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Amtrakfflyer

10 month old in dining car?

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As much as I’ve ridden Amtrak I never paid attention until we had a baby. We’re doing a 6 day 5 night trip GBB to LAX then on the SSL/TE       the longer way home over the holidays. When she was 5 months and in her car seat the dining car wasn’t an issue, her and her car seat fit in the booth.

 Now that she’s 10 months and using a high chair I don’t know what to expect on the train. Obviously no high chairs on the train. Is there even small booster seats available?  I have a feeling we’ll have to do last call to get a table to ourselves and just hold her at least for dinners. Possible eat in room a few times. 

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Edited by Amtrakfflyer

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Aww, she's cute!

When we took my then 1-yr-old niece out to California in 2006, my sister did take her into the dining car a couple of times but ended up asking for most of their meals in her room. I don't believe that Amtrak has any booster seats, but perhaps you could sit her on a travel pillow or similar?

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We've traveled with lap-children many times. Frankly, it never occurred to us to request a booster seat. I highly, highly doubt they are provided. We ended up just holding our children while eating. We found that was actually easier than eating in our room, but YMMV. Bring something to keep their hands busy while you are waiting for your food. If you don't, they grab the cutlery, condiments, etc.

The clear message to us from dining car staff was that if they are a lap child (i.e. no ticket), then they are not entitled to a seat in the diner. I'm genuinely surprised they allowed you to put a car seat in the booth on your earlier trip, but as you said, if you eat during a less-busy meal period, you could end up with a booth to yourself.

 

 

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Yeah, I don’t think Amtrak will provide booster seats or anything like that. I’ve seen plenty of little kids (even littler than me! :P) in Amtrak dining cars, and not one has had or been offered a booster.

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I think the secret would be to enter the dining car after the 'rush' is over...particularly dinner.  Breakfast is usually less than 2 people per booth before 7AM, (I've even had one to myself multiple times in recent years).  Lunch, a little after 1PM it usually gets really slow in the diner.  'Last call' over the PA for lunch means they're practically empty.  I'd consider bring a folded up blanket to use as a 'booster' to the diner, or, bring your own.  Maybe a child car-seat thing that doubles as a booster would work, too.  I think I've seen those in the diner several times, but it has to 'fit'...usually by putting it sideways on the seat cushion.  I suggest taking a trip to the diner and talking with the LSA before they begin serving your first meal to find out what his or her 'rules' are regarding toddlers.

For what it's worth, I think it was 2 years ago, the lady across the hall from me and I went to a couple of meals together in the dining car.  She had some kind of spine issues that she could not sit up straight in any seat, including her roomette.  She brought along some kind of small stuffed pillow-thing with arms making it look like an overstuffed chair seat, minus bottom cushion and sort of laid on her side to eat with feet carefully not sticking into the aisle.  We naturally went there during non-peak periods.  Being the natural-born 'spiller' that I am (where's Rosie with the 'quicker picker upper?), I was the first one to put something in my lap and we both got a good chuckle.  So she wasn't embarrassed at all when she spilled something on to her blouse saying it happens almost every meal.  I was in good company!

 

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She's super cute. :)

I'd be a little nervous about using a booster seat or pillow that can't be anchored (with her firmly anchored in it, as well). The train sways and jolts so much that it would be pretty easy for her to fall against the table or window. :( You could get one of those portable high chair type seats that clip to the table, but that just seems like it would be more trouble than it's worth (and one more thing to pack).

I would probably plan to hold her on your lap for the duration of the meal.

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About five years ago we traveled with our nephew (who was just over a year old) on the CS, and the LSA told us that they 'sometimes' had a booster seat, but didn't happen to have it that particular run. Of course, they also used to have the Pacific Parlour Car, so times do change...

You might want to check out 'hook on chairs' that fold flat but hook onto the edge of the table. Several baby equipment makers do them, and I think Chicco was the brand that we had thirty something years ago. They work well, are quite secure, and the seat wipes down easily. We traveled with them with our kids and found them indispensable. If I had planned in advance, I would have bought one to use on the train with our nephew!

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She's super cute. I would probably plan to hold her on your lap for the duration of the meal. I do hope she has table manners :D

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Trip from GBB to Ful is going well. Trains early at every stop lots of time to wander around. Crew and food are great. I ended up buying a small portable booster seat that folds down to nothing on Amazon for 20 bucks. 4 more nights on train over the holidays. Merry Christmas.

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On ‎11‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 4:28 PM, fairviewroad said:

The clear message to us from dining car staff was that if they are a lap child (i.e. no ticket), then they are not entitled to a seat in the diner. I'm genuinely surprised they allowed you to put a car seat in the booth on your earlier trip, but as you said, if you eat during a less-busy meal period, you could end up with a booth to yourself.

 

you got me wondering.  What are the official Amtrak dining car rules, for an under-two, "no seat", child?    What about between when their adult is a coach or sleeper passenger?  

What about in the lounge car?  

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11 minutes ago, SarahZ said:

That bib! I didn’t know they had those.

 

Now that I am getting older and more gaga, I am going to request one of those bibs for myself next trip!

 

Glad the trip is going well!

 

Ed.

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Bibs are $4.50 on the website. The clearance tab has a bunch of cool kids/infants stuff as well. Got her a different outfit for everyday on the trip.

”Officially” no fare infants in sleepers are charged for meals. $4.50 or $7.00.

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Edited by Amtrakfflyer

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Gotcha. I thought they provided the bib, much the same way some restaurants provide high chairs and the like.

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On 12/24/2018 at 3:59 PM, Cho Cho Charlie said:
On 11/28/2018 at 4:28 PM, fairviewroad said:

The clear message to us from dining car staff was that if they are a lap child (i.e. no ticket), then they are not entitled to a seat in the diner. I'm genuinely surprised they allowed you to put a car seat in the booth on your earlier trip, but as you said, if you eat during a less-busy meal period, you could end up with a booth to yourself.

 

you got me wondering.  What are the official Amtrak dining car rules, for an under-two, "no seat", child?    What about between when their adult is a coach or sleeper passenger?  

 What about in the lounge car?  

The way I understand it as that since the child is an occupant of the room, they are entitled to (free) meals. This seems to be supported by the fact that “Infants” (children under 2) are a listed passenger type when booking. They aren’t entitled to their own seat as a non-paying passenger, but since they are a ticketed occupant of a room, in the case of sleepers, they get meals.

Edited by cpotisch

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23 hours ago, Amtrakfflyer said:

Bibs are $4.50 on the website. The clearance tab has a bunch of cool kids/infants stuff as well. Got her a different outfit for everyday on the trip.

”Officially” no fare infants in sleepers are charged for meals. $4.50 or $7.00.

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My favorite! I absolutely LOVE it! How did the Amtrak people respond to it?

 

Edited by Chey

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We have many great memories (& pictures, home movies) of my two small girls on Amtrak. A lot of our footage is from the dining car.

 

Always had great experiences - not a single bad one. CS, EB, CONO, SL, LSL, CL and our home train the Cardinal.

 

Like you are doing now - we brought our own portable booster seat. We also brought one of those plastic extendable stairway gates to turn the lower short bunk in the family bedroom into a makeshift pack & play for the one year old.

 

Still remember very fondly the round trip my toddler daughters and I took on the CL from South Bend to DC to visit my wife in the middle of her 2 week training session. We took the CL because they cancelled the sleeper on the Card at the last minute. No guarantee for a room outbound - but a roomette opened up and the conductor sold it to us onboard. Hallelujah!

 

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On 12/25/2018 at 1:57 PM, Chey said:

 

Back on the train. The crews love her outfits, most have never seen them or even the bib (even the dining car staff).

Texas Eagle Lax to Chi now. First meal was breakfast outside Tucson. Dining car attendant preemptively told us before we even ordered  her meals aren’t included. They were on the SWC as I implied earlier. No biggie it’s only 4.50 for kids breakfast. 

They just announced early bird “lunch” for coach at your seat. I’ve only heard it offered for dinner in the past. Chicken sandwich, chips, cookie, water 10 bucks.

Edited by Amtrakfflyer

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Texas Eage today. Not impressed with the CCC/diner. First time I’ve been in one. This one needs a deep cleaning, it has an off smell as soon as you walk in. The floors and shiny surfaces all have grime and gunk on them. The half with the weird booths appears to be employee break area only. 

As far as the baby her booster seat doesn’t work in the CCC. The CCC has about 24 inches between back of seat and the table. Where as the normal diner had maybe 18 inches.  My numbers may be off but you get the gist. They said just to bring her car seat in for meal times later. It’s big enough the car seat will easily fit in. Sunset last night decked out for NY’s attached.

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Edited by Amtrakfflyer

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