I hadn’t realized how few safety precautions are available for children in-flight until my daughter was four months old and she flew for the first time. Realizing as we sat down that there was absolutely no seatbelt or harness available, I was scared to death for the flight and the prospect of turbulence as we flew. Because babies of that age require more than a mere seatbelt to keep them safe, the idea of having absolutely no straps securing her was shocking.
Under the age of two, children are not required to purchase a seat when flying and instead can ride in the same seat as their accompanying adult. Aptly called “lap babies”, these children can fly on domestic flights at no cost with an adult who has purchased a seat on the flight. On international flights, these “lap babies” only pay a small percentage of a ticket price, which is usually around 10%. As a family who travels regularly, the cost savings is really hard to pass up, especially as the cost of airline tickets is often very much out of your control and oftentimes outrageously high.
Even if sharing a seat is often inconvenient, it’s really the only way we can afford jetsetting so often as a family, so I was so excited when I found the Baby B’Air Flight Safety Vest, a safety harness designed for “lap babies” to wear while flying. Since safety is obviously the highest concern, finding a harness or vest that could let us all ride comfortably and safely made it possible for us to justify traveling with a “lap baby” so often. The design is a simple; slip-on vest that goes over baby’s head and fastens under her arms. A second strap fastens between baby’s legs so she can’t wiggle out of the vest during the flight and a third strap is looped through the airline lap belt to properly secure even a tiny baby while in flight.
The Baby B’Air Flight Safety Vest can be worn after take off, and protects the child should the plane experience turbulence mid air. This allows the parent to nap, have hands free, or play with the child without having to worry that a sudden movement of the plane could cause them to lose grip on the baby. I found I was much more relaxed while flying, which made the experience that much more enjoyable for all of us.
When baby was young, I was pleased with how much freedom of movement the Baby B’Air Flight Safety Vest offered. There was enough slack to allow me to hold her in a cradle position and nurse, or to turn her so we could interact on the plane. As baby got bigger, the Baby B’Air Flight Vest was a bit more restrictive, which I thought was absolutely great. Baby could actually stand up in our laps while wearing the Baby B’Air, but couldn’t wiggle into other passenger’s seats or away from us.
The Baby B’Air Flight Safety Vest is actually quite soft and flexible and baby seemed comfortable even on long international flights in her vest. She has worn it since she was 6 months old and has actually gotten really used to wearing it and doesn’t fight it or try and wiggle out of it. Much like the car seatbelt, which kids understand is required to ride in an automobile, baby seems to understand that she needs the Baby B’Air to fly and doesn’t mind a bit. In fact, I have found it has the opposite effect you would imagine, and actually makes it easier to contain her in-flight. Because she understands she is strapped in, she doesn’t try and get down from our laps to walk or play.
The one issue we have had with the Baby B’Air was that during one flight baby was able to wiggle enough in her vest that she had the straps of the vest twisted up and was then able to undo the seat buckle on hubby’s seat with the Baby B’Air strap. While this seemed to be an isolated incident, considering we have used the vest on numerous flights and never had a problem before or after, it might be helpful to attach the Baby B’Air on the side away from the seatbelt release during your flight.
Benefits of using a Baby B’Air, facts taken from the Baby B’Air website:
- 90% of injuries on commercial airplanes occur during the flight and not during takeoff and landing.
- Lightweight and easy to store compactly in your carry on luggage.
- Tested to exceed FAA standards for aircraft seating so baby is held secure, allowing the parent to relax, sleep, or have a hand free during the flight.
- Check out this YouTube video and you will see why I was so scared. Thank goodness the video is animated, my heart can't take a re-enactment.
- Hand-washable 100% cotton is soft and flexible.
- Trademark color identifies Baby B’Air to the flight crew and tag on back explains its use for any flight crew that is not familiar with the device.
Looks: Red and safe
Overall: I would definitely recommend the Baby B’Air for anyone traveling by plane with an infant. I wouldn’t leave baby unsecured in a car and now I will never have to in the air, either.