When flying who doesn’t feel sorry for the exhausted-looking mom or dad dragging a gigantic car seat down the plane aisle? If that mom or dad has been you and you’re a frequent air traveler with kids, you may want to consider the CARES infant harness.
We shelled out the $75 for this tiny little contraption and for us it’s been money well spent. There’s a great demo video on the company’s website but, in a nutshell, the harness converts the adult lapbelt into a 5-point harness for children between 22-40 pounds and in their own seat. The harness is small enough it can literally fit in your pocket. No more schlepping a heavy car seat down another concourse.
Here’s the Kids Go Global rundown of the harness.
What We Love About CARES
- Small, compact, lightweight
- Very easy to use – it just slides over the back of the seat and then the lapbelt slides right through it.
- You know your child is safe in case of turbulence
- It leaves the seat free so, once in flight and the seatbelt sign is off, your child can stand on the floor and use her seat as a platform for toys or coloring. Not so with a carseat
- It’s FAA approved for all aircraft, although you may want to print off the documents on the company’s website in case of a skeptical flight attendant. We encountered one who had not seen it before but thankfully she thought it was wonderful.
The Downsides You Need To Know
- The harness is not a substitute for a car seat in any other kind of vehicle. You’ll still need a car seat at your destination but at least with CARES you can check the car seat or borrow one at the other end.
- It’s not as comfortable as a car seat, especially for a child trying to sleep.
- Once the flight is airborne, you may find your child does not want to stay in it. Grace fought so hard she was able to slip her arms out of it and we finally gave up and let her get out of it except for when the captain turned on the fasten seat belt sign. A child may be content longer in a car seat since they’re used to it and it’s comfy, but on a long enough flight little ones are going to want to be free. At least with CARES the seat is free to be used in other ways as mentioned above.
- At $75 it’s probably only for families who travel a lot. We saw some for rent on ebay which would be a good way to go if you’re not sure how much you’d use it.
Overall we give CARES infant harness two thumbs up. It makes boarding and deplaning so much faster and easier, plus we can get through the airport faster without a carseat in tow.
Have you tried CARES? What’s your take on it?