I want to tell you about this ingenious invention for airline travel. I have a 2 year old and a 10 month old. We live in Chicago, my parents live in Toronto, my husband’s parents live in South Carolina and our siblings are all over the place. We are inevitably on a plane for every holiday (Canadian and US) and what seems like a couple of weekends a month. There are two concerns for me when I travel – how to keep my kids entertained and in their seats, not easy for a fidgety 2 year old boy. And how to not look like I’m climbing to the top of Mount Everest with all of the gear that I need to bring for them.
I made a promise to myself that I would not be one of those people juggling 500 things with screaming kids while out in public. The screaming out in public is of course going to happen the odd time. The 500 things I’ve totally taken care of by being completely streamlined about what I pack, and only packing what I can carry myself. I have so far done 3 trips alone with the kids and managed just fine. I pack one backpack with everything we need on the plane, my 10 month old goes in the baby bijorn and my son goes into the Maclaren umbrella stroller (which I now need to go and get those hinge covers for). I have one wheelie bag with all of our clothes for our trip. I wear a funky necklace and chunky elastic bracelet that keep my 10 month old entertained and bring lots of snacks for our 2 year old.
The best invention that I have come across is a seat belt harness for the airplane – Child Aviation Restraint System (CARES); it is FAA approved. My challenge with my 2 year old on the plane was that he quickly figured out how to undo those airplane seatbelts and was always wanting to stand up, push the call buttons, bump the seat in front of us and was being a big distraction to the other passengers who really didn’t think it was cute. This seatbelt harness is very similar to what he is used to in his car seat and it actually makes it so that he just sits there. Its awesome! Mind you, I have to do songs and dances, read books, watch movies etc but at least I know he’s not driving everyone around us crazy. And the bonus of it all is that its primary purpose is for safety, so my son is safe without needing to lug the car seat onto the plane (which some airlines won’t let you do). We have been renting cars in some locations and most rental car companies have infant and toddler car seats (Hertz does anyway) and my parents kindly bought a toddler and an infant seat which means we never need to bring our car seats when we travel, which also means I won’t be climbing Mount Everest anytime soon.
(photo taken from the kidsflysafe.com site)