Galley Gossip: Best invention for kids on the airplane – CARES

After reading all the responses to my post, Ivana Trump Harasses two little kids on a flight, I can not believe how many people think that kids do not belong on the airplane. Some people even suggested that airlines create a kid section, like a smoking section in a restaurant. While I, too, get annoyed when there’s a little stinker sitting behind me screaming his head off and kicking the back of my seat WHILE the parents do nothing, not all children (just like not all adults) are trouble makers in flight . In fact, I’d say most children do just fine at 35,000 feet. I know my little one is a fantastic traveling partner. Can’t say the same thing about other people I know.

The kid, my kid, and I just flew from Los Angeles to Honolulu. That kid, the one up there in the photo, the one that causes worried looks during the boarding process, only to be complimented for being such a good boy while deplaning, has traveled about once a month since he was three months old. The kid loves going to the airport with mommy. Mommy hasn’t always loved going to the airport with him, not with all the stuff that has to be dragged along on the flight. Until now.

If you have kids you already how difficult it can be traveling, especially when everyone aboard the aircraft is giving you the evil eye, and your kid hasn’t even done anything wrong! Taking along the little one can be very stressful, especially when you’re lugging all that stuff that’s going to entertain the kid. (stickers, crayons, books, the DVD player, all of it!) Trust me, I know it’s a lot to carry, along with a kid and a thirty pound car seat, but you need it! Please tell me you didn’t forget it?

Good news, people, traveling with children doesn’t have to be so bad. Move over Sit-N-Stroll (the worlds best invention ever for kids under two years of age) there’s a new product in town – CARES. CARES stands for child aviation restraint system. According to the Kidsflysafe website…

it’s designed specially for airplanes and is FAA certified as having an equivalent level of safety to a car seat for all phases of flight. CARES is manufactured by AmSafe, the foremost manufacturer of airplane seatbelts and other safety restraints. Best of all, CARES weighs only 1 lb, fits in a 6″ carrying case, fits all airplane seats and takes a mere 1 minute to install.

Now I’ll admit, I had used CARES once before, when my son had just turned one (the age you can use CARES), and that flight from Los Angeles to Dallas did not go so well for us. In fact, I swore I’d never travel again – with him. The kid kept scooting all the way down in his seat so that his head was the only thing leaning against the seat back. When he did finally straighten up, the last twenty minutes of flight, he didn’t look too comfortable sleeping with his chin against his chest, so it was back to the SIT-N-STROLL for us. Man oh man, I loved that thing, while it lasted.

Now that my son is two, he’s bigger and stronger and can walk by himself. That means I can ditch the stroller. And he listens when mommy tells him to sit still, to not kick the seat in front of him, to not bang on the tray table, to not touch the call light, to not run around the aircraft, to not act like…well…those kids sitting behind us! Since he no longer needs to be in “lockdown”, like the kids sitting behind us, CARES works magnificently.

I used to dread traveling with my son. It didn’t matter where we were going. The whole packing the diaper bag, getting to the airport, carrying the car seat through security, getting situated on the airplane, just so we can do it all over again routine just about killed me. Thankfully things have changed. Let me tell you, it’s so much easier to travel with a young child when all you have to do is bring along a few toys and a pair of straps that come in a bag that the kid can carry, that kid actually wants to carry all by himself!

“That’s my bag,” he says, the lightweight blue bag dangling over his shoulder.

“That’s right!” I say, as we zip through the airport, onto the airplane, no problem.