I actually don’t mind sitting next to babies on airplanes — even crying babies. (Headphones help.) The new year often makes us think of new life, so for the first installment of 2007’s Travel Gear, we’ve tracked down some interesting products for clients taking to the skies and highways with a baby or toddler onboard.
Show some restraint
The Federal Aviation Administration requires that kids over age 2 occupy their own airplane seat, but that doesn’t mean clients have to lug around a 15-pound car seat. The FAA recently approved the CARES (Child Aviation Restraint System) device for children weighing 22-44 pounds. The device has chest, shoulder and lap straps to restrain youngsters during takeoff, landing and heavy turbulence. Unfortunately, airlines aren’t yet making CARES available on flights. $74.95. (Sold through the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum.) www.crsmithmuseum.org
An alternative to sippy cups, the Lil’ Topper is a no-spill top for bottled water that fits nearly all water brands. A valve restricts the flow of water until the child sucks hard enough to open the valve. $4.95 for two. www.neatkidstuff.com
Bag of tricks
The Keep Me Busy Bag is full of fun products to keep toddlers age 15 months to 3 years entertained on a long flight or car trip. Contains crayons, coloring book, scribble pad, storybook, stickers and sticker folder, hand wipes and a disposable bib. $24.95. www.interactive-initiatives.com
The Brooks Ponds Carrier Cover slips over a Baby Bjorn, Infantino or other baby carrier, eliminating the need to pack cold-weather clothing. Water-resistant nylon shell, Thinsulate quilting and super-soft, microfiber lining keep baby warm and dry; the collar converts into a hood for chest-facing babies and a zippered pocket holds keys, tissues and diapers. The best part? Hand slits let mom or dad play This Little Piggy with baby’s toes. $65-$145. www.brookspond.com
Lighten your load
Schlepping a car seat is a big pain in the rear end — not to mention the shoulders and back. The Gogo Kidz Travelmate is a dolly-like device for wheeling a car seat around an airport — even with a toddler sitting inside. At only five pounds, the Travelmate attaches easily to most car seats and can remain connected while a car seat is in use in an airplane. Except when used with wider car seats, the device maneuvers easily down an airplane aisle. $89.
Not your mother’s diaper bag
Who says mom has to lug around a bulky diaper bag decorated with yellow duckies? Pineapple Cove Baby’s diaper wallets and change pads are as slim as a pocketbook and made of stylish, vintage-inspired fabrics, like floral matelasses, antique quilts and embroidered weaves. All feature wipe-clean interiors; the change pad has a zippered pocket for diapers and wipes, plus a nifty carrying handle. $24.95-$49.95.