So our Make a Wish trip is coming up next month and there are about a MILLION questions I have. One of them is, "How the heck is Hailey suppose to fly on a plane if she can't sit up unassisted?" Well apparently that's a pretty good question because no one I asked that I thought would know the answer did. I don't know how often "medically fragile" children fly to begin with but everyone I asked responded with, "I don't know." I found out that Hailey's special needs car seat is not FAA approved and it's too wide for the commercial seat, so that's not going to work. I can't hold her in my lap the whole time. I could fly with my arm across her chest for 4 1/2 hours, but since I don't know when there might be a bump of turbulence that won't work. So. WHAT do I do?
I did some researching on the internet and came across this:
It's called a CARES belt.
Child Aviation Restraint System. Did you notice there is no E? Guess they couldn't call it a CARS? Here is an overview taken from their website www.kidsflysafe.com
CARES Child Aviation Restraint System is designed specifically for aviation use for children age 1 and older who weigh between 22 and 44 pounds. These youngsters are old enough to be in their own seats, but are too small for the seat belt alone to protect them and provide the safety they require during airplane travel. Their bodies cannot withstand the jolts that are common in routine air travel, much less emergency situations, and they flail forward or slide beneath the seat belt if they are not held securely in place.
Each year more and more young children fly. But until CARES came along, what was missing was a convenient, hassle-free way to keep young flyers safe. Here’s what makes CARES such an invaluable travel solution:
- CARES is the first and only harness type Aviation Child Safety Device to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as an alternative to a car seat.
- CARES is an elegantly designed belt-and-buckle device that works in conjunction with the regular airplane seat belt and provides young travelers the same level of safety as a car seat.
- CARES weighs just one pound and fits into a 6″ stuff sack! It is easily portable, simple to install, adjustable to every size airplane seat, and usable on any window or center seat in the airplane, except in the emergency exit rows.
- Need your car seat on the other end of the trip? Just check it through as luggage – and carry CARES on board in your pocket!
CARES is manufactured exclusively by AmSafe
, the foremost manufacturer of aviation seatbelts and pilot restraints in the world. (Turn over your airplane seat belt buckle. Chances are it says AmSafe.) CARES is made of the same industrial-strength webbing as your own seat belt and is engineered to the highest aviation-safety standards.
In regards to using it for a child with Special Needs:
CARES has been used successfully by many children with special needs. Parents should check with their physician or physical therapist to determine whether CARES provides sufficient upper body support for their child. If your child is under 44 lbs (20 kg) and less than 40 inches (102 cm), no special arrangements with the airline are necessary – just carry the CARES on board and install it as directed.
So it looks like this is the way to go as far as I can gather. I am a preparer I have to have a plan. I don't usually like surprises, I am hoping all goes well.
We were able to fine a CARES belt here locally, but it was still VERY expensive, which is crap. It seems that anything that is for "Special Needs Children." Costs an arm and a leg and people like us have NO choice but to pay. I hope this thing works, and it's comfortable for Hailey and the airline doesn't give us any trouble. We shall see. You know I'll let you know how it goes.