Using a Standard or Special CARES aviation harness in Australia / New Zealand

The Standard CARES is pre-approved by most local airlines for children weighing 10-20kgs and up to 102cm tall and who are capable of sitting upright alone in a forward facing position. It can be used in most seats except Exit rows and where seats have airbags installed.

The Special CARES requires individual approval for use by each airline prior to flights and was designed for larger special needs flyers above 147cm tall.

When looking to use either CARES harness for a flyer above the 10-20kg/102cm range you are effectively requesting an exemption from an Airline’s standard Restraint Devices policy.

This normally starts with talking to the Airline customer service teams and explaining your particular needs and why you’d like to use the CARES harness.  Seek to have the CARES harness usage noted on your booking details.

Users seeking these exemptions should then be seated in the rows immediately in front of a plane bulkhead where no passengers are situated behind them. This allows the CARES to be set up at a taller height without impacting passengers behind.

Key Points:

  • The standard CARES child aviation restraint is FAA approved 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 listings here at Little Gulliver Airline Child Travel Policies page
  • The US inventor of CARES has advised us 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 also available (on request 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 row directly in front of a bulkhead to ensure there is no seat behind theirs. This then allows 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 flyers above 20kgs/102cm will be asking the airline for approval, having this noted on the booking and ensuring an ‘in front of bulkhead’ seat 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. The airline units tend to be aimed at adult size flyers.

The customer service team may need to be pointed to their own 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.


Can CARES be used for children 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 it does, parents need make no special or advance arrangements with the airline– just carry the CARES on board and install it as directed. Abilitations, a comprehensive catalog for equipment for children with special needs now carries CARES in their catalog, see

Can CARES be used for special needs children who are over the 44 lb weight and 40 inch height limitations?

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 youngsters 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.


Over the years we’ve had a number of Australian customers query the use of CARES for a special needs flyers and reach agreement with their airline that they will use the CARES.

Success appears to come down to how helpful the airline wishes to be and speaking to the right airline staff.

To purchase a Standard CARES please see the Little Gulliver CARES harness listing here

Please note the Special CARES is not available for general purchase.  It’s important to discuss an individual’s needs and ensure the right CARES is matched to your requirements.

Please contact Little Gulliver on 03 9824 6770 or email to discuss further.

CARES harness users

Travel with Children – Tips from the raising children website

The ‘raising children’ website is always a handy go to when you have your first kids. Travel is no exception – they have a great section on travel with children that is worth a look before your first big trip…

Motion sickness? Keep Chuckies on hand!

The first time we suffer from motion sickness is generally unexpected and therefore we are generally unprepared. I’ve learned my lesson!

Our family had a long car trip around 2 years ago, where even though we travelled prepared (with Chuckies in the glove box) I didn’t expect that 4 out of the 5 in the car would become sick. We used up all of our Chuckies in a very short period of time.

I often became car sick as a child. It would become worse on particularly winding roads. I was also affected on buses and boats. I’m fine now – or so I thought…Two years ago our family of five left for a long car trip, while I, in the passenger seat had a bit of a headache. Towards the end of the trip I woke up to find Google Maps had assisted my husband to find the windiest road in Australia for us to complete our journey (yes, he got a bit lost). I was ill very soon afterwards, followed by each of our 3 children. How organised with the Chuckies I thought! Soon, they were running low and I found myself clutching a few quite full bags.

Fortunately the Chuckies have an easy twist to close top, which keeps them both leak and smell proof. Without further detail, I am very happy with the quality of Chuckies and they have always done their job when needed!

Since then the team at Chuckies have added a moist towelette, ideal for quick and easy clean ups. And as they are water-tight, they can also be used for toilet emergencies, if needed, by little folk who cant hold on when out and about (not designed for this though).

I suggest when ordering your Chuckies you get some for home, some for the car and some for your suitcase. You never know when you are going to need them!

Available in store at Little Gulliver here.

CARES harness in Qantas Business and Economy Class

Sent: Monday, 14 July 2014 9:47 PM
Name: Fiona

Please can you confirm if this can be used with Business Class seats & do you know if it is approved for use on Qantas flights. Many thanks – Fiona


Hello Fiona,

Thank you for your CARES harness query.

Yes, we have customers using the CARES in both economy and business class with Qantas and most other local and international airlines daily. The type of seat restrictions we have seen in place are typically:

– CARES not to be used in Exit rows and
– no seats that have built in air bags.

The Qantas Child Safety Seat policy stating CARES is pre-approved for use onboard is located here:

If you have any concerns, we always recommend contacting the airline to confirm the seat configuration on your particular flight.

The key with business class seats is being able to access the rear of the seat to install the CARES main red anchor strap.

Qantas Skybed

CARES harness on Emirates

Name = Megan
Sent: Wednesday, 20 November 2013 3:21 PM
Comments = Hi there We are flying to Europe in December on Emirates. I am not clear if the CARES harness is acceptable by them? Can you please advise?


Hello Megan,

Thanks for your CARES harness query.

Yes, CARES is a suitable child restraint device (CRD) for use on Emirates. It is FAA approved and complies with the Emirates requirement:

“Child restraint devices (CRD) approved for use in aircraft only by any Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA), the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or Transport Canada may be used, if marked accordingly.”

FAA approval on CARES unit

The FAA approval is stitched onto the CARES unit and it also clearly states that the CARES is approved for use on aircraft. The diagram below shows where the FAA approval is stitched onto the main red anchor strap.

CARES FAA approval

CARES and Air Asia premium flat bed seats

From: Sarah
Sent: Monday, 16 April 2012 8:51 PM
Subject: CARES harness

I was reading about the CARES harness and was wondering if you know if it fits the Air Asia premium flat bed seats?


Hello Sarah,

Thanks for your CARES query, the Air Asia premium flat beds look very comfy!

We’ve not had any specific feedback on CARES being used in these seats but there appears to be no reason why they shouldn’t work.

The CARES is highly adjustable to fit larger and smaller children and different size airline seats including most of the new cocoon type economy and business seats. The key is having enough clear space to place the main anchor strap over the top of the seat and down to an appropriate level just above the child’s shoulders The diagram below appears to show there is clear space to place the CARES main red anchor strap.

Air Asia Premium Flat Bed

CARES installation diagram:

CARES in use diagram

(CARES red anchor strap will be installed approx midway down seat back and loops over the top of the seat.)

In bed formation, the CARES harness should still work and you will most likely need to loosen the shoulder straps to provide the extra length required while a child sleeps. The Air Asia bed format looks like this:

Air Asia Premium Flat Bed - reclined

(Place CARES anchor strap as low down as possible and extend the shoulder straps)

Cares harness flying with air NZ and Aer Lingus

Name: Jude
Sent: Tuesday, 6 December 2011 9:19 AM

Subject: Cares harness flying with air NZ and Aer Lingus
Message: Hi,I just purchased a Cares harness for long haul flight from New Zealand to Ireland with 2 children on my own.

I wanted to avoid lugging the bulky carseat around airports esp as I haven’t got the spare hands! Air NZ specify the cares harness but unsure of Aer lingus, where can I get a letter for crew if I come across any problems? Many thanks.


Hello Jude,

Thanks for your CARES query.

The best approach with Aer Lingus seems to be the approach followed by a customer recently on the USA CARES facebook page. Back in Sept 2011 they said they emailed Aer Lingus saying they were using the CARES and received the following email:

New Aer Lingus statement:
AMSAFE CARES harnesses are permitted on board, but not as the primary restraint. The harness must be used in conjunction with the aircraft seat belt.
Harnesses by other manufacturers such as CRELLING require special Irish Aviation Authority authorisation. This authorisation requires some extra time to arrange, therefore passengers who require such a harness should contact Aer Lingus special assistance; as soon as possible in advance of the flight. The make and model of the harness should be included along with details of any other particular requirements.

The CARES customer then received a further Aer Lingus email:

“And my final follow up-Received an email this morning from aer lingus stating CARES is permitted and that cabin crew have now been made aware and given instruction on how to use it. This is from the Aer Lingus head office in Dublin.”

It’s also worth noting that Aer Lingus are not very clear with their car seat approval process either and seem to leave it at the discretion of the staff on the day. This is from their website:

“Please be advised that with the number and variety of infant car seats available on the market it is not possible for us to guarantee in advance that any particular seat is suitable for use. In the interests of safety, Aer Lingus reserves the right to refuse permission for the use of certain types of car seats on the aircraft or during take off and landing. In these circumstances the infant must be carried on the adult’s lap (under 2 years) or in a seat using the standard lap belt (2 years and over). Safety is always our first consideration.”

We’d recommend taking a copy of our airline list (attached) that shows what our local airlines say on their website about the approved use of CARES. Also, try and have it noted on your booking that you intend to use the CARES harness. Also, show any curious airline staff the tag on the CARES unit that states FAA approval and “Approved for Aircraft Use”.

Hope this helps, have a great trip.

Little Gulliver

Top Ten Tips for taking the Kids to stay with your Parents

Those of us who live away from our parents often just don’t get to see them enough, particularly if your parents are older or ill and aren’t able to travel themselves. Once the kids come along, seeing your family can become all the more important. Unfortunately, at the same time, the travel to see them can become more complicated.

When this happens you may also find your family totally unprepared for the joy of pitter patter’s in their own home. In this situation it can pay to do some planning beforehand to ensure everyone is comfortable during your visit. Here’s some light-hearted tips and some thoughts from my own experiences to help get you on your way;

1. If travelling as a solo parent, have someone drop you off and pick you up if you can; having a helping hand at either end can be helpful while you are navigating toilet stops and luggage.

2. Discuss where the kids will be sleeping beforehand, with both your parents and the kids (if they are old enough). What your family have planned for you might be different to your preference. For instance, would you prefer the kids slept with you or you had a cot in or out of your bedroom? Kids sharing a room? Often its easier to have this sorted out before you get there.

3. Don’t be afraid to send a shopping list on to your folks, just a general list of any nappies, fruit, veg and cereals you and the kids like. grandparentsYour folks may be unsure what to get and will be happy to have an idea of things you like. It will make it easier than having to get out to the shops once you get there. Don’t forget to mention some treats too!

4. Discuss visitors. No doubt, if you don’t get home much everyone will want to catch up with you and the kids. See if you can limit the visitors or organise a weekend lunch or something with an open invite – otherwise you may find you’ll have visitors everyday. This can get hectic and you may not get to spend time with the ones you love most.

5. Try for an early night the first night. You may find you have slept with one eye open throughout your journey and need some catch up sleep. Also, don’t forget to take a book, you may find you cant sleep at all or are going to bed a bit earlier (maybe with the kids) so may get more reading done than usual.

6. If things get hectic and the kids are unsettled, don’t hesitate to put on a favourite DVD for older kids. Lots of new faces and travel can be tiring and overwhelming. You may be fussy about screen time at home, but a spot of Wiggles during a dinner your folks have organised may get you through.

7. Pick an outing you all enjoy and repeat.  There is a family restaurant and a park my kids go to with my parents and they look forward to going each time they visit – its creating some lovely shared experiences.

8. Look on ebay. If you parents don’t have much in the way of  kid activities at their home, look on ebay using your parents postcode. You may find something close to them they can pick up and have ready to play. We got some great push bikes and scooters for my parents farm for $5.

9. Pack wisely. Sounds silly really but it’s so hard to do. Pack so the kids have ample underwear and fewer outfits (things that can be worn a couple of times – this gets easier as the kids get older and less grubby).  I used to like taking “good” outfits for my kids (so they looked lovely and all) but in reality jeans and runners really do wash and wear easily. Lately I have been travelling in “nice” outfits that can also double for a special occasion if need be. I then keep it simple and they wear the same clothes home. And think about the climate and how comfortable you are likely to be. (My folks always warn me about how cold it is at their place in winter and to make sure we bring coats. In reality, we are living in a colder climate and tend to get warm at my parents house – even in winter! The coats don’t get worn and take up too much valuable packing space).

10. Don’t forget safety while you’re away, What is “safe” for some may not be for you. For instance, plan ahead for any carseats etc you may need.  See if family may be able to borrow some gear from a friend or hire what you need. If the kids are travelling in family or friends cars, check that car seats etc have been installed correctly and straps are at the right heights.  If you visit regularly, as we do, it may pay to purchase some car seats and leave them at your parents house. We have done this and keeps it simple for us.


So, you’ve saved up the cash, booked the time off and are ready to take the leap…have a great time and remember to take lots of photos!


A Quick Guide to Kids Carry-On Luggage

Finding the right kids luggage or suitcase is a fun challenge and driven by many factors such as the age of your child, where you’re heading and for how long.  There are hard cover bags, soft cover bags, 2 wheels, 4 wheels, no wheels, shoulder straps and even handle bars!

So to help with deciding what’s the best child luggage for your family, we’ve prepared the first of our kids luggage product guides – the “Kids Carry-On Luggage Size Comparison chart”

A Quick Guide to Kids Carry-On Luggage

See the complete Little Gulliver child carry-on luggage range here

Please contact us at for any assistance.

The Little Gulliver team

Lets Go Walking – Walking Harnesses Explained

Its easy to look at a toddler walking harness and shrug and think “I would never use one”! Times have changed and so, thankfully, have walking harnesses. When we started our business, we found baby and toddler walking harnesses were one of the first products people were asking for. For that reason, we have grown to now have one of the widest variety of child walking harnesses you will find on the Australian market.

Why do travellers use a child walking harness?

Quite simply, a walking harness could be considered when;

  • parents are wary of taking their child into an unknown situationwalking through the airport with a 2 in 1 harness buddy
  • parents are looking for a dual purpose item – something that can hold items while fitting the child comfortably
  • as a ‘piece of mind’ option for parents travelling alone with single or multiple kids
  • a parent is ill (or pregnant or with an elderly grandparent etc) and may not feel confident in bending to hold a child’s hand or being able to run after them if necessary
  • times when a parent doesn’t want to use a stroller, but are concerned about the environment the child will be walking in

We sold our first walking harness here at Little Gulliver back in 2008, giving us a clear understanding of why some families choose to use a toddler walking harness for travel.  At the time, I had a lovely long phone conversation with a  gorgeous British ex-pat mum. She was flying home to the UK (solo) with her newborn and toddler and had concerns about her 2 connecting flights. For a trip like this she felt a walking harness was a necessity – as she had to go through customs and security and felt their would be times she would have to take her eyes off the kids – piece of mind while away from home.

Where did walking harnesses originate?

I’ve always enjoyed reading how things originated. One of my favourites is the recent invention of “blue” for boys and “pink” for girls (did you know the boys colour used to be pink)? I also find the use of walking harnesses for children fascinating. I assumed they came about during this century, characteristic of a society where adults are becoming increasingly wary of kids and their environment (“don’t play in the dirt” etc).  But no, surprisingly, according to this research, they have been around for centuries! Check out the article Children’s Walking Harnesses / Reins. It seems they were very popular in London in the 17th century when the city became busier, more dangerous and crowded with horses and carts and the like.

What style of walking harness is available?

Wrist to wrist

Wrist Buddy
Dreambaby Wrist Buddy

If you’re not sure if you want or need a harness, maybe try a wrist buddy. Small enough to sit in your pocket. It is a slightly

Moose Noose toddler harness
Moose Noose toddler harness by Moose Baby

elastic harness which uses velcro to secure to the child’s wrist and has an end loop which can be held by the parent. Manufactured by Dreambaby, our friends at Travel With Tots did a great review here.

The Moose Noose is very popular. While its not subtle in its look, kids love the red colour and bendy cord. Depending on which side of the 80’s you were born, you could liken the cord to an old-style telephone cord. Its very secure and robust in its make. It attaches to parent and child via a velcro wrist band.

Walking and Sitting

dreambaby safety harness and reins
Dreambaby Safety Harness and Reins


The Dreambaby option is a basic chest harness with a loop style harness strap, which can also be fitted to a chair. It is small, so can be easily packed and has a more traditional style harness “look” to it.





Backpack with Removable Rein

Fluffy Bear - 2 in 1 harness buddy

The original Goldbug harness buddy is a classic and a lovable furry friend, popular the world over. It is worn like a backpack, with 2 chest clips for comfort and stability while wearing. There is a small pouch in the backpack (the size and shape of this varies depending on which style you choose). The “harness” is detachable, so the child can wear the harness buddy, with the harness strap stored in the pouch in case it is needed.

Another cute feature is that the buddy is facing the child’s back, so its kind of “piggy backing” the child, not looking behind them. Too cute!

Skip Hop Mini Backpack and reins


Another recognisable friend (that you may not have realised is a child walking harness) is the Skip Hop mini backpack with reins. It has a single chest clip for the child’s comfort and stability and a detachable rein. It also has a write on name tag inside and a side pocket for a small storage such as a drink bottle. It has all the features of a normal backpack – just in a mini size. The detachable walking harness has sturdy metal hardware.



We are constantly updating our range. So check back in store again soon to see the latest in walking harnesses at Little Gulliver  – Australia’s unique Kids Travel Store

  Whenever and where-ever you need an “extension of holding hands”, Little Gulliver has a specialised range of child walking harnesses to choose from and we’re always happy to help.