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Shelly Rivoli

Professional Travel Expert

Plane Toddler Gear

Featured On:

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Just when you’ve mastered the art of flying with a baby, in walks your toddler traveling companion. He’s got his own likes, dislikes, and distinctive temperament, not to mention he’s mobile! Not to worry. You can still enjoy air travel with your child - even long-haul flights and layovers. Here are the five best items you’ll find for air travel with your toddler.

Best Air Travel Toddler Gear by Shelly Rivoli

The Best You Can Get

  • Sit ‘N Stroll

    Shelly says: The Sit ‘N Stroll was built for travel, with easy “around-the-seat” routing for seatbelts or LATCH straps that make quick work of belting it in to taxis and unfamiliar vehicles. As you arrive at the airport and lift your child out of the vehicle still in the car seat, just squeeze the handle in the back and press down to deploy the wheels. Keep moving — your child’s already in his stroller. Just lift the foam-grip handle from the top of the seat, and you’re on your way to check-in. While visiting the airport restaurant, retract the wheels and set your child on right on the chair beside you —voila, it becomes a dining booster. The Sit ‘N Stroll can be rolled right down the aisle of the largest aircraft, but on smaller jets you’ll need to carry it down the aisle (which you can do with your child already strapped in, until he gets too heavy). As you greet your flight attendants, let them know you’ll need a seatbelt extension, which will help you route the lap belt right around the Sit ‘N Stroll (no more fighting the armrests or tickling your neighbors to get your child’s car seat in place). The sun canopy (included) also helps keep reading lights and air vents from disturbing your child’s sleep.

    • Converts from car seat to stroller with child strapped in
    • Includes sun canopy
    • Approved for use in aircraft and motor vehicles
    • Installs easily with seatbelts or LATCH
    • Can be used both forward- and rear-facing
  • Traveling Toddler

    Shelly says: Cart your toddler, his car seat, and your rolling carry-on to the gate with ease. This clever strap connects to the LATCH and tether straps with simple D rings, and secures the car seat to the front of any rolling suitcase with a locking pull handle. With car seat attached, and handle locked in upright position, you will steer your precious goods in front of you as you would a stroller. At security, simply unhook the tether at the top (you can leave the side LATCH strap connected), unload your child, and run the car seat and suitcase through the X-ray.

    • Inexpensive
    • Works with all LATCH-equipped toddler car seats
    • Works with rolling suitcases and carry-on bags with locking handles
    • Fits in your pocket or the side of your suitcase when not in use
  • Safe Fit Backpack Harness

    Shelly says: Airports can be busy, crowded, and wildly fascinating places to explore for small children — and easy places for parents to lose sight of them. With the help of a good safety harness, you can indulge your toddler in airport adventures together and help him burn off energy before and between flights. This toddler-sized backpack totes a couple of diapers, wipes, toys, or small board books, and holds a sippy cup or water bottle on its side, making it easy to stop off for a quick diaper change anywhere en route. On vacation, you may also appreciate the ability to safely explore aquariums, zoos, the boardwalk, and more alongside of your child. With his snacks and a couple of diapers stashed in the pack, you can kiss the bulky diaper bag goodbye (at least for the afternoon). What’s more, most toddlers take great pride in having their first real backpack to wear, especially when they know it’s their own personal carry-on.

    • Storage pockets and cup holder
    • Removable safety leash
    • Fits diapers and travel-size wipes
  • Schylling Magnetic Sketchers

    Shelly says: At only 6” wide, this magnetic drawing board stores easily in the side pockets of diaper bags or daypacks, and even the Safe Fit backpack harness. Whip it out as you wait at the gate or pass time on the plane, and keep it in mind as a helpful distraction while camped out at the baggage carousel. No mess, no batteries, no pieces to lose, no limit to the number of times you can use it. When your child becomes old enough, you can also use it for games of tic-tac-toe.

    • Fits in side pockets of diaper bags and daypacks
    • Erasable and reusable
    • Attached stylus won’t get lost along the way
  • Snack and Play Travel Tray

    Shelly says: Airplane trays seldom work with kids’ car seats, but the Snack and Play fits all car seats to help keep coloring books, storybooks, snacks, and toys within easy reach. What’s more, the extra tall rim keeps everything from crayons to French fries to sippy cups from rolling off. Just strap it around your child’s car seat (or stroller when desired), and roll or fold it up when not needed. While rigid enough to write on, it’s also lightweight and flexible enough to store under your stroller or in your daypack.

    • Tall edge keeps snacks and crayons contained
    • Rolls up to fit under stroller or in tote
    • Large surface fits coloring books

You will be happy with any of these

  • Baby B’Air Toddler Flight Vest

    Shelly says: In the final months before your child’s monumental (for travel purposes) second birthday, you may be tempted to squeeze in one more free domestic flight with her riding on your lap. This sounds good to most of us in theory, but there are two potential snafus. First, turbulence: the leading cause of injuries for air passengers, particularly those not buckled down. Second, your sanity: that thing you are most likely to lose while trying to keep your highly active and mobile child on your lap and out of your neighbor’s lunch and the aisle and the drink cart. The Baby B’Air Toddler Flight Vest will help on both counts. Just slip it onto your child, adjust the straps to fit, and run your seat belt through the back loop. The “toddler” size will work for most children from six months through two years, and there is just enough length to allow for nursing or a change of positions when needed.

    • Protects lap-held toddlers from turbulence
    • FAA-approved for use in flight
    • Washable, 100% cotton
    • Fits 6 to 24 months
  • Go Go Kidz TravelMate

    Shelly says: Whether you’re using your child’s car seat on the airplane, or you just want to help protect it against damage by checking it at the gate (and ensure it arrives with you), the TravelMate makes it easy to get both kid and car seat to gate. Your child glides in her familiar car seat on rollerblade-style wheels. When you get to security, press down the retractable handle and remove your child from the car seat and watch as it fits through most X-ray scanners right on the car seat (depending on the size of your car seat and the particular scanner). On the other side, it’s quick and easy to strap her back in, grab your things, and roll on to the gate. On the aircraft, you may even leave the TravelMate attached to the car seat, but be sure to remove it before use in motor vehicles.

    • Gives wheels to toddler car seats
    • Designed for use with child in seat
    • Weighs just 5 lbs.
    • Folds flat for storage
  • CARES Airplane Safety Restraint

    Shelly says: In very specific situations, the CARES safety restraint may be worth the investment for certain traveling families. For example, if you will be traveling frequently by airplane and do not need your car seat on the other end, as when traveling by train, using public transportation, or simply using a different car seat during your visit, you may prefer to have your child use the CARES harness during your flights instead of using only the airplane’s lap seatbelt. While it certainly is preferable to hauling a toddler car seat on a train trek through Europe, be aware that not all European airlines are familiar with, or approve of, the CARES restraint at this time. It fits over “almost all” airplane seat backs and connects to the airplane’s lap belt, holding your child against the airplane seat back with a four-point harness constructed of nylon straps. When you arrive, it packs into a six-inch stuff sack that fits easily into the outer pocket of your suitcase. If your toddler is an escape artist, however, be aware that the easy-lift airplane seat buckle will still be front and center on his lap, though the chest clip on the harness may help slow him down.

    • Converts airplane seatbelt to a 4-point harness for toddlers
    • For children 1 year and older, weighing 22 lbs.
    • Can be used up to 44 lbs. and/or 40” tall
    • FAA-approved for use in U.S. aircraft (but not in motor vehicles)
    • Lightweight, packs small
  • Cheeky Monkey Pac Back

    Shelly says: The Pac Back keeps your hands free for steering the stroller or luggage through the airport, and simplifies getting your family’s multiple bags gear up and onto the shuttle bus. At security, just unbuckle the chest and waist clips and run it through the X-ray still attached to your car seat - it will come out ready to sling over your shoulders on the other side, helping you quickly grab your other gear or assist your child and go. It’s lightweight, stores flat in the bottom of our suitcase during the rest of your trip, and comes with a nifty drawstring-style backpack storage bag you may find countless other uses for.

    • Padded shoulder and waist straps with hip protectors and lumbar support
    • Quick release buckles ease your way through security
    • Works with car seats and high back boosters up to 45 lbs.
    • Made of 420-denier nylon and heavy-duty webbing
  • Wheel Easy Stroller Travel Bag

    Shelly says: As more airlines count every checked bag, it’s critical to make every checked bag count. If you’re going to check a stroller, this will give yours excellent protection with 600 denier poly and a coated lining. The ergonomic design and rugged wheels help it glide with ease, even when completely stuffed - which is perhaps the best reason of all to check this bag. Not only will it fit most single and double strollers, including single joggers and Sit ‘n Stand doubles, but chances are you’ll still have room to load in favorite blankets, a stuffed animal or two, perhaps a toddler travel bed, or those bulky jackets you’ll be glad to access so easily on arrival.

    • Rugged 600 denier poly
    • Moisture-resistant
    • Rugged, easy-glide wheels
    • Top-loading for ease of packing
    • 23” W x 13 ½” H x 38” L excluding wheels

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