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 www.abilitations.com.

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

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.

Find your closest public toilet

Here are the details of a website and some apps to allow you to find public toilets right where and when you need them. Great for travelling, especially with the young ones who often cannot wait.

The search option provides handy access to public toilets within direct proximity (and across Australia)!

Detailed information such as opening hours, whether showers or baby-changing facilities are available, accessibility features and much more are provided as available to help you make your choice.

Website

https://toiletmap.gov.au/

Apps

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/show-loo-only-toilets-in-australia/id299496509?mt=8

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/national-public-toilet-map/id323279108?mt=8

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dgsd.android.publicToiletFinder&hl=en

CARES for Special Needs Kids

If your child has a disability that requires hauling a brace to provide upper body support in an aeroplane seat, you know what a hassle it is to make arrangements months in advance with the airline.

Are you Flying with a child who has Special Needs?

If your child has a disability that requires hauling a brace to provide upper body support in an aeroplane seat, you know what a hassle it is to make arrangements months in advance with the airline. And you have to do it again before each subsequent trip! Check with your child’s physician or physical therapist to determine if the CARES child aviation restraint provides sufficient upper body support for your child. If it does – no more having to make arrangement weeks or months in advance with airlines because CARES is already certified for kids 10-20 kilos for all phases of flight. So, just book your flight, carry your CARES on board in your pocket or purse, install it on any seat in one minute. And know that your child is secure for taxiing, take off, turbulence and landing.

Is your Special Needs Child larger than 20 kilos and taller than 1 metre?

If so and if CARES provides sufficient upper body support (check with your physical therapist or physician) you can still use CARES. In the USA, the FAA has approved the use of CARES with special needs children as long as the child sits in a seat where no one behind him/her would have to brace against it in the event of turbulence. Effectively, this means the row in front of the bulkhead – the last row of any section of the plane. Australian CASA guidelines generally reflect those of the FAA. So if CARES is suitable for your child – remember to book the last row and install the CARES on any seat in that row.

For more information:

We have found CARES has brought great relief and has been successful in making travel easier for many Australian families with a special needs child. Remember though, CARES does not have a crotch strap which has meant it may not be suitable for some children. For more information or to discuss if CARES may be suitable for you, please contact us. We welcome your comments.

Please note, some information for this post was sourced from www.KidsFlySafe.com. And for more great kids travel items and purchase of CARES in Australia / New Zealand please visit our online store at www.LittleGulliver.com.au.