-For car seat information, read your manual, check the seat, find a tech.
-For a plane, if you have purchased your child a seat, bring their car seat and install it. They will get the window seat, and really will be more comfortable because the seat fits them. *Booster seats are not approved for use on aircraft, but still take it with you and gate check it. That way you’re guaranteed to have it on the other end when you arrive.
-For a plane II, if you have not purchased your child a seat (airlines don’t usually require you to purchase a seat for your child until they are 2 years of age), then check-in early and ask if there are any open seats that you may use for your child and their car seat.
Just remember every time you travel, if might feel safe in the car, but just imagine an egg sitting on the hood, not belted in...what would happen if you stopped suddenly?
I wish you all Happy Holidays, and safe passage.