Kid friendly travel products for your upcoming summer vacation

Taking the kids with you this summer? As exciting as the plane or car ride may be, eventually your little ones will become bored, and some may start playing that fun game called “kick the seat”. The products in this lineup may not all be designed to entertain your kids, but they can make your own trip a little more enjoyable.

Trunki is probably the most kid friendly luggage on the market. As you can see from the photo, the luggage looks pretty cool (if you are under 10 that is). Kids can pull their own suitcase through the airport, but it is also sturdy enough to sit on and be pulled by their parents. The cases are available in several bright colors.

Price: $49.95
Where: Most major online luggage retailers

iFrogz Tadpole case + headphones

The Apple iPod is perfect for kids – it has the ability to keep them quiet for the duration of an episode of Dora, Diego or <insert their favorite TV show here>. Of course, with $300 in electronics comes the risk that they’ll drop it. The iFrogz Tadpole kit is designed to protect your iPod, and consists of a silicone rubber case with large handles and a pair of kid friendly headphones.

The case is designed for the iPod classic (all sizes). The headphone have a standard jack, so you can also use them on the in-flight entertainment system as a better fitting option than the headphones provided by the airline. The headphones also provide some basic volume reduction, to keep their little ears safe.

Price: $14.95

CARES harness

Fellow Gadling blogger (and Flight attendant) Heather Poole mentioned the CARES harness last year, and it really is the kind of product you just need to invest in if you plan to fly with young kids. CARES straps around the back of your seat (you’ll have to ask the person behind you to help out if they are already in their seat), and once installed, it provides a secure way to strap your little one in.

The product is FAA approved, and the official FAA child safety page even uses a photo of a CARES harness in their briefing. The best part of the product is that it is becoming pretty popular, which means you won’t run into any flight crew member who hassles you over using it.

Price: $74.95

Plane clean air

Plane Clean Air may seem like the perfect product for the hypochondriac, but after the recent swine flu scare, it may make more sense than ever. Plane Clean Air is a small device that attaches to the vent above your head. Its built in filter blocks up to 99.5% of bacteria, viruses and germs.

It obviously won’t filter germs coming from fellow passengers, but given the speed of the air coming out of the vent, any way to clean that a little more is pretty neat.

Price: $19.95 + $6.95 for replacement filters


Zoombak is the high tech equivalent of a long leash – the device incorporates a GPS receiver and cellular phone in one compact unit. Zoombak is small enough to be attached to a child, stroller or even a dog, and can send you an alert any time the device moves outside a predetermined “zone”.

In addition to this, you can track its location at any time using a web browser, or through a text message on your mobile phone. One of the accessories in the Zoombak lineup is a small pouch with a clip, making it easy to clip the unit to a backpack or belt loop.

Price: from $99 + $9.99 monthly subscription fee
From: and many online retailers

Heys Disney luggage

Nemo, Cars, Pooh, Tinkerbell, Mickey, Minnie, Princess
Price: from $55
From: most online luggage retailers

Sarahbelli “Tray Bien Kid”

The Sarahbelli “Tray Bien” is a tray table mounted pouch, with plenty fo space for the kind of stuff you’ll need to keep your kid(s) entertained during your flight. The product is great for storing stuff, and it doubles as a place mat, to prevent getting crayon all over the table.

Price: $39.95

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.