The Cares Kids Fly Safe Harness ($69.70 on Amazon) seemed like the perfect solution to my concerns about flying for the first time with my four-year-old son. While my son loves riding in the car and has never complained about sitting in his car seat (thankfully!),this would be the first time he would spend several hours on a plane. In particular, I was nervous about whether he would sit still with just a lap belt restraining him.
- Only FAA certified alternative to a car seat
- 4-point harness that’s identical to your child’s car seat configuration
- Durable material that’s made by the same company who makes airplane safety belts
- Light (1 pound) and portable
- You can check-in your 50 pound car seat instead of lugging it on board
- Simple to install, but requires an awkward moment when you ask the passenger behind your child to put their tray table down.
- No straps between the legs (the 5th safety point), so the straps have to be very snug or else smaller kids may slide down or wiggle out
- Red strap sometimes doesn’t align flush for curved back seats
- A big price tag if you don’t fly often
Installing the harness was easy, but required an awkward moment of asking the person behind us to move her tray table down while we installed the wrap-around strap. If my son had been seated on the aisle, this may have been an easier installation, but he insisted on sitting by the window. Installing the Cares Harness while kneeling on the middle seat and trying not to hit my head on the overhead bins was tricky. If there were some way for the system to work without having to bother another passenger, that would make it better.
Once that part was done, though, strapping in our son was a breeze. From that point on, the 4-point harness made my son feel like he was in his car seat at home rather than in an airplane. Well, apart from the clouds passing by the window to show we were in the air. My son really does enjoy being in his car seat, so we did not experience any problems with him getting antsy from being restrained by the Cares Harness. It also may have helped that this was his first flight and he knew no other way of flying. I would imagine that children who do not like being strapped in a car seat or who are used to flying with fewer physical restrictions may not appreciate this product in quite the same manner.
For the two-plus hour flight from Orlando to Boston, I was not interrupted by my son complaining about being buckled in, and he was much more contented than other children I witnessed climbing all over the aircraft without any seat belt being used except for takeoff and landing. I was actually very close to offering up the harness to the family aside of us who probably could have gotten much better use out of it than we did!
The belts used to create this harness are very similar to those used for the lap belts, so the system looks like it belongs on the plane. One might almost wonder why the airlines do not make these available to all families flying with younger children. It is a great concept that keeps kids safer than just using a lap belt. We chose not to bring our car seat with us on the vacation and this product allowed us to keep our son safe without the hassle of lugging onboard a car seat. We saw one family with twins carrying their car seats onto the plane, installing them, and then having to carry them out of the plane with them. It looked like way too much for anyone to handle at the airport.
The only problem I encountered with the harness was my husband and his unwillingness to let me use it on the flight down to Florida, as he did not want to let me ask the person behind me if I could move his tray table to install the straps.
For families that travel frequently with young children over age two (or under age two and using an individual seat), this is a great product if you’re willing to bother the person behind you for a moment to install the Cares Harness. The price of $69.70 for the Cares Harness is a little steep if you were planning to only use it once. With no visible expiration date, it certainly looks like it is made to last for a long time.
Buy the CARES Harness on Amazon.
Other Travel Gear Resources:
- Baby Equipment Rental Companies
- Top 10 Travel Toys for Elementary School Aged Kids
- Travel Toys for Baby/Toddler
- Top 5 Travel Toys for Preschooler
- Best Portable Travel Cribs
*This complimentary product was received from the manufacturer to be reviewed by Trekaroo. I received no other compensation, and was not required to express any particular point of view.
updated: March 01 2010 by BoltonMom