Staff at the airport is notorious for not handling car seats correctly, so you want to make sure you pack it correctly for checked baggage. Otherwise, it might end up damaged when it arrives at your destination. Putting it through without packing or some protection is a bad idea.
Relative: Can you take a car seat on a plane?
You should know that airlines do NOT wrap or do anything to stop your car seat from being damaged or dirty. Packing is your responsibility.
So, what’s that going to look like? Here are your options.
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Call The Airline First
Before you get to the airport, make sure you call the airline that you’re flying with beforehand to find out their car seat check-in policies. You’ll need to know if the car seat counts as part of your luggage allowances. These are things that are important to know ahead of time!
How to Pack a Car Seat for Checked Baggage
You have three options available for you when it comes to check-in baggage.
Wrapping the Car Seat
Your first option is to wrap it in either durable plastic or cardboard, then seal it with strong tape. It will be hard to open if security wants to see inside, but it’s the right choice for protection.
Some parents recommend using a large, plastic lawn bag to store the seat. Then, if you want it to take it even further, you could wrap the car seat in bubble wrap for extra padding to stop any damage. You’ll need extra or to reuse the same bubble wrap for on the way home.
Another trick is to add one or two “FRAGILE” stickers to the package to ensure the baggage attendants handle it gently.
Car Seat Travel Bags
Another option is to buy a car seat travel bag that is designed for protection. Most of them have carrying straps to make it easier on your shoulder as you’re taking it through the airport.
If you decide to check your car seat at the gate rather than the ticket counter, you have to haul it through the airport until you reach the gate that you need to board the aircraft. An agent will take the car seat, and you can use a gate check bag at this point.
While some airlines provide their own, most don’t, so it’s wise to buy your own. Gate check bags aren’t as padded as the car seat travel bags. These bags mostly keep your seat clean.
Take Care to Package It Right
One of the severe disadvantages of having a car seat as checked baggage is that it can be damaged in the process. Travel car seats are only able to withstand one incident, and if they’re tossed around too much, it can compromise the structure and integrity of the seat. That means your child could be unsafe sitting in it.
With the right packing, you can prevent accidental damage and not worry that you’ll end up with a dirty, torn, messed up seat!