DISCLAIMER (sorry to any of my regular readers who isn’t interested in this one. Skip to the end to see a cute pic of the munchkin.)
Our mariachi tour to St. Louis was the first trip we’ve taken by plane since Jaden turned 2. That meant we had to buy him his own ticket (OUCH!). I did a bunch of reading and searching and was just NOT excited about carrying our GIGANTIC car seat through the airport (along with all our other STUFF) and into and out of the skinny airplane aisles.
I found the CARES Safety Harness for kids but thought it was kind of a lot of money since I don’t know exactly how much we’ll travel by plane.
In the end. I decided my sanity was worth an effort to save so I bought it.
Based on some of the reviews I had read I wondered
- If I would have trouble with the airlines to use it.
- If it would really be as easy to install as the directions indicated.
- If it would be comfortable for Jaden.
- If he would actually stay buckled in it.
Here is my review:
SUMMARY: I would recommend this product to anyone flying with a child that fits the size requirements for the harness. There are a few things I would recommend (see detailed summary).
- I did have a few flights attendants tell me that they didn’t think I could use the item when I was installing it. In most cases simply telling them it was FAA Approved gave me the green light. A few actually looked at the paper I showed them which the manufacturer recommends you carry with you.
- It was SUPER easy to install. Honestly. Like 1 ½ minutes tops.
- 1st flight Jaden was awake and playing the whole time. He was just fine and comfortable. 2nd flight he was in it for takeoff and a bit of reading. Then he was really tired and wanted to sleep. He just wanted to be on mommy’s lap so I let him. He returned to the seat belt before landing. 3rd flight he was fine playing, eating, etc. 4th flight he was REALLY tired so he fell asleep at takeoff. Many reviews indicated that the chest strap is too close to the child’s neck and they are worried about strangling them when they fall asleep or that the child couldn’t get comfortable while wearing the harness. I propped Jaden’s head with a blanket (I didn’t have a neck pillow) and after takeoff I reclined his seat a little bit so he was in a little more of a relaxed position.
- While Jaden was awake he was pretty interested in the airplane seat buckle. Reviewers of the product said that it was impossible to keep their kids in the harness because it relied on the easy-to-open airplane buckle to secure. Jaden did want to open the buckle. But, I let him do it a few times and then reminded him how we always buckle up in the car and we always have to buckle up in the airplane too. I showed him how mommy was wearing her seat belt and how the people around us were also and explained that Jaden needed to wear his seatbelt too. I also showed him the seat belt fastened light up above our heads and told him that when that light was on, the rule was that we have our seat belt fastened, and we might get in trouble if we weren’t wearing it. All of that satisfied his curiosity and he left it alone (for the most part). He was usually pretty anxious to get out of the harness by the end of the flight (especially when we were sitting on the ground for about 15 minutes waiting to pull up to our gate) but I just reminded him about the light, told him that when the light went off he could open the buckle, and distracted him with something else to do.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR USING THE HARNESS:
- Show it to your child before getting on the plane.
- Talk to your child about how they are going to get to wear a big boy/girl seatbelt on the airplane (especially if you have flown with them in your lap before).
- Take something like a blanket or pillow to help them be comfortable when they fall asleep (and to keep their head from bobbing here, there, and everywhere.
- Take plenty of activities to keep them entertained (of course, you were going to do that anyway, right?)
- Shop around. I bought mine on amazon.com and found a cheaper price including shipping. aa.com also sells one but it is exactly the same thing and about $10 more.
I’m sure we’ll get our money’s worth out of this product because we have to fly to see family (or drive 27 hours). I learned that you can rent them if you don’t want to purchase one.
In the end…..it was SUPER easy and fast and hassle free. That gets it a 5 STARS in my book!