Traveling with kids can be a headache sometimes.
You have to make sure that you pack everything they need – snacks, extra clothes, medicines, entertainment, car seats, and more.
When it comes to traveling with kids, there are many different rules and regulations that apply to the various forms of transport. It is important to know the rules for traveling with car seats for your mode of travel beforehand.
Can you take a car seat on a train? Technically, you can bring a car seat on a train, but it cannot be used properly. Trains do not have the seat belts that are needed to properly secure car seats. Children are not required to ride in car seats on a train.
Read on as I dive into more detail regarding the handling of car seats on trains.
Can You Take a Car Seat on a Train?
You probably won’t be using your car seat while on the train; however, you will need the car seat in order to travel by car or other methods when you get to where you are going.
Because of this, car seats can be brought onto trains even though they are not being used.
Why Can’t I Use my Car Seat on the Train?
Because a train does not have seat belts, you cannot secure a car seat on the train.
What if my Child is in a Rear-Facing Car Seat?
If your child is in a rear-facing car seat and you are more comfortable with your child being secured in their car seat, you can place the rear-facing car seat on the floor of the train and secure your child in the straps. However, the car seat will not be attached to anything.
How Should I Carry On My Car Seat?
It’s necessary to bring your car seat onto the train with you because you will need it for travel once you arrive at your destination.
You can use luggage carts or strollers to bring your car seats on board as a convenient wheeled luggage.
Read More: Stroller Travel Bags
How do I Store my Car Seat While on a Train?
There are two typical ways to travel on a train – in the coach section with a seat and in a sleeping compartment with a bed.
In the coach section, there will be luggage areas for you to store your luggage. You can place your car seats in these areas.
In sleeping compartments, there are usually places to store car seats, and there are also luggage storing spaces.
7 Tips for Traveling with Kids on a Train
Car seats are not the only thing that parents have to worry about when it comes to traveling with their children.
There are many factors to consider when you’re traveling with kids to make sure that they are comfortable, safe, and well-behaved.
Some tips for traveling with your kids on a train are:
- Know your reservation.
- Arrive early.
- Buy discounted kid fares.
- Travel at off-peak times.
- Bring strollers for free.
- Pack snacks and games.
- Bring pillows and blankets.
1 – Know Your Reservation
Traveling coach usually means that you will be able to sit anywhere, and if you are loading at a busy station, people with small children are allowed to board first.
For long trips where you have a sleeper car reserved, it’s good to know that your meals, juice, coffee, tea, and water are provided for you.
Knowing the differences in the reservations helps you to plan what you bring accordingly.
2 – Arrive Early
It is recommended to arrive at your train station at least 30 minutes ahead of time.
Kids will generally need to use the restroom before boarding, and this gives you time to get to your train’s boarding area early, so you aren’t struggling to find a space that has enough seats for your family to sit together.
Boarding usually starts about 10 minutes before departure.
3 – Buy Discounted Kid Fares
Know the kids’ fares for the train company you are using. For example, children under the age of 2 generally ride free.
For kids aged 2 to 15, you can purchase half-price tickets when they are traveling with an adult.
NOTE: There is normally a limit of two half-priced children tickets per adult.
You can also take advantage of other discounted fares like group travel, military travel, and overnight auto trains.
4 – Travel at Off-Peak Times
Off-peak times are much less crowded and more suitable for travel with kids, especially younger children that need to be able to move around and play.
5 – Bring Strollers for Free
Traveling with infants under the age of 2 allows you to bring a stroller with you for free.
This can cut down on luggage that you have to bring and adds the extra convenience of another wheeled luggage item to easily carry your items with you.
6 – Pack Snacks and Games
Riding on a train is a unique experience for children because they are free to move around and the train windows allow them to watch the amazing countryside fly by!
Some kids are content just staring out the windows, but you should always make sure to pack snacks and games. You can even download movies onto tablets or phones for the kids to watch.
Small toys like Matchbox cars and dolls are great things to bring for entertainment, and coloring books and colors are always fun.
7 – Bring Pillows and Blankets
Not every child can fall asleep anywhere, so having pillows and blankets ready to make your child comfortable enough to sleep on the train is important.
If you have room, you can pack things like kinder mats to add cushion to set up a makeshift bed for your kids, as well.
If you need inspiration for travelling pillows, check out this post.
Consider Purchasing a Car Seat Made for Traveling
There are car seats that are specifically made for travel that you can purchase. If your child is an infant, you may not feel comfortable traveling without a car seat to properly hold them.
Below you will find examples of 5 great car seats.
Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Seat
- Includes removable newborn positioner to support their head and body
- Carrier is lined with energy-absorbing foam for safety in the case of an impact
- Rear-facing weight capacity is 4-30 pounds
Uppababy 2017/2018 Mesa Infant Car Seat
- Weighs less than 10 pounds with the base
- Has a visual indicator that turns green when it is properly installed
- Rear-facing weight capacity is 4-35 pounds
Doona Infant Car Seat and Stroller
- Stroller and car seat all in one
- Has multilayer side impact protection
- Has 5 harness positions
- Includes an ergonomic infant insert
- Rear-facing weight capacity is 4-35 pounds
Cosco Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat
- Weighs only 11 pounds
- One of the most affordable travel-friendly car seats available
- Has five safety harnesses
- Has three easily adjustable buckle locations
- Rear-facing weight capacity is 5-40 pounds
- Front-facing weight capacity is 22-40 pounds
Evenflow Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat
- Includes four shoulder harness positions
- Highly regarded as a Parent’s Choice
- Weighs only 12 pounds
- Rear-facing capacity is 5-40 pounds
- Front-facing capacity is 22-40 pounds
Read More: How To Pick The Best Stroller Bag
Car Seat Requirements for Other Methods of Travel
Trains are not the only way to travel. For instance, you will use vehicular transport to get to the train station, and another effective way to travel long distances is by plane.
So, what are the rules regarding car seats for other methods of transportation?
If you are riding in your personal vehicle or carpooling in someone else’s personal vehicle, you must follow the laws regarding car seats for vehicular travel. Children must be fastened properly and securely in the car seat that fits their age and size.
– Infants and toddlers – rear-facing or convertible car seats
– Toddlers and preschoolers – forward-facing with harness or forward-facing convertible car seat
– School-aged children – booster seat
- If you are riding in a taxi, you will need to check your state’s laws. Most states exempt you from putting your child in a car seat in a taxi. However, you have the option to use your car seat for safety purposes if you’d like – even if you are exempted by law.
- If you are riding on a public bus, you will not be able to strap in a car seat because the seats do not have seat belts.
- If you are traveling on a plane, you must secure any child under 40 pounds in a car seat that is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Check out this article about checking a car seat on a plane.
Traveling Can be a Hassle
Traveling with kids can be chaotic, so making sure that your travel experience goes as smoothly as possible is key.
Knowing what to expect at the train station, understanding that car seats are not necessary, and being aware of ways you can entertain your kids during the train ride are all vital parts of traveling by train with kids.
Remember that you will not be able to fasten a car seat to a train seat, but you will need car seats for other methods of travel once you get to your destination.