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CARES for Travel - A Review

...and by CARES, I'm actually talking about CARES, the FAA-approved safety harness for little tots (like Little L) to use when flying the friendly skies without a car seat. We aren't big fans of lugging our huge Foonf on board, but since our tot is now older than 2, she requires her own seat and must be properly secured for take off, landing, and whenever the pilot turns on that d@mn seatbelt light.

Anyway, the CARES harness works by adding an additional strap to their chest, and also works in tandem with existing lap belts on the seat. The set up takes approximately a minute, and usually airlines let us pre-board because Little L is still young. This usually gives us enough lead time to install the thing before the plane fills up.

We've owned our harness for a year, but it wasn't until this past February when Little L was actually old enough to use it. On our return flight from Edmonton (a little over an hour in length, plus boarding and deplaning time), Little L sat in her seat the entire flight. Yes, it was only a short flight, but still. She sat by herself in her own seat using the CARES harness, and she didn't complain. *happy dance*

Granted, it was a bit tricky when Little L wanted to nurse. I had to loosen my own belt such that I could turn my torso towards her (she was in the middle seat), and use the back of her seat to brace myself while she suckled away. Massively awkward positioning, but still worth it for her to not be constantly on my lap (or Hubbs')! Also, if my boobs end up sagging down to my knees when she weans, I am totally going to make her pay for my future boob job! ;)

We plan to put CARES to the test when we fly out to Maui in October. The flight is nearly 6 hours, so I don't expect Little L will be in her seat for all of that time. That said, I do think that she finds the harness less restricting than her Foonf belts, so I don't anticipate that it will be a huge struggle to keep her seated for good chunks of time. And if she has weaned by then, all the better (well, sort of. I have mixed feelings about her weaning, but that's for another post)!

Buckled into her CARES. The gray belt is Westjet's. The black shoulder belts are from the harness.

PS - We have never flown or traveled with the Foonf; we have always had one in Edmonton and one in Van. However, we are totally buying a Wheelie bag for Maui and taking the ginormous car seat with us, because we would still rather deal with the hassle of bringing it (and paying for extra luggage), than the bigger hassle of renting a car seat that she will hate, adjusting all of the straps to make it fit her, and figuring out how to install it into a rental car.


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