What if I am challenged by a flight attendant when using CARES?

May 25th, 2012

If U.S. airline personnel are not familiar with CARES, then let them know that the CARES restraint is an FAA certified CRS (child restraint system) and show them the FAA approved label. You may also want to print out and bring the following documents which can be downloaded from the “In-Flight Documents” page of this website as well as documentation you find on the airlines website:

  • FAA website “Child Safety on Airlines”
  • Updated FAA Advisory Circular 120-87B “Use of Child Restraint Systems on Aircraft”, issued September 17, 2010

Keep in mind that flight attendants and the airline industry are trained using industry jargon. The industry term for CARES (and car seats) is Child Restraint System (CRS), or Child Restraint Device (CRD). It is always best to use this terminology when referencing your CARES restraint since all other child harnesses are prohibited from use during taxi, takeoff and landing.

CARES is the ONLY FAA approved harness-type restraint. CARES is an “aviation-only” approved child restraint. It is certified with an ELOS (Equivalent Level of Safety) by the FAA. CARES does not meet motor vehicle safety standards and can’t be used in motor vehicles.

With all that said, it is up to the flight crew to attend to the safety of all passengers on board the aircraft. It is best not to argue with them – even if you are correct and you believe they may be misinformed.

Numerous international aviation agencies that have accepted the use of CARES as an acceptable child restraint based on the FAA approval standards. However, outside the U.S., it is up to each air carrier (or airline) to determine which child restraints are acceptable on board their aircraft.