Source: Kidsflysafe website, the inventor of CARES. At what age can a child use CARES?
There is no minimum age limit for using CARES, however, a child must meet the minimum weight requirement of 10 kgs, and be able to sit “front facing” to use CARES. Can CARES be used on the very back seat of a plane? Will the wall interfere with installation?
Yes, CARES can be installed on seats in front of a bulkhead wall. There is plenty of room to position and adjust the red webbing loop around the back of the seat. Does CARES have a crotch strap? Won’t my child slide down without one?
CARES does not have a crotch strap. This is because the FAA was concerned that given the particulars of aeroplane movement the strap itself could cause injury. In their testing the FAA found that if the CARES straps and the lap belt were tightened securely, slipping beneath the belt is not common. With that said, children grow and develop at various rates including the ability to sit upright, unassisted, which is necessary when using CARES. You can determine what’s best for your child.
Sometimes it is helpful to use a thin piece of rubberized mat or sink liner to place underneath their bottom. You can also try putting a bolster (or rolled up jacket or towel) under the backs of the legs. This helps bend the knees and can also help prevent them from slipping down. Why does CARES have height and weight restrictions?
That’s a good question and one we get fairly often. The reason for the height and weight restrictions is the FAA’s concern that with a heavier traveller attached to a seat back, the seat would tilt forward more quickly in a short stop, causing the person behind the seat not to be able to brace himself. (Airplane seat backs are designed to “give” a few degrees when pressure is applied with bracing.) So the FAA placed the height and weight restrictions to make sure that all passengers would be covered in the event of an emergency. Does CARES provide as much protection for my child as a car seat?
Yes. In rigorous dynamic tests conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), CARES, a totally new harness type child safety device, was certified as an ELOS – Equivalent Level of Safety –to a car seat. It is the only harness type child safety restraint that the FAA has certified. What are the upper weight and height limits for children to use CARES?
The upper limit of the CARES certification is 20 kgs and 102 cm tall. Can CARES be used during take off and landing?
Yes. CARES is certified by the FAA for all phases of flight: taxiing, take off, turbulence and, landing. Kids Fly Safe joins the FAA in urging all passengers to remain “buckled in” whenever they are in their seats. This applies to children using CARES Safety Harness.
In addition; "Turbulence can happen at any time without warning, so keep your child belted in as much as possible. If the child wants to get up and move around, let them do so only if the seat belt sign is off." (CASA website; Safer Air Travel/travelling with children/seating). Do you have to buy a ticket for a child to use CARES?
Yes. A child must be in his/her own seat to use CARES. Note: Airlines require all children age 2 and older to have their own tickets and to be in their own seats.
If there is room on the plane and your child is one year old, weighs over ten kilos then you may be allocated a seat free by the airline. If this happens you may be able to use the CARES without purchasing a seat. Can CARES be used in Business class and First class seats?
CARES fits on virtually all Economy, Business, and First Class seats. The CARES red loop will extend to a circumference of up to 157 cm (62 inches). If you will be flying on an airline with extra large seats or a sleeper seat, you may want to check with the airline to see if CARES will fit.
CARES should not be used on a seat equipped with an airbag. Do I need permission from my airline to use CARES?
Technically no. The CARES has been certified for use by CASA (Australia), CAA (New Zealand), CAA (United Kingdom), FAA (USA) and TC (Canada) for use on all airlines registered to those countries. Because CARES is a new product and is a unique harness-type child safety restraint, some airline personnel may not yet be familiar with it. If you have any concerns check with your airline prior to travel. Does CARES affect the operation of the tray behind the child’s seat?
No. Ensuring that CARES did not adversely affect the functionality of the tray was an important FAA criterion for certifying CARES. The tray is lowered only while the red webbing loop is adjusted around the seat, and then is closed and locked in place, covering up the CARES loop. CARES does not affect the functioning or use of the tray.
In some older style seats found occasionally on small planes, the tray fits into a plastic cavity with recessed sides. In these the CARES red loop, when pulled taut, could prevent the tray from closing securely. In this case, the CARES loop should be installed around the seat and OVER the stowed tray for taxiing, take off, and landing.
See FAA Advisory Circular 120-87B “Use of Child Restraints on Aircraft”, which can be found in the “In-flight Documents” section of http://kidsflysafe.com/instructions/in-flight-documents/) Can CARES be used for children with special needs?
CARES is being 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. What if my special needs child is over the 20kgs weight and 102cm height limitations?
- The standard CARES child aviation restraint is suitable for children up to 20kgs and approx 102cm tall.
- The standard CARES has been accepted for use by CASA (Australian aviation authority) and the majority of Australian based airlines. The Airlines reference CARES directly or indirectly on their websites in the Child Restraint Device policies. See our Airline Travel Policies for more.
- The US inventor of CARES has advised that the standard CARES harness can actually fit a flyer up to 4 foot, 10 inches tall (147cm) and 80lbs (36kgs).
- For flyers outside these parameters, a Special CARES is available (coming May 2013 to Little Gulliver) that has longer shoulder straps to fit adult size flyers taller than 147cm.
- When using either the standard or special CARES and being above the standard 20kg/102cm parameters, the traveller needs to be seated in the rows directly in front of bulkheads to ensure there is no seat behind theirs. This would then allow the CARES main red anchor strap to be set up at the appropriate level for their height and not impact any traveller behind.
- The main challenge in using either the standard or Special CARES for larger travellers will be asking the airline for approval, having this noted on the booking and ensuring a seat immediately in front of a bulkhead is allocated.
- There should be no need for the airline to assist in the setting up of the unit when onboard.
- We’ve been told that the CARES harness is a better fitting and less bulky unit than the traditional special needs harness the airlines allocate. Other airline harness units for special needs tend to be aimed at adult size flyers.
- The Airline customer service teams may need to be pointed to their own Airline web policies on the use of certain Child Restraint Devices and this can prove to be frustrating at times. CARES is a unique device, the only harness of its type fully tested and approved for use on aircraft and so they may be unfamiliar with it.
- The US CARES manufacturer also states the following on their FAQ page. It is based on US regulations, but may help explain to staff how CARES is being used globally:
If your special needs child is over the weight/height limitation for which CARES is currently certified, and your child’s medical advisor thinks CARES is an appropriate restraint, you can request an “Exemption” (from current regulations) from the FAA so you can use it.
Larger special needs travellers who are granted this exemption will be seated in the last row of a section of the plane, so no one sits behind the child who might brace against that seat. The FAA exemption will be valid on all US airlines. Who manufactures CARES?
CARES is manufactured by AmSafe Inc., the foremost manufacturer of airplane seat belts and other aviation safety restraints. (Next time you’re in a plane, turn over the buckle on your own seat belt and chances are it was manufactured by AmSafe.) CARES uses the same industrial-strength materials and is designed to the same engineering standards as all AmSafe safety equipment. What is the CARES warranty?
CARES is warranted by AmSafe, Inc., the manufacturer, to strictly conform to the requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration, with respect to child aviation safety restraints, and that it complies with the product specifications provided by AmSafe. AmSafe’s warranties apply for a period of one (1) year with respect to webbing, and three (3) years with respect to hardware, after delivery. Warranty questions should be referred to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Customer Service at 800-299-6249. How do I clean my CARES harness?
CARES Safety Harness may be cleaned to remove dirt and unwanted oil and grease. This helps the Harness to last longer and prevents corrosion of the metal parts. Hand-wash the webbing with cold fresh water and a mild soap (household dishwasher liquid soap or laundry detergent) You may use a sponge or gently scrub with a soft brush if needed. Dry the Harness in an area that has a good flow of air. Do not dry the Harness in sunlight or near any source of heat.
Clean the hardware with a lint-free cloth moist with isopropyl alcohol. Use caution to avoid contact with the webbing material.
CARES Safety Harness MUST NOT BE MACHINE-WASHED. NO SOAP OR WATER IS TO BE USED ON METAL PARTS.
THE HARNESS MAY BE DRY-CLEANED. HOWEVER, THE WEBBING WILL LOSE ITS ABRASION-RESISTANCE COATING AFTER EACH CLEANING AND ITS SERVICE LIFE WILL THEREFORE BE DECREASED. Can I use CARES in my car?
Absolutely NOT. CARES is NOT certified for use in automobiles and does not work with a three-point (shoulder) harness. NEVER TRY TO USE CARES IN YOUR CAR. What should I do if I am challenged when I try to use CARES for my child?
If the airline personnel are not familiar with CARES, show them the FAA certification label sewn onto the red CARES loop. You may also want to print out relevant airline travel policies
.What countries have certified CARES outside the USA?
CARES has been certified by the UK (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales), Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Switzerland and Oman. Airlines registered in these countries permit CARES.