CARES Tips for Secure Fit

CARES Harness on Child

Planning on flying with a CARES harness? Worried about installing the CARES for a secure fit? Here’s our step by step guide for installation. The guide that comes with the CARES found here is great but when trying to quickly install multiple harnesses I wish I would have had a few more tips and pictures after watching the video.

Installation Steps

CARES Slack Tab pushed against tightening tab

Step 2: CARES Slack Tab – Close Up

Step 1:

Lengthen the part that goes around the seat and put it over. Lower the tray table behind you and position it right above the hinge on the tray table if you have a smaller child. With taller kids place them in the seat and position above the shoulders. Try to find a flat position on the seat as they tend to slide down more often if there’s a large gap between the front of the top strap and the seat.

Step 2:

Tighten most of the way as you’d expect. Rather than using the clip for holding up the excess slack slide it the opposite way towards the tab you use to tighten. Straighten the CARES and then tighten it as much as possible. I usually have to do this from the row behind and in general people are happy to help me if they’re in the seat already. Then slide the slack tab up next to where it tightens to prevent it from coming out. This is opposite from the directions but I find that it keeps it from loosening throughout the flight.

CARES Installed on toddler tight and above shoulders

CARES Install

Step 3:

Put the seat buckle through the loops and tighten is as much as you can. It should be pretty snug (although a few airlines seem to be looser than others). This particular step seems to prevent them from sliding submarining under the belt.

Step 4:

Adjust the shoulder straps to where they’re tight but don’t pull up too much on the lap belt. Basically, it should tug at it but not cause a big gap on the waist. Then buckle the chest clip. We’ve been needing the chest clip at the lowest it can go when we install like this for our smaller toddlers. If it seems to loose, re-do the top belt and place it higher.

Other Tips

Kitchen Liner under wiggly toddlers

Kitchen Liner

Submarining (sliding down):

For smaller and wiggly children we use a small piece of kitchen liner on the seat and it stops them from wiggling under the lap belt as much. In the picture to the right you can also see how tight the top strap is to prevent slipping. Lufthansa has some extremely thin seats and requires a very tight top strap to stay in position.

We do generally have to fix the straps a couple of times on medium and long haul flights (3+ hours) and I highly recommend re-tightening the top strap as you prep for landing. It often slips down a little and loosens after several hours.

Sleeping 1 year olds head propped up while in CARES

Sleeping Babies


This is a common question. I usually prop up my kids head with our TwinGo folded into storage mode (or airplane pillows and blankets on long hauls) but almost anything will work. If my kids complain about the angle of their head I will loosen the shoulder strap on the opposite shoulder that they’re laying to allow them to lean more. It can be easily tightened back up for turbulence or landing. The picture to the left was one of our first times flying with the CARES and isn’t quite high enough above her shoulders for a secure fit but shows how to prop up their heads well.

I hope this helps you with installing the CARES for a secure fit while you fly with your little ones! Check out some of our other flight tips with multiples here.