CARES Fall ’11 Newsletter

October 7th, 2011

The National Transportation Safety Board Speaks:

Last December, just before millions of families traveled to rendezvous with relatives and friends over the holiday vacation, The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), America’s “watchdog” over mass transportation, held an all day conference in Washington DC on traveling safely with children. The entire morning was devoted to safe airplane travel for kids, the afternoon to automobile travel. Facing the audience and guest speakers, were two automobile seats and one airplane seat – all with life size child manikins sitting in them. One “child” was in a car seat, one in a booster seat, and the “child” in the airplane seat was in a CARES child aviation restraint!

Leaders from every facet of the aviation world spoke. Opinion strongly favored (1) eliminating lap kids (they can become missiles in severe turbulence – a danger to themselves and others) and (2) urging parents to bring appropriate safety restraints for kids in airplanes. The hundred pound gorilla in the room was: “Why aren’t airlines required to provide an equivalent level of safety for traveling kids as they do for adults? After all, they are required to hand out extender belts for really huge people who otherwise couldn’t buckle their seat belts!”

The NTSB would have EVERY flying child in an appropriate safe seat, but that agency lacks the authority to mandate this – only the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) can require the airlines to provide the child restraints. And so far they haven’t.

We at Kids Fly Safe and AmSafe Aviation – the company that manufactures CARES – were proud to be acknowledged as the team that has brought the only FAA certified child aviation restraint to market. Some 90,000 CARES are out there now, many serving not just one family, but the neighbor’s kids, the cousin’s kids and the nursery school kids.

Advances for Flyers With Special Needs:

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 airplane 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 22-44 lbs for all phases of flight. So, just book your flight, carry your 1 pound 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 FLYER LARGER THAN 44 LBS AND TALLER THAN 40 INCHES?

If so, and if CARES provides sufficient upper body support (check with your physical therapist or physician) you can still use CARES.

For these older/larger children (up to age 18) there is a one time process to follow that requests “exemption” from the standard CARES height and weight limits. It is important that you submit your request as soon as you can, as it can take several months to process – although often it goes more quickly as the FAA is very receptive to providing this help. For the application go to: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2007-0001-0001 and click on “Submit Comment”.

If you need further assistance, contact nancy.l.claussen@faa.gov

You will receive a letter on FAA letterhead that states that you may use CARES for your child on any US airline, as long as the child sits in a seat where no one behind him/her would have to brace against the seatback in the event of turbulence (effectively, this means the row in front of the bulkhead – the last row of any section of the plane). This FAA “Exemption” letter should be retained by the family and carried with them whenever they fly. No need to make special arrangements with specific airlines – all US airlines are required to respect this FAA “exemption”. Just book seats in the last row, install the CARES on any seat in that row, and have a safe, comfortable trip with your family.

Once this permit is granted you don’t need to repeat it when you fly again.

The History of Child Restraints

All 5 chapters of “The History of Child Restraints” are now posted on the www.kidsflysafe.com website. Kids are a lot safer when they travel now than they were in the days we bobbed around and wrestled with brothers and sisters on a mattress in the back of the station wagon! Of course, airplane seats in those days didn’t even have rigid backs and folded over if you leaned against them!

Where did You Use CARES?

We love to hear from our users….how your trip with CARES went ? What international airlines greeted you and your CARES warmly – and which gave you a hard time?

Where did you Buy Your CARES?

When CARES first came on market nearly 5 years ago we sold only over our website. Now we are in hundreds of stores across the US and Canada, and in many other countries. The “Where To Buy” page of www.kidsflysafe.com website remains the most frequently visited page on the site. Check out our international expansion, including a new UK “Landing Page” to the website. This month we will be adding Poland and Israel; last month we added Ireland and Hong Kong; the month before, a Dubai distributor who will service much of the Middle East. Our first Australian re-seller, Little Gulliver, has expanded into a distributor for stores selling CARES in Australia and New Zealand. And in the US and Canada CARES can be found in “brick and mortar” stores in most states, and on lots of websites.

So Where Else Should We Be?

Anyone know a good store in the Bahamas or in India? Or right around the corner from you? Let us know! And remember to think of CARES as a holiday gift for a family on the go!

Regards, Louise Stoll,
Managing Director, Kids Fly Safe