Air travel is quite the dilemma for most parents. It is a common problem to choose between a cares harness or a car seat. As a parent, I am looking for the best safety and security for my little ones.
That is why I am here to guide you in choosing whether a cares harness or a car seat is the one for you.
Why do Cares Harness and Car Seats Matter?
Traveling with my children is a daunting task! I know most parents feel this way altogether. We just want to ensure that our own child is in the safest space in the flight. And no, that is definitely not on your lap.
The best way to secure my child is by using a child safety restraint system (CRS) approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). There is no safer way than that, I promise you. And it is a challenging problem for me to decide between a car harness or a car seat as my travel companion.
Based on my research, we must consider the following in deciding what will work best for our child while in travel:
- Age of children
- Height and Weight
- Convenience for Air Travel
What is Cares Harness?
Regular aircraft seat belts are mostly not children-friendly. It cannot guarantee the same level of safety as a child safety restraint system (CRS) for my child.
Cares harnesses are specifically designed for air travel and are used conveniently for children between one to five years old. Children must be between the weight of 22 to 44 pounds and must be able to sit up front facing forward.
Cares harness is a good option for most parents like me. However, we need to see if this is the one for you as we move forward comparing car seat uses.
What are Car Seats?
A car seat is a must-have for new parents and a staple in my car ever since having my children. It is likely that you already have at least one car seat for your children like me. The car seat range comes in various sizes to fit your car with different specifications that answer your every need as a parent. However, we need to weigh down if car seats are also suitable for your air travel.
We have listed down some of the most common questions parents like you and me have in choosing the best CRS device for air travel.
Are Cares Harness and Car Seat Safe?
Car seats are the most common child safety device used in planes for most US parents. They are also FAA certified, which means they are safe and secured to use in most aircraft around the globe. However, babies are recommended to weigh up to 40 pounds to travel safely in a car seat.
While Cares harness also provides the same protection as a car seat certified as Equivalent Level of Safety (ELS) for air travel. So whatever one you choose, you ensure the safety of your children during your flight.
Why Should I use a Cares Harness?
Let us talk about cares harness specifications so that you can decide whether it fits your needs:
- It is the only FAA-certified device as an alternative to car seats.
- Cares harness is lightweight at only 11 oz. and can fit inside your pockets.
- Easy and convenient to install. It is also adjustable to every seat size of the airplane. It is recommended to be seated in the window or center seat if you prefer to use a cares harness.
- If you have children ages one to five years weighing at least 22 pounds to a maximum of 44 pounds, a cares harness is suitable.
- Certified by air authorities and international airlines from the US, Canada, UK, France, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, UAE, and Oman.
- Cares harness is also inclusive to children with special needs.
Why Should I Get a Car Seat?
Car seats are perfect for children weighing up to 40 pounds but are most secure for infant travelers. Since babies cannot sit upright, using a car seat appropriate for the toddler’s age is the best option. But also get the most comfort for your kid’s travel with different durable designs and styles you can choose from. Most importantly, you can use the car seat before and after your flight. Bring it anywhere from your airport, hotel, and throughout your trip. That is a plus point in my books.
Do Airlines provide Cares Harness?
Sadly, airlines do not provide child safety devices for our kids besides ordinary airplane seat belts. As a parent, I must make the right decisions to ensure my kid’s safety on the airplane, whether purchasing a cares harness or using my car seat in travel. Whatever decision I make, I am also mindful that making a fool-proof travel plan is vital for my family’s successful trip. I make sure to check in with the airlines about using a cares harness or car seats on the flight so that I can be guided accordingly. Don’t forget to buy extra tickets if you will be using a car seat or a cares harness, be sure to choose the window side as the most convenient place for children.
Cares Harness Vs. Car Seat: What are more Budget-Friendly?
I am a parent always looking to save a few bucks. And when I talk about being budget-friendly, there are different benefits to having either a cares harness or a car seat as a parent.
As I mentioned earlier, car seats are essential child safety devices not limited to airplane uses or air travel. Ever since the time I had my babies up until their toddler years, a car seat became a basic necessity for me. Even if car seats cost about $100 up to $250 depending on brand, design, and function, they are worth every penny.
On the other hand, the cares harness is budget-friendly, costing less than $100 for a standard and the special needs version. The difference in owning a cares harness is that it is designed specifically for air travel and can be used for my children as they grow bigger. Cares harness may only be a $100 device, but it checks all the bullets in my list for safety and security. This is also a good option for parents with children with special needs since a car seat is not suitable for them.
Pro and Con: Car Harness Vs. Car Seats
If you are still undecided about what CRS device to choose, I crafted a summary to guide you about the pros and cons of using a cares harness and a car seat.
|Safety and FAA Approved
|CRS Weight and Convenience
|Lightweight to Heavy
|Appropriate Child Age
|1 to 5 years old
|0 to 5 years old
|Recommended Child Weight
|22 lbs to 44 lbs
|Less than 40 lbs
|Less than $100
|$100 to $250
Can I Use Cares Harness in a Car?
A big NO. As I mentioned earlier, the cares harness is specifically designed for air travel only. Compared to a car seat, a cares harness does not have a three-point shoulder harness for safety. And also, it is not certified to be used in any automobiles making it inappropriate to be used in cars.
Other Important Reminders for Parents
Whether you choose a cares harness or opt for a car seat, one of the most vital things to consider is the compatibility and comfort of your children.
- Make sure to check the harness if it fits your child perfectly.
- Adjust the belts accordingly, and see if they are comfortably tucked in and not slipping.
- Cares harness does not have a crotch belt for different reasons. You can opt to add a rolled-up towel underneath the knees to prevent slipping.
- Check whether your car seat is in a proper position on the airplane seat, may that be facing forward or backward. Make sure to keep your little ones comfortable in the car seat and strapped in safely.
- Seat belts in airlines are often too short for car seats. You can request a belt extender from your flight attendant to strap your car seat in place.
As parents, we all know that traveling with our children can be challenging and sometimes frustrating. That is why I always try my best to choose the appropriate devices to help me get through a hassle-free trip with my family.
I hope that by making this guide on cares harness and car seats, you can weigh down on the pros and cons yourself. Choose what fits best for your family and make the best decision. Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all in ensuring safety and security while traveling with your family. Remember to enjoy your trip with your little ones.
Steph is a passionate mom who co-founded Wumblers to share her parenting journey with others. She graduated from Concordia University with a masters degree in Education Technology and worked as an advisor for many years. Steph loves being a mom and wants to have more kids.
Learn more about Steph and Wumblers here.