You know, I'm always concerned whether or not your child is in #TheRightSeat, but another important thing we need to discuss is how to safely travel with a little one when a plane flight is part of your plans. Later this month, we’ll be traveling from Florida to Washington State with our 3-year-old via plane. Of course, one of my biggest concerns about the trip is keeping our son safe. That's why I've partnered with Diono to share how we're making plane safety a priority and using a Diono Rainier for our flight.
Since 80% of crashes happen in the first 3 minutes of takeoff and last 8 minutes before landing, I want to be sure my little man is as safe and secure as possible. After doing some research, I realize that holding a child on your lap isn’t enough. Commercial airplanes are traveling at 250 MPH at takeoff and landing, and up to 500 MPH in flight! Combine those speeds with turbulence, and that’s a lot of force behind a small person’s body. An abrupt stop at 250 MPH would make a 20-pound child weigh around 2,500 pounds (See infographic below).
Diono Rainier Convertible Car Seat
An infant or toddler sitting on their parent's lap is not only at risk of injury to themselves, they're a potential injury risk to other passengers. In the event of an abrupt stop, when that small 25 pound child weighs the equivalent of 2,500 pounds, they're bound to be propelled out of their parent's arms, turning into a projectile of sorts. Isn't that a scary thought! Diono knows that the safe solution for children traveling on an airplane is for them to be securely seated in the proper car seat. Just like riding in a car, children are well protected while riding rear-facing in their car seats on an airplane.
Diono wanted our little guy to be safe on his first plane flight, so they sent me the Diono Rainier Convertible Booster Car Seat to bring with us on our trip. (Tip: Your child restraint system must have printed on it “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft” or the airport will ask you to check the seat with your luggage. See this FAA publication for more information about child safety on airplanes.) Thanks to the Rainier's space saving design, it's able to fit on most standard passenger airliner seats (it can also fit three across the backseat of most standard vehicles).
The thing I like the most about the Ranier, besides it's amazing safety features, is that it can be used from infancy to childhood. It accommodates children for extended rear-facing up to 50 lbs., forward facing from 20 to 90 lbs., and it even converts to a booster for children between 50 and 120 lbs. or up to 57 inches in height. The Rainier also has the highest forward-facing capacity of any car seat in a 5-point harness: from 20-90 lbs (up to 57" in height)! I plan on keeping my children in a 5-point harness for as long as physically possible, so I'm so thankful that the Rainier allows for extended harnessing. This seat definitely has the capacity to grow with your child, and thanks to Diono's 12-year product life, it surely can!
I briefly mentioned the safety features before and I must say, they're impressive. The headrest of the Rainier is aluminum reinforced and has 12 different positions as well as EPA foam for adjustable and comfortable support. It also boasts a full steel frame and aluminum reinforced sides for unmatched safety. The Rainier is also the only brand of car seats with SuperLATCH; with the strongest connectors and Secureweave webbing it provides an easy and secure installation, and that's reassuring since the majority of car seats in America are not installed correctly. Of course, all of these safety features are amazing, but it also means something else - the Rainier is quite heavy! The Rainier weighs in at 28.4 pounds so keep that in mind for your travels.
The Rainier folds for easier transport, which is fantastic and makes it ideal for travel. There are a few different ways to carry the Rainier if you don't have the optional carrying straps (a shoulder strap and backpack straps are available for purchase from Diono).
When folded, the Rainier features a red carry strap that you can hold, or you can carry it via the plastic side. If you've ever tried to make it through the airport with your luggage, your children, and their car seat(s), you know the struggle. That's why I was thrilled that Diono also sent me their Car Seat Travel Bag. It makes carrying the Rainier SO much easier.
The Diono car seat bag fits all of the Diono seats so no matter which model you have, you'll be covered. All you do is fold the seat, put it in the bag, zip it up, and you're ready to go. It's heavy duty with reinforced internal seams, waterproof fabric and durable hardware to support the weight of the car seat.
You can wear it like a backpack or over your shoulder like a duffel bag for easy carrying. Since I'm 5'4'' and on the smaller side, the backpack position felt a little strained for me since they area across the back of the bag is rather wide. I think I'd probably carry the Rainier with the shoulder strap and leave the backpack version for my husband. The travel bag also has compartments for carrying small things like stuffed animals, pacifiers, and similar items for easy access. I think this bag is such a great thing to have if you travel often since it will also keep your seat clean.
Now that we have the Diono Rainier, we're definitely ready for our cross-country travels. It makes me feel better to know that in the event of turbulence or an accident my son will be better protected from injury, and we can enjoy the ease of use and portability of this seat. We love our Diono Radian RXT so I'm very confident the Rainier will be near and dear to us for many years to come.
UPDATE: Our trip went really well! Our son was right at home in his Diono Rainier and didn't really realize he could get out of his seat; just like when we're driving. The fact that he wasn't climbing in our laps and trying to run up and down the aisles was a relief! I will say that the seat is HEAVY. It was a bit of a burden to carry through the airport when we had 15 minute walks in between gates. The carrying bag definitely helped, but on our next trip we'll likely order a Go-Go- Babyz Travelmate. I'd highly recommend checking them out if you're flying soon.
You can get the Diono Rainier convertible car seat on Amazon.com.