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Old 09-25-2012, 01:44 PM   #1
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gate checking your car seat

So this will be the first time our family has ever used a rental car with kiddos on a trip. All along i've been pricing rental cars with rented kid seats. However, I keep finding dis threads of parents warning against rental seats. Now i'm considering flying down with our seats (toddler chair and infant bucket seat) to be on the safe side. The things is, I've always wondered how safe it was to check your seats? Do they get tossed around like luggage? Would there be potential for damage? We could bring our toddler's seat on the plane since he has to buy a ticket, but would need to check the baby's. How realistic are my fears that it will get cracked, damaged or ruined? He will only be turning 5 months on the trip and will need the seat for a little while longer after so I of course would want peace of mind that it is still working properly!! Who's been there, done that? Am I over worrying?
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:08 PM   #2
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I wouldn't gate check a seat, for the same reason that I wouldn't "regular" check it - once it's out of your possession you have no idea how it's being treated. Personally? I would bring them on the plane and use them, since that's what the FAA recommends anyway.

ETA: http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/crs/
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:08 PM   #3
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I can't help, but I LOVE the text above your ticker! I went last Christmas for my birthday and it was happiness! Have a great time!!!
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:23 PM   #4
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there is always a chance but I gate checked ours many, many times and they were never damaged.


She can't bring the baby's on and use it if it is a lap baby. That is why I always checked ours, mine flew as lap kids till they couldn't.
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:42 PM   #5
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There's always the chance that it could be damaged. You can search on car-seat.org to feed any paranoia. One suggested solution on that site is to put it in bubble wrap inside the original box (or other large box). I don't know how you'd then get it to the gate, but it's a way to better ensure protection.

I've gate checked car seats several times and have never had a problem. The first time I gate checked a brand new stroller however they broke the latch. Stroller was still operable but wouldn't close. FWIW, I always put my car seat in a traveling bag and wrap it with extra clothes. Mostly because I don't want to deal with an extra carry-on, but it also provides some padding for the car seat.
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:09 PM   #6
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MACPS, the Manufacturers Alliance for Child Passenger Safety, recently made a statement about gate checking seat:

" Car Seats Gate-Checked or Checked as Luggage
Car seats are designed to withstand most motor vehicle crash forces. In general, the MACPS does not consider a gate-checked car seat or a car seat that is checked as luggage to be one that has experienced forces equivalent to a motor vehicle crash. Once the destination is reached, it is recommended to inspect the car seat to make sure no visual damage has occurred and all aspects of the car seat function properly. (August 2012) "

source: http://saferidenews.com/srndnn/LinkC...s%3D&tabid=352
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CourtneyL View Post
MACPS, the Manufacturers Alliance for Child Passenger Safety, recently made a statement about gate checking seat:

" Car Seats Gate-Checked or Checked as Luggage
Car seats are designed to withstand most motor vehicle crash forces. In general, the MACPS does not consider a gate-checked car seat or a car seat that is checked as luggage to be one that has experienced forces equivalent to a motor vehicle crash. Once the destination is reached, it is recommended to inspect the car seat to make sure no visual damage has occurred and all aspects of the car seat function properly. (August 2012) "

source: http://saferidenews.com/srndnn/LinkC...s%3D&tabid=352
Really?? WOW! I stopped using my Marathon b/c I had checked it not knowing that it was an unsafe practice (2 years ago). We still have it b/c I felt guilty letting it go into someone else's possession knowing we had checked it and that it was now considered "crashed" though there's no visible damage. I followed the car-seat.org's recommendations. I still won't check a seat, though. I want DS as safe as possible while on the plane (I flew with him as a lap baby, too, though...but my POV has changed..It's also nice for each of us to have our own seat as he peed on me the last time he was a lap baby . I know it's not cost-effective, though. YIKES!)

If you check your seat: Take the cover off the seat when you land to make sure there's no damage. Take it off ANYTIME, especially right after you purchase. Why? My son was a puker and he soaked his infant bucket pretty soon after we had gotten it. I took the cover off to wash and saw that the styrofoam (that's the "padding" that absorbs all the forces on most car seats) had a 4 inch long crack (maybe longer..that was 3 yrs ago) from the top corner towards the middle. Holy cow!!! Of course, I called Chicco and they said don't use the seat that it was unsafe and they would ship another. Well, what in the world was I to do in the meantime???? I got it from Toys R Us and, thankfully after talking with a manager, they told me to bring the seat in and they would exchange it and work out the details with Chicco. Note that the seat had never been dropped, checked or in a crash while in our possession. SCARY stuff!!!

Good luck!
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cant wait for Disney View Post
So this will be the first time our family has ever used a rental car with kiddos on a trip. All along i've been pricing rental cars with rented kid seats. However, I keep finding dis threads of parents warning against rental seats. Now i'm considering flying down with our seats (toddler chair and infant bucket seat) to be on the safe side. The things is, I've always wondered how safe it was to check your seats? Do they get tossed around like luggage? Would there be potential for damage? We could bring our toddler's seat on the plane since he has to buy a ticket, but would need to check the baby's. How realistic are my fears that it will get cracked, damaged or ruined? He will only be turning 5 months on the trip and will need the seat for a little while longer after so I of course would want peace of mind that it is still working properly!! Who's been there, done that? Am I over worrying?
You are not over worrying, you are asking intelligent questions about an important piece of equipment to keep your child safe
I can only speak about the Canadian regulations, since I'm a Canadian car seat tech (CRST). We consider any seat dropped from waist/table height to be damaged beyond use. Often you cannot see this damage, sometimes there are stress marks or cracks in the plastic, but often there's nothing. The seat is still rendered useless. The trouble with gate checking a seat is that if it falls off the conveyor belt on the way from the gate to the plane, it's finished. I've seen it happen as we board, and felt awful the person was being careful with their seat and yet it is still damaged.
You are absolutely right to use the toddler seat on the plane. If there is a seat available, you can ask to keep the infant seat on board and install it as well. If not, then your options are to buy the infant a seat (which is the safer option, there is lots of information out there on why babies should not fly unrestrained, but I digress) or go to car-seat.org for some suggestions. There are lots of car seat techs, instructors, and instructor-trainers that I know personally on this site who can give you great advice. I've never travelled with a child who didn't have a seat, so I can only give you advice about installing seats on aircraft...which isn't as hard as you may think
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:46 PM   #9
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I invested in a $35 padded carseat bag from Wal-Mart, popped the car seat in there along with some blankets, dirty laundry (if return trip), diapers or whatever to pad it further and check it with our bags. Rental seats are nasty and I'm willing to deal with getting other seats if ours don't turn up. So far, so good!
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:24 AM   #10
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Thanks so much for all the Information! Ok so I figure I don't want to gate check and rentals seem scary- I like the idea of buying inexpensive ones from wal mart. You think Disney would frown on me buying one (probably just infant, bring toddler on plane) and shipping to my resort? Too big of a package?
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:39 AM   #11
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Here's my obligatory soap-box post: Please consider buying a seat for your baby and using the baby's carseat on the plane. In the event of severe turbulance, your lap baby will be at risk of serious, life threatening injuries, while everyone else on the plane (who is appropriately secured in a seat) will be at risk for some spilled coffee.

I know it's more expensive, but the FAA, NTSB, AAP, Flight Attendants, and Pilot unions all recommend that ALL passengers, regardless of age, be appropriately secured in a seat for takeoff, landing, and whenver the seat belt sign is on.

Of course, that will also alliviate the issue of gate checking the carseat.
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Old 09-26-2012, 12:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cant wait for Disney View Post
Thanks so much for all the Information! Ok so I figure I don't want to gate check and rentals seem scary- I like the idea of buying inexpensive ones from wal mart. You think Disney would frown on me buying one (probably just infant, bring toddler on plane) and shipping to my resort? Too big of a package?
How are you getting the baby from the airport to your resort? Are you renting the car after you get to the resort?

FWIW, we've used the padded carseat travel bag along with jackets & pillows for added padding.
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CourtneyL View Post
MACPS, the Manufacturers Alliance for Child Passenger Safety, recently made a statement about gate checking seat:

" Car Seats Gate-Checked or Checked as Luggage
Car seats are designed to withstand most motor vehicle crash forces. In general, the MACPS does not consider a gate-checked car seat or a car seat that is checked as luggage to be one that has experienced forces equivalent to a motor vehicle crash. Once the destination is reached, it is recommended to inspect the car seat to make sure no visual damage has occurred and all aspects of the car seat function properly. (August 2012) "

source: http://saferidenews.com/srndnn/LinkC...s%3D&tabid=352
Just to clarify: I agree with others that the safest way for children to travel on a plane is in a car seat. I've only flown once with DD and she was in a car seat. If my only option was to gate check a seat, I would tighten the harness so there were no loose straps and put it in some sort of bag. I'd probably buy a Scenera and use it instead of a more expensive seat. A seat with fewer features would be easier to inspect for damage.
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2binak

How are you getting the baby from the airport to your resort? Are you renting the car after you get to the resort?

FWIW, we've used the padded carseat travel bag along with jackets & pillows for added padding.
We would go magic express and then get the car later. I didn't know about padded bags, thanks!
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:06 PM   #15
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After having my $200 infant seat ruined... Nope, I would not. We had it bagged and everything but someone had a bottle of Kalua or something and it was ALL over it and in the bag. Gross. It ruined the seat because of the hardware getting gummed up.

Our kids both need seat snow on the plane so we just bring their carseats on with us. It's a lot less dramatic with them strapped down.
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