(Publishing this review is long overdue…)
After flying 91,144 miles as a lap baby in his first 2 years, Lucas took his first flight in his own seat back in January 2014 (during our trip to Norway). He got some more experience flying again in his own seat in February during our Quick Euro Roadtrip, Our Visit to Malta & Milan and on a bunch of other trips since in 2014.
Although we did bring our car seat on Lucas’s second trip we didn’t bring it to Norway or want to bring it on the flights. We figured that his car seat would be a pain in the butt, taking up precious space instead of giving us extra space due to our third seat.
We were hesitant to have Lucas secured with only a regular airplane seatbelt so we started to look into other options. I had seen a couple of solutions at stores in the past but didn’t think much about them until now.
I had seen and read about the CARES Harness and planned to pick one up for Lucas…
Thanks to Kids Fly Safe for providing us with their CARES Harness for review!
When the CARES Harness arrived I was happy to see that it was lightweight and even came in its own drawstring storage bag. I didn’t want to have more heavy and bulky items to add to our list of things so this wouldn’t be much of a problem.
The CARES Harness is actually a pretty simple device. If you look at it in the photo above, you’ll see that all it essentially does is add a shoulder and chest strap on to the existing plane’s seatbelt. Pretty genius if you ask me.
Once we got the harness, Kim and I both looked it over, read the instructions and watched the instructional video on the Kids Fly Safe website. We wanted to be extra prepared when installing the harness.
I immediately saw one thing that worried me. To install the CARES Harness you need to lower the tray table of the passenger sitting directly behind your child’s seat. I hoped that we wouldn’t have a grumpy passenger that would give us a hard time when installing or taking off the harness. (During all of our trips using CARES, this ended up not being an issue at all.)
Installing the harness for the first time took a couple of minutes but it wasn’t really so difficult. The biggest pain was adjusting the straps to the desired spot. Once we got the CARES Harness in place, it didn’t seem to bother or effect Lucas at all. He seemed to be comfortable and I’m guessing that it probably reminded him of his car seat buckle.
Removing the harness was even easier. All we did was politely ask the passenger behind Lucas to lower their tray to remove it. Nobody seemed to mind and some even offered to help!
Having Lucas in the CARES Harness definitely made us feel much more comfortable with having him in his own seat. I would think that using just the provided buckle could be dangerous if we hit any rough patches of turbulence.
The CARES Harness kept Lucas secure in his seat with his body in place as opposed to slumping over if he only had a waist belt.
There are only a couple of things that I didn’t like about CARES.
- It fit so well and blended in with the airplane seat buckle, we almost forgot to take it a couple of times! (OK, well that isn’t really their fault!)
- When Lucas wanted to get out of the seat he tried sliding down a bit and there isn’t any strap between his legs to keep him in place. It would be nice if there was some way to add something to help with kids from potentially sliding/ squirming out this way. I’m not sure if this is something that would be an easy fix or is even possible to add.
Overall, we found the CARES Harness to be a great product. It was easy to install, taking no more than 2 minutes and Lucas seemed to be comfortable (and much safer) during the flights.
If you’re planning to travel with a young child, I’d definitely recommend picking up a CARES Harness.
The Cares Harness is Suitable for all children:
- Between 22 & 44 lbs
- Up to 40 inches tall
- Sitting in own seat
The CARES Safety Harness costs $74.95, not cheap but well worth the price for your child’s safety and the convenience it provides.
Find out more about CARES at Kids Fly Safe.