Stop lugging carseats on airplanes

My toddler in a CARES harness, stop lugging car seats on airplanesTraveling with toddlers is not easy under the best of circumstances. If you’re really lucky, the flight is smooth, you packed enough snacks, the in-flight movie doesn’t include scary stuff, and you’ve scored a SkyMall catalog perfect for I Spy.

After Holden turned about 8 months old, he was so darn squirmy that we vowed to buy him his own seat if we were to ever fly with him again. We did fly with him and we carried that huge Britax for a 13-month old, a seat-kicking 18-month old, a still-kicky 20-month old, and on and on. Now with two little guys (20 months and 42 months if we count that way), we were dragging TWO CAR SEATS onto an airplane. Ugh.

CARES airplane harness for toddlers and preschoolers

On our family trip to Hawaii, we tried something different. Holden wore the new CARES (Child Aviation Restraint) system. It’s an FDA-approved restraint system that loops around the seat back and the seat belt to give him more security than a regular airplane seatbelt while also:

  • giving us one less huge thing to lug on board (fits in my carry on easily)
  • making it that much harder for him to kick the seat in front of him (legs too short – ha ha!)
  • impressing the woman in front of us also traveling with 2 little ones

On our subsequent cross-country trips, we went one step further and let Holden try out the regular seat belt and put seat-kicking Milo in the CARES unit. This was also our strategy on the flight to Denmark last month.

If you’re still carrying car seats onboard airplanes, check out the PacBack by Cheeky Monkey: this is the thin strappy doohicky that converts your mammoth car seat into a backpack. It is useful and packs flat. Get this if you have to bring car seats on board. We love ours and loan it out. It started to fray a little and we had it repaired.

There is lots more info on the CARES Child Airplane Travel Harness – Cares Safety Restraint System – The Only FAA Approved Child Flying Safety Device if you check it on Amazon.

I got one for $0 to test out, but would pay the $69 they’re charging on Amazon. Great if you like to travel and you have a toddler who likes to come along.