The Ultimate FAA Approved Car Seat List for 2020

Looking for an FAA approved car seat list? Well, you’re in the right spot! Continue on to read about my exhaustive research looking for the right cast seat for my baby’s first flight.

Just looking for a list of car seats approved by the FAA? Click here to skip down to the massive list.

While I wish I could take my baby places with a portkey, floo powder, a transporter, or pretty much any other option besides flying, sometimes it’s my only choice!

As you probably already know, the safest place for your baby on a plane is in a car seat, not on your lap. If the aircraft were to experience turbulence, you would not be able to hold your child safely.

faa approved car seat list

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How to choose a car seat for air travel

When choosing a car seat for air travel, consider the weight of the car seat. You will be carrying it around the airport, so the lighter the better!

The width of the car seat is also important because it needs to fit into the airplane seat! Some airlines may let you raise the arm rest between your seat and the car seat.

Finally, think about the type of car seat you want. If you will only be flying a few times with your baby, a low-cost seat may meet your needs. On the other hand, you may wish to spend more and choose a convertible seat that is good for everyday use and travel that you can use for several years.

Click here or scroll down further to see a list of all FAA approved car seats to check if your seat is certified for plane travel.

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The best FAA approved infant carriers

The Chicco Keyfit 30 infant seat (click to view on Amazon) is a great choice. Clocking in at 9.6 pounds and 17″ across, it is both lightweight and narrow. It also clicks into a compatible stroller. It accommodates a rear-facing baby from 4-30 pounds. Other car seats in this price range can accommodate rear facing babies longer, but are larger and bulkier, meaning they aren’t as good for air travel.

If you are willing to spend the money and plan on traveling frequently before your baby is over 35 pounds, get the Doona! This gives you the convenience of the integrated yet lightweight car seat and stroller that you can carry onto the plane. As the specs show, the Doona is somewhat heavy at 15.4 pounds, but that includes the stroller. Many parents feel it is well-worth the pirce tag because of the small size, convenience, and you don’t need to reattach it to the stroller base. It can accommodate a rear-facing child until they reach 35 pounds!

Infant seat installed on an aircraft

Infant seats are very easy to install in an aircraft. The seat should be installed rear-facing, just like in a car. Next, put the baby in the seat and fasten the car seat belts. Finally, run the seat belt through the openings along the car seat – check out the picture above.

It’s a little difficult to see since the car seat, the car seat fabric, car seat straps, and airplane seat belt are all dark blue!

The best FAA approved convertible car seats

Budget convertible car seat: The Evenflo Tribute LX (click to view on Amazon) makes a great travel car seat due to its low weight and narrow profile. It is relatively lightweight, pretty narrow, is easy to install, and is comfortable for the child, compared to other seats in this price bracket.

However, it may not be the most comfortable for your child for everyday use. You may wish to get a dedicated car seat for when you are at home. This seat can accommodate a rear facing baby from 5-30 pounds, and a forward-facing baby from 22-40 pounds. 

High end convertible car seat: If you are willing to spend more on a convertible car seat, consider the Combi Cocorro (click to view on Amazon). This may make sense if you are planning to travel a lot during the years your child can use this seat.

The Combi Cocorro is somewhat difficult to install in your car, but is lightweight and very narrow. In fact, you can fit 3 across in the back seats of many smaller cars. It accommodates rear-facing children from 3-33 pounds and forward-facing children from 20-40 pounds

The best FAA approved 3 in 1 or 4 in 1 car seat

I don’t recommend getting a 3 in 1 car seat or a 4 in 1 car seat for airplane travel. 3 in 1 and 4 in 1 car seats tend to be bulky and heavy in order to safely hold a 5 pound baby up to a 100 pound child.

Why didn’t you list any booster seats? 

Booster seats help keep your child safe in a vehicle on the ground by using the lap and shoulder belt. However, airplanes don’t have shoulder belts, so the FAA does not approve booster seats, only 5 point harnesses. 

If your child is over one year old, between 22 and 44 pounds, and up to 40 inches tall, consider getting the FAA-approved Child Harness Device (also known as CARES). This device is less than one pound and fits in a carry on, which is much easier than bringing a car seat! Wrap the red part around the back of the seat, around the height of your child’s ears. Slip the two loops through the lap belt. Get your child situated, then clip the harness across their chest like any five-point harness, and close the lap belt. 

List of all FAA approved car seats

So you already have a car seat and want to know if it’s FAA approved? Check this list to find out! Click the name of the seat to read more details about it.

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Don’t see your seat on the FAA approved list?

Check out your car seat and see if you can find an FAA approved sticker. Or check your car seat manual. I actually found out my car seat was FAA approved by looking up the manual online. I kept missing the sticker when I looked for it!

How can I find the FAA approved car seat sticker?

Unfortunately, there’s no standard place for the sticker. They will have red text saying “”This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” The text must be in red! But it could be anywhere, on the part of the seat where your child sits, on the leg of the infant seat that clicks into the seat, or somewhere on the back. Take a long hard look!

How do I get the car seat through the airport?

You are already juggling a kid, their luggage, and your luggage. How do you carry a car seat through the airport? You have three options. First, you can get a strap that attaches the car seat to your roller bag. You simply thread the strap through the belt path on a convertible or all-in-one car seat. Downside – you have to disassemble the contraption when you get to security as the car seat and luggage together won’t fit through the scanners.

Second, you can take a step up and get a fancier belt that allows your child to ride in the car seat while you wheel the roller bag through the airport. Same downside as above- you have to disassemble it to get through security. And now you have to make sure the handle on your roller bag can stand up to the weight of a car seat, baby, and the luggage. And make sure not to run your kid into things and avoid running over loose straps from the car seat…. I wouldn’t choose this option.

Or third, you can get a backpack bag for your car seat. People often use these if they’re going to check the car seat, rather than taking it on the plane. But there’s no reason you can’t put your car seat in here til you get onto the plane, then pack the backpack away. Most of the smaller, airplane-recommended car seats will fit in this type of bag. The larger ones may not. Consider how baggage handlers may handle your car seat if you plan on checking it.

Want to read the FAA’s guidelines on flying with a car seat?

Believe it or not, the FAA’s website has a straightforward article about flying with a car seat, also known as a child restraint system or CRS. 

To sum it up:

  • The safest place for a child on a plane is in a car seat, never on your lap or in your arms
  • Look for the text “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft” on your car seat
  • Your car seat should fit in most airplane seats if it is no wider than 16 inches.
  • Many airlines require car seats to be placed in window seats

Conclusions: FAA Approved Car Seat List

Check the list above, and look in your car seat manual to determine if your car seat is FAA approved. If not, consider purchasing the Chicco Keyfit 30 infant seat, the Evenflo Tribute LX convertible car seat, the Combi Cocorro convertible car seat, or a CARES strap system for children in booster seats. Pack lots of toys and have a great flight!

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