CARES Safety Harness

I recently purchased and used a CARES Child Aviation Harness for a trip with my 19 month old son. The restraint is a great way to secure your child into the aircraft seat when you are not traveling with a carseat, or your carseat is checked luggage. The restraint is designed for use for children over the age of 1 and weight between 22 and 44 pounds.

The restraint loops over the top of the seat and sits behind the passenger tray table. The two shoulder straps connect to the seatbelt strap. At 18 months and about 24 pounds, my son was comfortably held into his seat. We were flying on Southwest Airlines and the restraint fit the seat well. Southwest seats have a bit of a curve to the back of the seat. This prevented the strap from wrapping flush to the seat and caused the strap to hold my sons head a little bit forward. It looked was not perfect, but it was much better than traveling without it.

CARES is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and was recognized by the flight crew on our flight. It was certainly not the first time they had seen it. I was concerned before our flight that this may be new to them, but it was not. The harness weighs about 1 pound and rolls up to fit nicely in your carry-on luggage. It comes with a storage sack.

The CARES Harness requires the child to have their own seat, so this does not help lap-seaters in any way. The strap is visible to the passenger in the row behind yours, as it wraps around the seat and tucks behind their tray table. It did not disturb the passengers behind my row. They were traveling with small children as well and were more intrigued than anything else.

I recommend CARES as an alternative to bringing your child’s car seat on the plane. For less than $70 on, give it a shot and post feedback in the comments section below when you return from your trip.

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