|Cares Travel Harness|
|Reviewed by: Baby Gizmo Senior Editors|
|Title: CARES Air Travel Harness|
Best: Easy to use, comes with video
Worst: Expensive for infrequent travelers
Full Review: see below
|Full Review: The CARES travel harness is simply a great idea! It is the first device approved by the FAA to use as an alternative to bulky carseats when traveling with a young child in an airplane seat. CARES, which stands for Child Aviation Restraint System, is a set of buckles and straps that use the airplane seat belt and the seat back to anchor a harness that fits over the child's shoulders. The harness is very well designed and it made out of the same materials as your car seatbelts. It is manufactured by AmSafe Aviation, which is the largest manufacturer of aviation seatbelts. |
It can be used by kids ages one to four who weigh between 22 and 44 pounds and is usable in almost any forward facing airline seat. Although it is approved for infants over 1 year of age, no studies that I could find compared safety for kids that would still be able to be rear facing in their regular carseat on the airplane (as is now recommended for infants and car travel) with forward facing in a CARES harness. The CARES comes with it's own carry bag, an instruction card and a DVD. After watching the four minute DVD and reading the card, I was easily able use the device. Also, as a nifty bonus, the instructions are printed ON the strap itself so that you can never lose them! It takes a couple of minutes to install the device when you get on the plane and it will be easier if you practice before you go. During your trip, if your child needs to use the bathroom or you need to exit in an emergency, you can remove the child without having to remove the whole device. Some parents have noted that their little Houdinis were able to escape the harness so supervision is always required. Also, if you have a younger child, they may slide out of the bottom if the harness and seat belt are not snug enough. The CARES folks thought about a crotch strap but there is not anywhere to anchor it so they were unable to make it happen.
CARES would be a great addition for frequent fliers, but families who do not travel often may not get enough use to justify the price. Also, if you will be driving at your destination, you will either need to have a carseat waiting there or baggage check one with your luggage (where it should be well padded to avoid damage.) I think that this is a super product that finally gives parents the option of not having to deal with the hassles of a carseat on the plane all in a lightweight easy to use system!