Welcome to the Ultimate Guide on How to Carry a Car Seat Through an Airport.
The first time traveling with a small child can be overwhelming. So, to ensure your trip goes as smoothly as possible, I’ve broken down the process into a few steps.
There are a few advantages to traveling with your child in a car seat. For starters, you’ll have more control over the infant’s actions and you’ll be able to keep track of them.
However, carrying the car seat through the airport can be quite a challenge. You’ll need to send it through the x-ray machine and it’s possible it’ll require a manual inspection.
Not only does this take extra time, but it may lead to a few uncomfortable glares from your fellow travelers.
Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks you can try out to streamline the process. I’ve compiled a list of all the different methods of transporting a car seat through an airport.
Typically, people will simply carry the car seats, although this isn’t always ideal. After an hour of walking around the airport, you’ll need to pass off the baby to someone else.
So, if you’re looking for a few other creative solutions, we’ve got you covered.
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How to Carry a Car Seat Through Airport
There’s a wide variety of solutions for carrying a car seat through the airport. In this section, we’ll discuss the details of each method.
1. Car Seat Manual Hauling
The first solution on the list is the most obvious. If you want to travel with a car seat, you can easily hold it by the handles and walk through the airport.
This method isn’t all that creative, but it’ll do the job.
If you choose manual hauling, there are a few considerations you have to make. For starters, you should take the weight of the car seat into account.
Ideally, it’s best to find the lightest child seat possible. Then, once you secure the infant in their chair, clip the harness straps together and you’re ready to go.
Other than that, you must consider the weight of your child. When dealing with an infant between 10 and 30 pounds, carrying them around with a seat should be easy enough.
However, with a heavier child, manual hauling may not be the most effective way to go. You’ll need to take frequent breaks, which can cause a significant delay in your itinerary.
Finally, you have to think about how you carry the car seat. Typically, most people will hold the chair with one hand.
This allows them to complete other tasks with their free arm. Sadly, that may lead to injuries. After carrying your child for a few hours with one hand, your back will start to ache.
So, it’s best to haul the seat with both of your arms in front of you. That’ll improve the weight distribution and help you withstand the extra poundage.
- Most affordable option since you don’t need to buy extra equipment
- No added weight from any additional attachments
- TSA screening should be a breeze
- Carrying the seat on long flights may be tough on your back
- Not suitable for all child weights
2. Car Seat Stroller
If you’re heading to the airport a long while before your flight, you may want to invest in a stroller. Instead of carrying your child around, you can push them on wheels.
This will make spending a few hours walking around much more bearable.
With a stroller, you’ll need to consider a few factors. Right off the bat, you should check the compatibility of the car seat.
Ensure that the chair safely snaps into the stroller and that the harness straps fit into place. That should help you secure your kid and allow you to move freely.
Besides that, take the weight of the stroller into account. Remember, at some point, you may have to lift the baby buggy to get around tight spaces.
So, choose a stroller that you’ll be able to carry with a small child inside.
Moving on, spend a little time inspecting the wheels of the buggy. In the airport, you may run into a few tight corners.
Because of that, try to choose a model that comes with 360° wheels. That’ll allow you to maneuver through the airport with minimal effort.
Lastly, consider the folding mechanism of the buggy. When walking through security, chances are the buggy will go through the x-ray machine.
To avoid holding up the line, the stroller needs to fold up easily.
- Other than the stroller, you won’t need any additional equipment
- Child’s position should be adjustable with most stroller models
- Simple to push through the airport
- Securing the car seat in place may take a little practice
- Folding the stroller many times to walk through security may become a bit tedious
3. Car Seat Luggage Strap
When you’re traveling alone with a child, you may think that you have limited options. That’s because you won’t be able to push a stroller and carry your kid at the same time.
Thankfully, there’s one solution that may help you out. If you’re short on helping hands, you should try out a car seat luggage strap.
As the name suggests, this is a harness that attaches to your bags. Then you can secure the baby carriage to the straps.
That allows you to use your luggage wheels to transport your child around the airport.
Before you head out to buy the harness, there are a few aspects you have to keep in mind. First off, take a look at your bags.
Make sure the carry-on can handle the extra weight. That may mean you have to pack light for your trip.
Aside from that, you should spend some time figuring out the best type of harness to use. Some people prefer using velcro straps to make attaching the seat less time-consuming.
Although others prefer to use a bungee cord for added security.
Either way, it’s crucial that you test out the harness prior to your trip to the airport. That way, you’ll be sure the seat won’t slide off your luggage.
The most notable drawback of this solution is the weight distribution. As soon as you start pulling on your luggage, you may notice that it’s difficult to balance the car seat.
- Straps are typically affordable and easy to find
- No added weight from extra tools or equipment
- Easy to assemble and take apart once the trip is over
- Isn’t suitable for all car seat sizes
- Balancing the car seat may be challenging
4. Car Seat Travel Cart
Instead of investing in a full stroller, you can opt for a travel cart. Both devices perform a similar function, with a few key differences.
To kick off a cart is an attachment that you can add to a car seat. Most of the time, the addition consists of a small platform with two wheels that anchors to the bottom of the chair.
This effectively turns the child’s seat into a carry-on.
Because of that, you’ll be able to pull the cart around just like you would your luggage.
Other than that, carts are much more compact than strollers and are usually lighter. For these reasons, the wagons are simpler to maneuver and carry around.
You should be able to move through tight spaces. That includes the aisles of almost all planes.
On top of that, you won’t have to worry about compatibility. Since the carts are relatively standardized, you should be able to attach them to any car seat.
Plus, the anchoring mechanism is a piece of cake. All you have to do is use a series of straps to secure the child in place.
This feature will come in handy as you walk through security. Taking your kid out of the cart and placing the carrier on the x-ray machine should take about a couple of minutes.
Unfortunately, you may face a few issues with the wheels. Since they don’t swivel all the way around, steering the cart may be tough.
- Strapping your child in place should only take a couple of minutes
- Compact enough to fit through tight spaces in the airport
- Car seat compatibility isn’t an issue most of the time
- Wheels aren’t ideal for moving in all directions
- Not as stable as the other options on the list
5. Car Seat Dolly for Airport
Dollies are incredibly similar to car seat travel carts. The main differences are in size and weight distribution.
For starters, dollies tend to be slightly larger than carts. They have an extended base to allow car seats to fit into position without much force.
This should give them a boost in stability and make them simpler to move around.
Besides that, dollies typically have four wheels, as opposed to carts having two. That means your child’s weight will be evenly distributed.
Not only will that make pulling the dolly easier, but it should also make for a comfortable ride. Since you won’t have to balance the car seat on two wheels, the chair can stand upright.
This is incredibly useful if your child has a history of motion sickness.
To top it all off, the wheels swivel all the way around. So, you’ll be able to shift directions at any time during your trip.
Moving on, because dollies are larger, there’s more room for straps. You’ll be able to attach the car seat at four different points to secure it in place.
This will increase the time it takes you to walk through security. Although, once you get the hang of the anchoring, assembling the device will only take a few seconds.
- Better weight distribution than travel carts
- 360° wheels allow you to move in any direction
- Provides a comfortable ride for your child
- Heavier than a cart, which means it’ll take longer to get through security checkpoints
- Figuring out where each strap goes can take a while
6. Car Seat Transporter (Trolly)
A transporter is a combination between a stroller and a dolly. At first glance, you may think the vehicle looks like a shopping cart.
That’s because it consists of a wide basket resting on four wheels. The car seat goes inside the holder and you strap it into place using harnesses.
There are quite a few advantages to choosing a transporter. First off, you can place your child in the cart in many configurations.
For example, you can choose to have your kid facing you or lying on their side. This gives you the opportunity to find the perfect secure position for your child.
On top of that, the wheels on a transporter are omnidirectional. Because of that, it’s possible to pull the cart behind you or push it in front of you.
That way, you get to enjoy the look on your kid’s face as you walk around the airport.
Other than that, transporters can come with multiple attachments. This means you’ll be able to fit more than one car seat into the holder.
For that reason, if you’re traveling with twins, a transporter may be the way to go.
Moving on, there are a couple of issues with using a transporter. That includes compatibility problems. You’ll need to check that your car seat fits into the basket before you purchase it.
Besides that, since the cart is large, you have to fold it up and assemble it every time you walk through security.
- Holder allows you to place the car seat in a variety of configurations
- Pushing and pulling motions are both possible because of the wheels
- You won’t have to worry about balancing the car seat
- Expensive considering you’ll only use it while at the airport
- Compatibility may be an issue with some car seats
7. Car Seat Bag for Flying
If you’re looking for a completely hands-free solution, then this option may be for you. Instead of pushing around a cart, you can wear the car seat like a backpack.
The gadget resembles a padded bag, with a child seat inside. As you can imagine, this will make carrying around your infant a walk in the park.
For starters, you’ll have full use of your hands to hold your passport and other paperwork. Besides that, the luggage should have a few extra compartments.
You can store diapers, wipes, and other baby essentials to help you on your trip.
Moving on, the padding provides an additional layer of security. That means, as you walk around, you won’t have to worry about the car seat hitting objects around you.
At this point, you may be wondering if you can strap a normal car seat to your back. While it’s possible, this solution isn’t ideal.
That’s because a standard chair won’t have the proper support for you or your child. Unfortunately, this may lead to back injuries if you’re not careful.
So, if you plan to carry your baby like a backpack, it’s best to invest in a car seat bag.
- Lightweight and easy to wear and take off
- Padding provides extra support and security for the child
- Extra storage compartments can fit a variety of baby essentials
- May not be suitable if you have back issues
- Doesn’t allow you easy access to your baby in case you need to make adjustments
8. Professional Help
If you’re traveling with a lot of luggage and a child, you may need to call in for help. Luckily, most airports should have an assistive service that you can rely on.
As soon as you walk into the airport, you can choose to hire an attendant to assist you with your child. They’ll help you navigate check-ins and make walking through security a breeze.
- With an extra pair of hands, taking care of a child should be simple
- Professionals can help you with more than childcare
- Frees you up to handle other important tasks like baggage claim
- Service may be expensive depending on what assistance you require
- You have to spend most of your trip with a stranger
How to Pack a Car Seat for Checked Baggage?
Carrying a car seat through the airport can be difficult. For that reason, some people choose to check the chair with their luggage.
Although, if that’s the plan, you have to prep the child’s seat to get it on the plane.
Start by folding up the chair until it’s as flat as possible. Then, grab the designated car seat cover and wrap it up.
This will provide an extra layer of protection to keep the chair safe as you move it around.
If you don’t have a cover, a heavy-duty plastic bag should do the trick. It’ll be less secure, but it should be able to protect the seat from dust and scratches.
Lastly, place a label on the car seat with your name and email address. That’ll help you find it after the plane lands.
Conclusion on How to Carry Car Seat Through Airport
Carrying a car seat with a child inside through an airport is a tall order. Thankfully, there are a few products that can help you out.
For an affordable option, you can choose to manually haul the seat, or use luggage straps.
Moving on, you may opt for a travel cart, dolly, transporter, or stroller. These may be a bit pricey, but they’ll make maneuvering around the airport a breeze.
Besides that, there’s a car seat bag that can free up your hands. Finally, if you’re willing to splurge, you can ask the airport for professional assistance.
Hopefully, my complete guide made finding a suitable solution a picnic. Now, maybe you can help me out with something.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Is the Best Car Seat Carrier for Airports?
The answer to this question will depend on your car seat needs and preferences. For instance, if you have a small infant, then the Go-Go Babyz TravelMate may be the way to go.
However, for a heavier toddler, the Munchkin Brica model should do the trick.
You can also opt for the Padded Car Seat Bag for a hands-free carrier.
Is the Britax Car Seat Travel Cart a Good Choice for Airports?
The Britax cart is an excellent option for airport trips. That’s because the carrier is lightweight and easy to assemble and take apart.
On top of that, securing the child into the chair will only take a few seconds.
Should I use a Car Seat Travel Cart Graco When Traveling?
Graco carts are one of the best car seat carriers on the market. Not only are they durable, but they’re also incredibly simple to use.
However, they’re not compatible with all car seat types. So, you should only purchase the cart if you’re sure you’ll be able to use it.
How Do I Take a Car Seat Through Airport Security?
To enter the airport with a car seat, you’ll need to run it through the x-ray machine. That means the carrier should be foldable, or small enough to go through the scanner.
Because of that, it’s best to choose a cart or stroller that’s lightweight and easy to carry.
Is It Better to Gate-Check a Car Seat or Add It to Checked Baggage?
There are benefits and drawbacks to both situations. If you gate-check the car seat, then you have to spend the entire time at the airport carrying it around.
This may make juggling luggage and a child next to impossible.
However, with the alternative, you’ll have to run around after your kid. So, depending on how you want to spend your time, the answer to the question will change.
Does Carrying a Car Seat in the Airport Cost Extra?
When traveling with a small child, you’re allowed to carry a few extra add-ons. That includes a diaper bag, breast milk, and, of course, a car seat.
Thankfully, none of those items come at any additional cost.
Last Updated on April 26, 2023 by Danny Reid