More Children Flying Safe with CARES
The summer of 2009 brought with it a slowdown in family air travel – but an INCREASE in the number of CARES that are being sold! As the word spreads that CARES is the only sensible way to navigate crowded airports, long waits in security lines, and to keep kids safe in planes, more families become CARES users every day. We have now passed the 40,000 mark in CARES sales! Curious, we asked our retail sellers what they do to promote CARES, and they told us that parents come into their stores already knowing about it – and just ask for it! You CARES– users must be doing a good job telling your friends!
The Website Takes Another Leap
Websites seem to have a life of their own…they need nurture and freshening. The CARES site, www.kidsflysafe.com, is no exception. Check it out if you haven’t been on it in a while.
Where to Buy CARES – Help us Know
The “Where To Buy “ page is now the most frequently visited page on our website. We outgrew our simple “list of stores”, and now you can find the store closest to you that sells CARES in two ways: by entering your zip code, or by distance from your home. Even if you already own a CARES, please check the “Where To Buy” page , and let us know if we are missing a store near you that should be selling it.
Unfortunately, we have a problem with a fraudulent website in Australia: “kidsflysafe.com.au”. This website is NOT authorized to sell CARES and does NOT have CARES to sell or to deliver in Australia or anywhere in the world. The Only authorized site for the purchase of CARES in Australia at this time is Littler Gulliver: www.littlegulliver.com.au.
Special Needs Breakthrough
Early-on CARES was discovered by the parents of kids with special needs. If the child was in the 22-44 lb weight range for which CARES is certified, and if the child’s health provider/physical therapist agreed it provided sufficient support, CARES was often a solution to making travel much easier for these families. It meant they no longer had to make arrangements in advance to bring a special brace on board and deal with complicated installation.
Then families asked us what we could do for special needs kids who were over 44 lbs. We spoke to the FAA about how to accommodate these youngsters, and after intense review of the way in which airplane seats perform in turbulence and abrupt landings, the FAA recently approved the use of CARES for a young girl with cerebral palsy who weighed over 70 lbs and was 4 ft 11 inches tall , on condition that she be in a seat with no one sitting behind her who might need to brace against her seat back.
Simply translated, this means sitting in front of the bulkhead of any section of an airplane – most typically, sitting in the back row of the aircraft. The FAA provided an “exemption letter” to the family, exempting her from the regular height-weight restrictions associated with the CARES child restraint, which they may use going forward on any US certified airline any time they fly.
In the last few months CARES has won additional recognition and awards from technical and parenting organizations to add to its already long list, including The Dr. Toy’s “Best Vacation Product” and “10 Most Socially Responsible Product” awards; and the “2009 National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval”. You can see the logos strung out along the margin of this page.
Remember to Carry Your In-Flight Documents When You Fly
Unlike the early days of CARES, we get very few complaints now that flight attendants try to keep parents from using CARES. Most flight attendants have been through annual “update” training that includes CARES – probably several times by now. But we do get the occasional complaint, so best to be prepared: First, know where the FAA certification tag is on the red loop; Second, always carry a copy of the FAA website “Child Safety on Airplanes” in your CARES carry bag. This short document can be downloaded from the “Inflight Document” section of the kidsflysafe website. (place link here to the inflight documents) Finally, if there is still a problem, insist that the flight attendant check the Flight Manual that is in the cockpit of every plane and updated annually. It identifies CARES as an FAA certified child restraint that parents have the right to bring on board for their kids.
In the International Sphere
As you know, CARES is certified by the aviation authorities of Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand in addition to the US. You can use it on any plane certified under the jurisdiction of these countries, no matter where you fly to or where you fly from. Also, we continue to hear from parents that they have used CARES with no problem on nearly all the airlines of Europe and Asia. The notable exceptions that we know of are Lufthansa, Aer Lingus, and ANA, which continue to deny parents the use of CARES. Please keep us up to date on which international airlines you have used (or been denied the use of) CARES.
Thanks for helping us “get the word out” about CARES. We look forward to hearing your stories about flying with the family , to receiving photos of your kids in CARES to post on our website, and to learning from you which other stores we should be in!
Louise Stoll, Managing Director, Kids Fly Safe, LLC (and the grandma who invented CARES).