Child Airplane Travel Harness – Cares Safety Restraint System – The Only FAA Approved Child Flying Safety Device

Child Airplane Travel Harness – Cares Safety Restraint System – The Only FAA Approved Child Flying Safety Device

Now there is an easier, better way to fly safe with kids. Just carry a CARES in your pocket or purse, install it on the airplane seat in one minute, and turn any airplane seat into a safe airplane seat for your child. CARES (child aviation restraint system) is the first and only FAA approved harness type child safety device. CARES is an innovative restraint for kids 22 44 pounds that attaches directly to the back of the airplane seat and augments the regular seat belt. CARES weighs 1 pound, fits in a 6″ stuff sack and is FAA certified for all phases of flight – taxiing, take off, turbulence and landing. CARES fits all size airplane seats and takes one minute to install. CARES takes the hassle out of flying with kids and keeps them as safe as a car seat.

Main features

  • Safety harness designed specifically for aviation travel
  • Compact fits into 6 inches stuff sack weighs just 1 pound
  • Easy to install takes less than 1 minute
  • Adjusts to fit almost every size airplane seat
  • Designed for children 1 year and older weighing 22 to 44 pounds and up to 40 inch tall
  • Compact fits into 6″ stuff sack weighs just 1 pound
  • Designed for children 1 year and older weighing 22 44 pounds and up to 40″ tall

Verified reviews


Works Well, Travels Light!

This nifty device takes the place of your FAA approved car seat for those times when you are flying with a tiny passenger. We’ve used it on a couple of trips now and it really works great. Here are some main points to consider based on our experience:Pros:
• Compact and Light: Before getting this device, my wife and I brought along our Britax Marathon carseatBritax Marathon 70 Convertible Car Seat, Onyx (I)onto the plane to secure our daughter, age 2 (at that time). Being the behemoth that it was, we also brought aboard our strollerMaclaren Quest Sport Stroller, Black/Champagnejust to hold the carseat. And, of course, the kiddie go bag with toys, books, wipes, etc. All this, and we haven’t even gotten to the luggage yet. Laden as we were, we looked for all the world like a Himalayan expedition as we boarded the plane. Enter the CARES system. This little collection of straps weighs about a couple of pounds, stows in its own bag, and easily fits into your carry-on bag. What!? Yes, it’s a dream for tiny traveling humans and their parental charges. Most importantly, though, it is…
• Effective: This device is FAA approved but most importantly, it keeps your small loved-one safe. What it does is mimics the harness system found on most carseats: Straps come down over the shoulders, and have a sternum buckle that latches over the chest. The bottom of the straps that come over the shoulders have loops on the bottom to accommodate the airline seat belt straps. For many tiny passengers, this is a huge improvement over wearing a lap belt alone. my little Houdini could wriggle out of her lap belt in about 10 seconds, flat It is adjustable and works well to keep your toddler-sized fellow traveler safe and snug.
• Quality: The materials, from automotive-quality nylon webbing to aircraft-style buckle, are all top notch. The stitching is clean and tight and the whole thing is built to last. Included on the strapping itself are pictogram instructions on how to use it and even a ‘belongs to’ sticker so it can find its way back to you if you leave it on the plane. A very clear instruction card is also included, which fits into the carry sack along with the strap system. Mine also came with an instructional DVD, which was a super way to orient myself to the system and practice before the craziness of the whole toddler-air-travel thing.
• Value: I think this is reasonably priced. Yes, it could be cheaper, though I don’t begrudge the maker a reasonable profit that – given the seeming lack of competing alternatives on the market – doesn’t strike me as being overly large.
• Stress Relieving: Yes, I had peace of mind knowing that my daughter was safer in her seat because of this device, but what I am really talking about is not having to wrangle a bulky, heavy carseat onto the plane, attaching and removing it from the cramped coach class cubby that masquerades as a seat, and then hauling it all the way from the plane to baggage claim – all the while keeping track of your overly-excitged toddler. Nightmare. Toddler-traveling-parents, you know what I am talking about. My wife was actually able to travel with my daughter using this harness and didn’t need medication after the trip. Priceless!Cons:
• Limited Capacity: One downside to this device is that it is limited to a relatively narrow range of toddler: under 40 inches in height and between 22 and 44 pounds. How they came to those numbers is a mystery, but that’s what the label says. Also, they need to be able to sit upright on their own. So, within that range, you are set, but depending on how fast your child grows, you may not get a lot of use out of this.
• Challenging to Use: Potentially. Given that you need to strap part of this around the entire seat, you will need at least some understanding, if not cooperation, of the passenger behind your child. Depending on the configuration of the seatback tray, that may be impacted by the strap. My take on this is, if you are already a savvy carseat user, you’ll have no problems with this apparatus; if your carseat’s straps give you fits, so likely will this.
• Not Universally Perfect: This is not a perfect device. With some airline seats that are made of pleather and have the ergonomic values that a piece of granite would admire, your child will be just as likely to slide inexorably toward the floor as without it: Unlike a carseat, this strap system has no crotch strap. there just isn’t any way of making it with one So, depending on the seat, what your child is wearing, and his or her wriggle index, this may be an issue.Final Thoughts:While this is not the perfect answer to safe air travel with your toddler, it is a very good and effective effort and should work well for most. Even with its limitations – and assuming my child is still within specs – I consider this a vast improvement from dealing with the carseat. I know my wife does, too. This is the best system I’ve seen and consider it money well spent. It is well thought-out and executed, instructions for use (labels, instruction card, instructional DVD) are outstanding, it is safe and tested, and it remains the best alternative to a full-size carseat I’ve come across. Five stars from our personal experience.

Karla Miles, TX

I don’t like it…

We bought this for a trip I was taking by myself with my large, 34 inch tall 16 month old. I installed it correctly and put my son in it. It was very easy to install, but the red strap that fits around the seat was directly behind his head, making him keep his head forward. Also, as another reviewer stated, the chest strap was right under his chin, which I feared would decapitate him in an accident. Because there is no middle strap between the child’s legs like in a carseat, they do slide down and the chest strap is literally at their neck. I even brought drawer liner with us and put it under my son’s bum to keep him from sliding out, but it didn’t help.Lastly, the airplane seatbelt (we flew on American) didn’t get tight enough to really keep him in place. He’s a large child and at 26 pounds is way over the minimum weight of 20 lbs. I cannot imagine using this with a smaller child.I ended up bringing his carseat on with us and using that on the flight back. I will be selling my CARES and getting this instead for next time.Go Go Kidz TravelMate – Black/ Orange

Lillie State Park, SC

If you read only one review, read this one…Product works VERY well.

Just took my 1-year old on a 1-hour flight with this. Worked out very well. I’ve read the other reviews…ignore them. Here’s the reality:YOU HAVE TO PRACTICE A FEW TIMES AT HOME FIRST! Get a dining room chair. Practice strapping the seat strap, adjusting the over-the-shoulder straps, and learn how to buckle both the center chest strap and pass the seatbelt through the bottom loops. (Use a surrogate for the belt – i used the belt I wear every day to stand in the place of the airline’s seatbelt). Do this 5 times. Then try it with your child in place. Took me 30 seconds once I got good at it.It works FINE on both a closed and open tray table. I tried it both ways, as I pre-boarded first, and experimented at the back of the plane with him while everyone else fought for their seats up front. Simply open the tray table behind the seat, loop the strap around, tighten until it is snug, and close the tray table. If it is a VERY recessed tray table, it takes only a little force to get it to latch…remember, these airline tray table latches aren’t hardened steel…they are plastic, and have a lot of give.My child is normal size. The seatbelt section worked easily, tightened well. Only problem was with the snugness of the over-the-shoulder straps. I got them pretty much to their max tightness, but there was some wiggle room. Nothing to worry about. He would have been angry anyway if I got them very tight. If you have a very tiny child, you might have a concerns. If your child is gigantic, this will work. It can handle the biggest of the big.He never slid out of the bottom, even though there was no between-the-legs strap to hold him in place. The worst thing that happened was that he tended to slump to one side, which annoyed him at times. Just had to prop him back up.Takeoff and landing was simple. He never moved, slid, etc…Takeaway: Practice at home first. Take a seat toward the back of the plane to give you plenty of time for setup (won’t be a problem, as all airlines allow families with small children to board in the first third of all passengers). Be an attentive parent during the flight. Keep your child occupied with a toy, food, whatever…Adjust the straps as necessary. Take them out a couple times during the flight, stretch them out. Common sense stuff!Lastly, BE REALISTIC about what this is meant to do. I think it’s less of a safety device, more of a “try to corral your kid in the seat” device that allows travel without the clunky, giant car seat. It allows you to have an FAA approved permission-slip to sit your child comfortably in an airline seat, and gives the airlines an out if your child is hurt somehow during turbulence. “But he was in an FAA approved child restraint…not our fault!”. Everyone wins…4 Stars – I LIKE THIS PRODUCT! I would have given it 5 stars, but for the price (it is expensive), I couldn’t justify the best rating…

Erin Laurel, MD

Zero Stars if I could…DO NOT BUY, Your kids will get out in 1 minute

Read all the 1-2 stars first please. There is NO harness between your child’s legs like a car seat…so DUH any child can slide down the seat and Bam they are out free to roam the cabin. So I have a hard time this being the ONLY APPROVED safety device (other than a car seat) when clearly has this design flaw. Trust me I have 2 toddler boy, tried this from Tokyo to DC…didn’t make until take off and they were out = horrible flight experience for everyone.

Clare Gridley, CA

Great plane seatbelt for little traveler

Rather than take a car seat onboard our flight with our 2 1/4 yr old, we took the CARES flight harness system. This FAA-approved flight harness is easy to use, light-weight (just one pound), takes up little room in your carry-on, and was worth every penny! It also arrived promptly following my online order from Amazon/Magic Beans.I “practiced” with CARES with my daughter at home prior to our departure so that she would have an idea of what to expect on an airplane. Kids this age are accustomed to be securely buckled into many things (car seats, strollers, grocery store carts), and she has no idea that all the adults on the plane just use a lap belt, but I wanted her to be familiar with the buckle-in procedure for when we boarded.To practice at home, I used one of my husband’s belts as the “airplane seat belt” and I set our daughter up in a dining room chair. She only sat with it on briefly, but it gave her the idea of how it worked (she tried buckling herself, too), and it convinced me how easy it is to install this once you are on the plane. (To round out our dining room inflight simulation, I also set up her with earphones and a video on a computer.)Once on the plane, we installed CARES and got her buckled in. She was thrilled to be on the plane with her now-familiar seat belt, and even told other boarding passengers who passed to “buckle up!” We used CARES in a total of four flights without a glitch.CARES is designed to provide your small child with additional safety during a flight, since lap belts are insufficient restraints for small children. As an added plus for parents who are relieved once their kids are strapped in a car seat and can no longer “get out,” the harness also just kept our child more securely in place than a simple lap belt; she could move somewhat but couldn’t wriggle away.I would highly recommend the CARES flight harness system to my friends and to all parents traveling with young children (22-44 lbs, up to 40 inches tall) who want their child to safe inflight and who do not want to lug a car seat onboard each flight and through the airport. We will be using it on our next flights!If you have questions about this product, visit the product website […] – lots of useful information and other user reviews.

Aimee Seaboard, NC

Product fits perfectly on a first class seat.

I was super concerned about purchasing this product for our 15 month old after reading reviews about airplanes not accepting the restraints and a review on Amazon about this not fitting on first class seats. We were on 2 different airlines with first class seats, it fit perfectly. Our toddler did not slip out, though we were careful to adjust her if she started sliding. It was our first trip with our toddler and we did not want to lug a heavy car seat all over creation. It worked brilliantly. We can’t recommend it enough.

Merle Pismo Beach, CA

So much better than bringing car seat

Like the title says, so much better than bringing a car seat. We took our almost 2 yo on a trip from the west coast to Pittsburgh, with one connection (~6 total hours of plane time) and I don’t think this added any discomfort to the flight for her. She was also able to sleep a little bit while strapped in, though it didn’t look very comfortable to me. The bag is a nice touch.

Rene Takotna, AK

Useful product

I used this for my 18 month old on a recent flight. This restraint is very easy to use and other passengers were very cooperative about letting me put it behind their tray tables. One of the flight attendants was interested too as she had never seen one before. Since it was more like a carseat I think it helped my son understand he needed to stay put (although we didn’t keep him strapped in the entire time). The only negative is that for younger children a crotch strap or panel similar to how a baby carrier would be would be useful. All of the seats on our flights were leather which meant they were slippery. Even with the lap belt tigtened all the way my son kept slipping down in the seat and getting uncomfortable. I also wondered how secure it would really be in an accident given that he could slip so much. An easy solution would be to bring a small piece of non-slip fabric like you use under a rug for your child to sit on to help them be more comfortable.

Margret Salisbury Center, NY

Not for skinny children

We have this for our 2 year old, and have used it on a few flights, as it’s easier than taking an entire car seat. It was recommended by a few friends who love it. However, I don’t love it. It doesn’t work that great with my 2 1/2 year old. He’s about 28 lbs, but is tall and skinny. No matter how tight I adjust the straps, my son slides out the bottom every few minutes and I constantly have to sit him upright in the seat during take off and landing. There needs to be some sort of crotch strap or something to better keep the skinny ones upright in their seat.

Sophia Marston, MO

good in theory

The concept of this product is great. The only problem is in order for it to be truly effective you have to block the tray table of the person sitting behind your child. Otherwise the red straps sit well above their head. I returned it.

Ida Burnt Ranch, CA

Didn’t work

I bought this for a plane ride I was doing solo with my son (15 months) – he screamed the entire time I had it on him but once it was off it was off he sat perfectly with just the seatbelt – the idea is good but I’m not sure if it’s worth the money if you don’t end up using it…

Nannie Hamilton, MA

Immediately improved our flight experience!

Started using CARES harness when my son turned 2 (no longer a lap-child). It simulates the feel of a carseat, so my son was happy to sleep through the flight. It’s fantastic and is FAA approved for the ENTIRE flight. (Fly with the info card that proves it to rebut overzealous flight attendants.)Regarding the "sliding down" effect — I never had this problem, but the harness is surely designed for older kids, who can hold themselves upright. Young kids may slide.Regarding the installation and tray tables/tvs –Never had a problem on any airline I’ve flown. The TV is usually at the top of the headrest, not where the harness should be installed. Just reach over the seat, lower the tray table attached to your child’s seat back, install the harness and close the tray. The person behind won’t even know it’s there.ProsComfortableEasy to AdjustEasy to CleanEasy to installEasy to packMakes safe flying easierSafeSturdyConsnot for infants

Tammi Kulpsville, PA

Perfect for anyone who travels!

I travel frequently with my toddler, when he reached the age for his own seat I wanted to make sure he was safe, but I couldn’t drag his car-seat. A friend recommended this strap system to me and I have been in love ever since. This package came with a nice carrying bag, so I throw it in our carry on and we get on the plan I quickly hook it up and he’s secured in his seat. I feel better knowing he’s safe, and he can’t move all over the place. A must have for anyone who travels with children!

Guadalupe Chester Springs, PA

Highly recommended

I now own two of these harnesses for my two and four-year-olds. We fly a lot and this is our best trick by far. At first I used a small square of non skid shelf liner and it helped, but my 4yo doesn’t need it anymore and my 2yo seems just fine. Yes, they can slide. But I have wriggly, rambunctious kids and neither has ever been unsafe or able to escape. This helps soothe them in the plane seat. They know all about being in a car seat, and this mimics that feeling. I cannot imagine dragging a car seat through the airport and trying to fit it in the airplane seat. My bigger child wouldn’t fit for sure and he needs the harness to stay seated. I would buy this harness over and over again.

Faye Tracy City, TN

So much better than dragging a carseat on the plane

I flew for the first time with my 2 year old and 6 month old and really didn’t want to drag my 2 year old’s massive carseat along now that he can’t stay on our laps. This harness made the air travel so much easier. It has visual instructions right on the seat belt, which I was able to figure out pretty easily even though I didn’t think to read them until we were all on the plane and trying to get buckled in. It’s the same 5-point harness as a carseat, so my super rambunctious son didn’t think it was strange at all to be buckled in since it was just like in the car. You fit the top loop around the seat, so you need to have the person in the seat behind you lower their tray to get a snug fit. But all in all, it takes maybe a minute or two to set it up.It seemed very secure. We had a rough landing on one flight and while I was lurching forward when we touched down, my son was securely in place.

Sharron Durant, OK

Very helpful!

I got this with the intention of using it maybe once and possibly returning it. That’s not going to happen. It was very easy to install (I watched the included DVD just to make sure that, yes, it really was that easy). Had no problems getting it on the plane or getting my daughter to sit in it or stay there. It felt safe and was more comfortable for her–and me too, because her car seat usually took up some of my seat too. So nice when having to transfer, especially because I have another child which means another car seat. He is not tall enough yet or I’d have one for him too.It has become quite popular with some of my mommy friends and they borrow it for flights, too. Always have good things to say and nobody has ever had a problem with the airline not allowing it (I called Southwest in advance and they said as long as it was FAA approved, they were cool with it, I’m not sure what other airlines it has been on).Well worth the money considering the amount of sanity and energy I have saved by not carrying a giant and heavy convertible car seat.

Maritza Orange, VA

Sliding down in seat

This was handy when we didn’t want to bring our car seat on the plane for our son. Was very easy to install, easy to get him buckled in, etc. He did keep on sliding down like other reviewers have mentioned, so it was really only good for take off and landing. He definitely couldn’t sleep with it on, so we just used the lap belt for that when there was turbulence. Him sliding down was really the only issue with this, but it was a major one since we couldn’t just leave him belted in.

Kathy Noxapater, MS

Did not work

We purchased this product for our then 18 month old. It was a little too big and uncomfortable for her as it kept nipping her in the neck. We ended up just buckling her in her seat. Also, we were originally seated in the row in front of the exit seat row and we were told we could not use the product in that seat because it would obstruct the exit, so we were moved up a row. Maybe it would work better with an older child.

Petra Oak Grove, AR

Not good for a one-year-old but will be better later

Our one-year-old is just too small to understand what is going on and struggles to free herself from this. It’s not really too large for her physically, but I think it works better for older kids.

Ines Downs, IL

Good for older toddlers

I flew with my 3, 2, and 9 month old on two different flights in the same day– we were all dog tired and these harnesses made things a lot easier than I thought! Traveling alone, I didn’t have a lot of space and there was no way I was going to lug car seats and juggle toddlers and a baby at the same time– I shoved these harnesses and a few diapers and hot wheels into the two toddler backpacks and made them carry them through the airport (which was easy because the harness is lightweight). We were boarded first (Praise the Lord) and I was able to attach the loops around the seats while holding baby in a baby carrier– that said a lot! With a baby in a baby carrier and the really tiny space of the airplane, I was amazed at how easy they were to attach to the seats! My toddlers fit really well in the harnesses and I put some car seat fabric wraps around the sections that touched their necks to make it more comfortable. The only complaint I would have is that my 2 year old did not want to be in the harness for the second flight and was able to wiggle a little bit out of it. She would slip her head under the neck opening, but it wasn’t hard to get her back in. Overall, they served their purpose 🙂

Bobbi Milton, DE

Really saves energy and space

I bought this when I was making a trip across country on my own with an infant and my 2yr old. I didn’t want to, nor would I reasonably be able to, lug a car seat on & off the plane while carrying 2 littleones and my carry-on. This was a good deal for me. It was easy to put on, easy to take off, stored well, and made my life much easier. I only wish that I had a neck pillow for when my 2yr old fell asleep. The straps pressed into his neck. I also wish there was a way to have a strap between the legs. Overall, I am happy & will use it again.

Lesley Grand Cane, LA

absolutely won’t travel without this

I can not tell you just how much we honestly love this product. We bought this after our son kicked the seat in front of him repeatedly one flight. This keeps him from being close enough to the seat back in front of him and he also finds this more comfortable. We recently brought his car seat on board for a red eye thinking that he would find the car seat more comfortable to sleep in, but he was really upset to be in his car seat and wanted to be in this instead. On the return flight we checked the car seat and used this and he had a much easier time getting comfortable. The only complaint we have ever really had was that this is not a 5 point harness so if our son is particularly squirmy then he can get out at the bottom of this as there is no strap between his legs.

Claire Pacific Palisades, CA

Works OK with Virgin America planes

I’ve used this on Virgin America flights (Airbus 320). The molded design of Virgin America seats require that the horizontal strap has to go OVER the tray table of the passenger sitting behind the child. If someone is sitting there they won’t have use of their tray table.It’s still a lot less trouble than hauling a car seat on board, though. I’d still recommend one if you’re trying to pack lightly. It’s relatively easy to install and quick to remove.As for concerns about the child slipping, I cut a small piece of a non-slip rug pad and put it under my daughter. No slipping!

Penny Logsden, OR

Really Easy Travle Harness for Airplane travle

Simply a must have if you travel a lot with your kids. It is really secure, really easy to operate. The only "down side" is that you need to get in your seat before the people behind you, because you need to lower their tray table before you put this on. Onec it is set up you can raise the tray table, and they won’t notice a thing. This is WAY easier than bring on a car seat… will never do that again.

Lina Galway, NY

Yes, it is not perfect, but better than just the airplane belt

My son is now a little over 2 and we fly A LOT. He is gold already on our airline program. Carseats are the best thing your child can fly on, but once they are older and the carseats are bigger it becomes a pain in the *** that said CARES is your second best option. Just because during take off, landing and turbulance they are better secure. YES THEY SLIDE UNDER. Especially the young ones that don’t sit still for very long. But again you will use it for many years when the child won’t slide anymore.I gave 3 stars because I think it is a little overpriced and could have something in between the legs to help younger ones stay in place. If you do fly a lot it is worth it, if not, I wouldn’t buy it.

Adela Littleton, CO

Great to Secure you LO’s on Flights

This is super great! We have used this several times when flying with our toddler. No need to bring the carseat on the airplane anymore. Easy to set up take down, and it fits in the small outside pocket of our carry-on.

Roberta Huntsville, AL

Incredible Product

I fly cross country with my son A LOT. We started using this product when he was about 18 months, after a horrible experience lugging a car seat through the airport. This little beauty rolls up neatly, installs to the seat quickly and my son has no more complaints than he does sitting in his regular car seat.The only down side is you have to ask the person behind to lower their tray to install. Everyone is more than happy to help, but after realizing they will be flying 6+ hours with a toddler, and me asking them to lower the seat, they will look at you like you’re crazy.

Marsha Shippenville, PA

So easy but some challenges can happen depending on kid

This was waaaayyyy easier than lugging a car seat on our trip with us. So light weight, so easy to just stash in your diaper bag. I was really nervous about disturbing people putting it on and taking it off, but that turned out to be no big deal. As another reviewer pointed out you can take the last seat on the plan or pre-board if you’re nervous about this. But I found I could put it on so quickly, no one had time to get bothered or, in one case, even notice me installing it.The only draw back is the airline seat belt buckle it connects to is far easier for a child to open than a car seat buckle. It only happened to us once but it did result in a little melt down when I buckled her back in. Still, that was far less aggravation then lugging a car seat thru security and around the airport. I will use this now every time.

Noemi Leesville, LA

Best thing ever!

Very simple to install once you are on the plance. You do have to get the person behind you to lower their tray while you set it up, but I’ve usually done it before that passanger even shows up to their seat. I found the restraint to be effective at keeping my daughter sitting down on the plane. First use was when with my daughter (at 15 months); she was able to relax and nap on plane. She will not relax and nap when held in my arms. In comparison to hauling a car seat into the passanger cabin, this device is much easier to carry through the airport and onto the plane. Highly recommend.

Diana Vienna, VA

Loved this

I last flew with my two children. One was old enough for this harness and the other was under one, so we brought a carseat. This was, by far, the easier to use! We loved it, my 3 year old daughter was comfy, I just told her it was like a carseat strap to keep her safer and she was fine. I rented mine through a popular auction site, but I think before our next flight I will just buy one for my little guy, who will be big enough by our next trip!

Dora Malcom, IA