What's the official FAA stance on child booster seats?

I’m not talking about the older type seats which were just a bottom cushion with no back. Newer seats are one molded piece with a back, and either have an integral 5-point harness or a loop to run the shoulder belt through (for car use). I know that planes don’t have shoulder belts, but is the newer type useable, and if so, is it any better than just a lap belt and no booster?

BTW, I checked the FAA web site and couldn’t find anything relating to this type of booster, just booster seats in general.

The web page for the booster seat we have (Fisher-Price safe embrace) clearly states that it shouldn’t be used with a lap belt, so that rules out using it on the plane. Don’t know about other types of seats, though.

Actually, Frogstein, IMHO it doesn’t necessarily mean that.

The link to the FP site didn’t work (could just be my connection though) so I couldn’t see the seat. However, for many of the seat type child restraints, (as distinct from the cushion type) the ‘not with lap sash’ may be a car related requirement, based on the likely angles of impacts and deceleration forces involved in typical injury-causing crashes. The intent would be to stop the child being thrown rapidly forward and back, as in a rear-ender or frontal collision. Without wishing to be unnecessarily cold blooded about it, if that is happening to the plane, the chances are high that there may be other implications for personal safety as well. Or, it could be because the seat design would not prevent the child submarining under the belt if a lap belt only was used - a potential problem with what we know as ‘boosters’ which are sort of cushions with handles.

Depending on which Standard the seat conforms to, and/or has been tested to, the ‘not with lap belt’ could be a labelling requirement, or it could be that the seat, like most, will only offer the expected level of protection if used with a sash belt. Doesn’t necessarily mean it will cause a problem if used with a lap belt in a plane, unless submarining is the problem, or maybe if it is designed to be folded flat.

If you follow this link you will get a contact number for the FAA which deals with consumer issues like child restraints. I can’t use it 'cos I’m in another country, but as they’ve gone to the length of setting up an info line, it sure looks like you’re not the only one asking.

This may also be of help -


Having looked at the FAA site, and remembering the last time we tried to hire a child restraint to go in the car we hired last visit to the US, I wonder if your seat is caught with a terminology problem between the terms ‘booster seat’ and ‘child restraint’. I know what they mean here, but they may not mean the same thing in the US, particularly to a marketing department. I’d go back to the FP site, which I assume has contact details on it, and try to get to the R&D people to ask if it is a ‘booster seat’ or a ‘child restraint’, and whether the seat is OK for use in a plane.

From what I’ve heard, a child seat is beneficial for children when flying, both for comfort and safety. And also, because when you get where you’re going, and get into your hirecar, the seat hasn’t been through the oh-so-gentle baggage handling system. There are some impacts that consumer products are just not expecteed to withstand!

Oh, and depending on where you are going, some countries have regulations regarding the use of particular sorts of child restraints in motor vehicles, and the US ones, unless very new designs, are unlikely to be legal in Aus, and probably not NZ, because of the lack of a top tether strap.