Baby Box’s Child Restraint Technicians have the following guidance for those looking to travel overseas with their car seat. Baby Box is a physical and online shop in Wellington, New Zealand, with a focus on safe, beautiful products for babies.
On the plane
If you want to use your car seat on a flight it needs to be a seat which has been certified for aircraft use (check the instruction book or check for a sticker on the restraint – if you need help with this, contact a child restraint technician).
Before you leave it’s important to check the airline will allow you to bring your seat with you – and confirm there’s no extra costs for doing so. Airlines may also have additional requirements due to the size and position of their seats.
For example, on Air New Zealand (as at August 2018), forward or rear-facing car seats can be used for children up to 7 years old, provided:
- It’s no wider than 43 cm (17 inches).
- It’s no higher than 48 cm (19 inches) if rear facing, or 65 cm (25.5 inches) if forward-facing.
- It’s got a built-in restraint system (boosters that use the vehicle seat belt would not meet this requirement).
- It’s approved for use in a motor vehicle and approved for the child at their current weight/height.
- It’s in good, safe, working order.
- The particular seat is not a premium business class seat.
New Zealand’s other major airline carrier is Jetstar. According to their website, parents need to contact them when booking to ensure a child restraint can be accommodated. Jetstar also have a number of rules which must be complied with. Jetstar do not allow rear-facing car seats unless a family member sits in front and is OK remaining upright for the journey. Like Air New Zealand, Jetstar also do not allow boosters that rely on a vehicle belt. On some Jetstar flights, car seats can’t be used on board, but can be checked in as baggage for no additional charge.
If you can’t take your car seat on board, you’ll generally use a special restraint provided by the airline to sit them on your lap securely. These restraints are designed to meet safety standards for airline travel.
Off the plane
One little known fact about New Zealand is that we have three different legal standards for car seats: the NZ/Australian standard, the European standard, and the American standard (we also have a strange Japanese in-car seat that’s legal to use, but ignore that for now).