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Car seats on airplanes? No, we have CARES.

For two months before our trip overseas, I was trying to decide: do I need to take car seats with us to use on the plane? If I don’t take a car seat, how is my baby going to sleep on the plane? What if she falls asleep and slips off the seat?

This dilemma was solved once I learned about CARES.

CARES Child Aviation Restraint System is designed specifically for aviation use for children age 1 and older who weigh between 22 and 44 pounds. These youngsters are old enough to be in their own seats, but are too small for the seat belt alone to protect them and provide the safety they require during airplane travel. Here’s what makes CARES such an invaluable travel solution:

  • CARES is the first and only harness type Aviation Child Safety Device to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as an alternative to a car seat.
  • CARES is an elegantly designed belt-and-buckle device that works in conjunction with the regular airplane seat belt and provides young travelers the same level of safety as a car seat.
  • CARES weighs just one pound! It is adjustable to every size airplane seat, and usable on any seat in the airplane, except in the emergency exit rows.

I heard about CARES from Moms who frequently take eleven hour flights to Russia with little kids. After I heard stories about babies sleeping better in CARES since it offered their babies a familiar sense of care seat security, I decided to try it out myself.

CARES is very easy to install. Although I usually skip the instructions, I read the CARES booklet with installation guidelines. It was easy to understand since it had pictures for each step. I knew I would not have a chance to read the instructions on the plane with both kids demanding attention.

Although my baby did not fell asleep with the CARES harness (she really was not in the mood to be going to sleep by herself), I was able to put her in the seat and fasten her with CARES after she dozed off on my lap. It was such a relief to have a baby sleeping in her seat without the risk of falling down.

CARES fits the economy class seats perfectly. It also fits most first class and business class seats. The circumference of the red loop is just over 60 inches, which slides over most  – but not all – business and first class seats. The ones that have big “wings” at the top (Continental business class uses these) are the exception. In some cases there may be a slight space between CARES and the center-back of the seatback. This can be solved: you can place an airplane pillow or a rolled up tee shirt into that space, so the child can lean back more comfortably.

Also, if you are flying by an Airbus aircraft which is used by some European airlines, the seat in the airplane may have a “recessed tray” – meaning the tray fits into a slightly scooped out place on the seat back. The solution the FAA states is that ”In the case of a (recessed tray cavity) the strap must be placed completely over both the seat back and the stowed  tray table during  taxiing, take off and landing”. Since the tray should not be used during these times, nor during turbulence, the closed tray causes no discomfort to the person behind the child, but the mother needs to attend to putting it on and taking it off a few times during the flight. 

CARES Child Aviation Restraint System comes with a 6″ stuff sack, an instruction CD and an easy to read instructions booklet.

KidsFlySafe are giving away a CARES, the Child Aviation Restraint System, which is a belt and buckle device for kids 22-44 pounds. You need to have a valid U.S. address to enter.

 To participate in the giveaway, you could do any or all of the following:

  1. Visit KidsFlySafe website. Leave a comment here what you learned about CARES or the company. 
  2. Leave a comment on any of my posts. Leave a comment here with a post name.
  3. Sign up for the CARES Newsletter on bottom left of KidsFlySafe website. Leave a comment here.
  4. Become a Fan of KidsFlySafe on Facebook. Leave a comment here with your Facebook name. 
  5. Follow KidsFlySafe on Twitter.  Leave a comment with your Twitter name.
  6. Tweet about this giveaway. Use the following to tweet: win @KidsFlySafe CARES airplane harness for kids: $75 value. Enter #giveaway at @mybusychildren http://bit.ly/aO4m3d        Leave a comment here with your Twitter name. You can tweet once a day.
  7. Follow me on Twitter. Leave a comment with your Twitter name
  8. Subscribe to My Busy Children by email here or via Feedburner. Or subscribe to the RSS feed. Leave a comment indicating how you subscribed

This Giveaway ends on October 21st, 11:59pm EST, 2010. The winner will be chosen randomly. I will email the winner, who will have 72 hours to contact me or a new winner will be chosen.

THIS CONEST IS CLOSED. The Winner is number 16 – Kim.

Review/giveaway disclaimer: I received no monetary compensation for this review. I received CARES for review purposes. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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113 Responses to Car seats on airplanes? No, we have CARES.

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  2. 102

    It is often worth considering what use you might have for a child seat once you arrive at your destination. Check the local laws on carrying children in cars before you travel and ensure you are happy for your child to travel in a car in an appropriate car seat. Hiring a child seat in a rental car can be expensive, so it may be worth investing in a seat that can be used both on a plane and one that meets the relevant standards for using in a car.

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    Nick D. says:

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