Britax “ClickTight” Recall

If you have a ClickTight car seat, you should head on over to this website by Britax to see if your model is being recalled. This voluntary safety recall is due to some ClickTight buttons sticking, and allowing slack in the shoulder harness caused by the child’s movements.

clicktight-wf_v1-3

Happy (and safe) travels,

Kristin

The Seat Swap – Flying With Small Kids

Have you ever had to do the, “seat swap” while traveling? No, I am not talking about some new and exciting dance or party game. I wish I was. What I am talking about is trying to sit next to your toddler or newborn without paying lots of extra money to pick your seat. In fact, there are airlines that don’t let you pick your seat at all, even if you wanted to pay extra. What’s a mother traveling with a tiny child to do? Well, you have to engage in what I like to call the seat swap. Here are a few rules that will make other passengers less likely to give you the stink eye when you ask if they would be willing to swap seats.

infant in flight

The Seat Swap Rules

1. Keep your child close.

If someone realizes that you are asking to switch seats, and they don’t see your little one near you, chances are that they are already telling you no in their head before they attempt to say it out loud. I once asked a teenager (who wasn’t sitting near his mother either) if he would be willing to switch with me. His mom started to come our way, intending to put me in my place. Her son pointed out my two year old daughter, sleepily resting in a random seat, “she wants to sit next to her little kid, Mom.” If she had seen my little one, we could have avoided the five minutes it took her working her way down the aisle full of people to yell at me for bothering her son. As soon as she saw my sleepy little muffin, the frustration melted right off of her face.

2. Smile, smile, smile!

The best way to counter grumpy people that are annoyed with you for wanting to switch seats is to smile your butt off. Well not literally, since you actually need your butt for sitting. You need to try your best to keep a positive attitude when you notice the other person seems irritated. Getting frustrated yourself is not going to help an already awkward situation. I try to explain my best, that even though I purchased five tickets together, the airline has seated my husband and our very young three children all over the plane. “I would really appreciate if you would swap seats with me.”

Ksena sitting in a CARES harness when she was a little over 3 years old.
Ksena sitting in a CARES harness when she was a little over 3 years old.

3. When they also have a travel buddy.

This is the worst situation (which can only be made worse if another parent is also traveling with their child! In my opinion, the parent with the youngest child should win). In this situation you have to be quick, and be good a remembering seat numbers. If there are only two people, you can usually get a single person to swap nearby so that the seat you need can be swapped, while they still get to sit next to their travel buddy. The most complicated instance I have ever had of this was for four people to swap seats in order for everyone to be happy. In the end I was glad though, because I couldn’t imagine my 3 week old baby (whom I had purchased a ticket for so he could have a car seat), being next to a stranger, and having to reach over them every time I needed to breastfeed. Yes, this is a serious scenario I am describing. It makes me mad at airlines, but they don’t take into account that you really need to sit next to your small child.

4. Ask which seat they prefer.

If you have seats in the aisle and next to a window (which is possible if you are traveling with a large family), ask the person you are asking to swap which one they prefer. Or you can say, “Hi, I’m traveling with a small child, does someone close want to swap for my aisle seat?”

CARES harness on three year old
My sweet looking ball of fire 🙂

5. Dealing with a Grump – Let’s Get Real!

It could be that a person refuses to switch with you. This has happened to me before. I will look at them and say something like, “Well ok, but since I can’t be next to my child during this 7 hour flight, that means that if the ‘fasten seat belt’ light comes on, that you are going to have to take care of my 2-year-old.” Or I could say something like, “Here are a few extra barf bags for when my daughter gets air-sick.” Insert their grumbling, shifting around things, and them moving to the seat I was originally assigned to. I think when someone realizes that they are going to be next to a screaming toddler, they are a tad bit more willing to be flexible.

6. If all else fails, get your flight crew involved.

If you can’t secure a reasonable solution yourself, look for the woman on your flight crew that is the most likely to have had children, and ask for her help. The flight crew is trained in smoothing over awkward situations, and they want everyone else to have a smooth flight as well. They know the chances of your child screaming for four hours increases if your seat is three rows away from them.

Do you have any stories about a seat swap on a recent trip? I would love to hear them. Please tell me I’m not the only one 😉

Happy travels,

Kristin

What Is The Best Sippy Cup ?

What Is The Best Sippy Cup – The Answer Will Surprise You

I am on toddler number three. He is a wonderful bundle of two and a half year old energy and limitless thirst. Seriously, this guy can drink water! Without fail, the instant he sits in your lap, if he doesn’t have his water, he will get up and say, “I need my water.” So the choice of sippy cup is very important for my sanity, and his. I have tried nearly every kids drinking solution on the market, including the donut shaped drinking circle from Momu. I wasn’t impressed with that one, I’m sorry to report. Here is a breakdown of how I determined which sippy cup reigns supreme (did you like my Iron Chef reference… *wink*).

-Is it actually spill proof?

-Can small children suck the water out easily?

-Does it grow mold on the inside of the spout?

-Can it take being dropped?

-Is it easy to clean?

-Will my child be able to easily chew off any part of this cup?

The winner, after many different attempts, and years of testing, is … drum roll please … the Gerber Graduates Fun Grips Spill Proof Cup. And the great benefit of this particular cup is that is is one fourth of the price of almost every other sippy cup. It does not grow mold, is easy to clean, can be dropped over and over again, does not leak – like ever, and is easy to suck from.

the best sippy cup

For your benefit I will go through a brief list of sippy cup failures I have experienced.

Nalgene Kids Spill Proof Water Bottle: Too difficult for a small child to sip from. Grows mold even after repeated washing in the spout.

Nuk Soft Tipped Cup: Two different times different children chewed the top off of the spout.

Nuk Hard Tipped Cup with Handles: Eventually it started leaking.

Sigg Aluminum Bottle: Mold grows on the spout, and if you drop it, it gets a huge dent in it.

Advent: The spill proof part didn’t work properly and spilled all over my son’s crib. They wouldn’t let me return it even though it was faulty when I bought it.

ANY straw sippy cup: The straw part was chewed off by one or more children…

I should note that I never put anything other than water in any of these sippy cups. If you put juice or something besides water in them, it is much more likely that the spill proof seal will become damaged, or that mold will start growing inside.

So there you have it, cheap is not always best, but in this case, Gerber wins. They may be the cheapest option, but they are still the best, in all areas. May you have spill free trips and travels ahead of you, always.

Happy travels,

Kristin Spencer

How To Travel With Your Kids Successfully

If you are a regular reader, you have probably seen most of these posts, but there are new readers to this website every day. This post is for you, new readers. Welcome!! And if you are a dedicated reader, check the list below, because there may be a few awesome articles you missed before.

Maybe you are just starting out on your travel adventures with your family, or maybe you have already started, but you want things to go more smoothly next time. Whether you are a seasoned parent, or a newbie, I hope you will find the resources on this website helpful. I have so many articles, it may be difficult to know where to start, so let me help you out. Here are the most important articles for you to read before your next family trip, organized by category. I hope this will be a good starting point on how to travel with your kids in a fun way.

1. I’m New, I’m New, I Don’t Know What To Do

Deep breaths. You’ve got this. Taking the time to look for help shows that you are on the right path. Here are some posts that will help new parents navigate the world of travel with small children.

baby wearing on vacation

Shock and Awe: First Time Traveling Jitters

Things I’ve Learned About Traveling With Children

– 7 Initial Steps: Planning To Travel With Children

– Traveling With A Nursing Infant

– The Travel Syndrome

Dressing Your Kids For Travel

Dressing For An Easy Diaper Change

Child Safety and Travel: Establishing Rules and Boundaries

Packing Your Diaper Bag For A Day Trip

The Physical Demands of Traveling

Staying In A Hotel With Small Children

– Don’t Let Them Guilt You! (A guide to dealing with unhappy fellow travelers)

– Rest Stops & Potty Breaks

– Just Breathe! (How to deal with the inevitable stress of being a parent)

The Best Guest: Staying in Someone’s Home

Keep Candy In Your Purse

A Day At The Beach

Baby Wearing While Traveling

A Travel Lesson From Aesop (You can’t please everyone all of the time)

The Perceived Reality Of A Parent

Parenting & The Art Of Distraction

Trash Is Toy Treasure

A Traveling Mom’s Guide To Breastfeeding In Public

Why I Love Traveling With A Family

2. In The Air

How to navigate the world of air travel with children.

infant in flight

How I Roll

Air Friendly Car Seat

Traveling With A Newborn or Infant By Plane

Flying With A 2 Year Old

Packing 101: How To Pack A Suitcase Efficiently

Waiting At The Airport: Time & Money

Searching For Airplane Tickets Online

Infant Flies Out of Parent’s Arms in Turbulent Flight

A Suitcase You Can Ride!

What Should I Pack In My Carry On Luggage?

Dealing With Jet Lag

Dear Jet Lag, I Hate You

Flying In Bad Weather

How to Spot Human Trafficking Victims at the Airport

3. Vroom – vroom.

Dealing with travel by car, whether you are head one hour away, or driving 6,500 miles in three weeks (yes, we did that with three kids, and it was fun).

child in carseat

Planning the Ultimate Family Road Trip

My Kid Gets Carsick, Now What?

Saving Money on Road Trips

Music For Everyone In The Family

Road Trip Sleeping Solutions

The Bubble Bum: Best Booster Ever

Encouraging Children To Get Along In The Car

Car Seat Laws that changed in 2014

4. Do It Yourself

Here is a collection of a few DIY travel tools that will make your next trip run more smoothly while saving you some money.

car seat luggage

Hitchin’ A Ride: Turn your carry on bag into a stroller using your car seat

DIY Alternative to Flimsy Stroller Cases

SER Baby Travel Pillow Tutorial

Child Travel Pillow Tutorial

DIY Travel High Chair For Wiggly Toddlers

5. Roadblocks

How to react when things do not go exactly as planned.

All three children alseep at 2300 (11pm) in the Mc Cafe in Vienna's International Airport.
All three children alseep at 2300 (11pm) in the Mc Cafe in Vienna’s International Airport.

Travel Gone Wrong

Things Get Lost

Plans Change

Follow Your Gut (Avoiding scams and tricks when traveling)

Traveling while Potty Training – Accidents Happen

Rain, Rain, Go Away (dealing with bad weather)

Traveling While Pregnant (series)

Gum In My Kids’ Hair

Of course, I have many other fun and informative posts about travel that I haven’t mentioned here, but I thought these would be a good starting point.

Happy travels,

Kristin

Have a specific travel question? Check out this section of the website: Ask Kristin

Hoodsbee – Hoodie, Pillow, & Friend

Hoodsbee

A few months ago I posted about a Kickstarter campaign for the Hoodsbee, a hoodie that is also a pillow as well as a stuffed animal friend. Their website recently went live and they were kind enough to send me a couple to test out and review. I am so excited to tell you about these fun, multipurpose sweatshirts. These fleece sweatshirts are soft, warm, and best of all, they turn into a pillow friend when they are not needed as a jacket.Hoodsbee Shark

There are several different, fun characters for boys and girls. They are brightly colored and come in sizes 2T through size 7. My favorite features are the soft and stretchy wrist and waist bands that keep in warmth against cool wind.

Hoodsbee Ribbons the Monkey

My kids were immediately taken by the animal friend aspect of these hoodies. As a parent I was very happy with the sizing (accurate, not too big, not too small) and softness of the Hoodsbee. If you have a problem with your child keeping a hat on, I would definitely suggest these hoodies as alternatives. My kids did not want to wear them with the hoodie part down, and when you see how cute they are, you can understand why. Anchor the Shark and Ribbons the Monkey are definitely welcome additions to our family’s arsenal of travel tools. My daughter immediately noticed that the shape worked perfectly as a pillow and proceeded to lay down on the couch with it. Whether you are at home, or on the run, these hoodies are fun, practical, and comfortable.

Right now if you go to their website to purchase one they are sale. So head over to Hoodsbee.com and get ahead on your Christmas shopping.

Happy travels!

Kristin Spencer