April 28, 2008

Kelty Kid Carrier Backpack- Cool and functional for the aiport

I recently bought the Kelty Child Carrier so that I could capture my toddler in the airport and get on the plane with some order in place. I had decided that it gave me another option for containing her, once the stroller was gone and I had to carry my stuff on the plane. When she is not in it, the kid carrier cinches up small and it is just a normal backpack. When I need to trap her, I just uncinch the straps and slide her in. I get some great looks as I am boarding the plane- but it keeps my hands free so I can still hold passports and tickets and anything else I may have with me. http://www.kelty.com

TC 2.1 Front

My favorite feature is the mini-backpack that zips off the front. I put the babies "essentials" for the flight in there and then when I get to the seat- I just unzip the front pack, and throw everything else (except of course the kid) in the overhead compartment. It works well for me.

The cons are that it does become quite heavy and sticks out quite far when totally loaded. (It holds a maximum load of 40lbs- that's gear and kid combined.) Also, it doesn't really work as well as my framed backpack for carrying her around for a long day of sightseeing, etc. I gave it a go and it worked for about an hour. But in the airport- it's perfect.

Finally An Answer on Social Security Number for U.S. Passport

One reader left this comment for us about the question we were trying to resolve about whether or not you need a social security number to apply for a U.S. passport. Her answer confirms one point we have been making along the way- it seems the answer is a bit different depending on whether you apply in the U.S. or at an embassy....

I applied for my daughters US passport in February when she was only a few weeks old. I was confused as well and made a few calls as I needed that passport asap and I learned her social security number wouldn't come to us for another few months. But it turned out you do not need a social security number for your baby just fill in zero's. We applied for it in person in San Francisco and got it without any problems the same day. Not sure where you will apply for it, but at the moment I am in the process of getting her an Dutch passport as well. It turns out that 'the rules' are not the same of where you apply. Either in the country it self or at a consulate in another country. It even differs per consulate the paperwork and proof you need. Make contact with the place you are going to go to get the passport to make sure you got the right papers with you when you go in. Hope this helps.

April 16, 2008

Which car seats are approved for the plane?

There are about 15 other women that I know who will be traveling around the world for the upcoming sailboat race that my husband is participating in- and we are starting to get all of our ducks in a line as we leave in a few months. During a discussion today, it came up that it is very hard to know which car seats are FAA approved, or approved for the airplane or will even fit on an airplane. I had just gone through this myself while I was researching my car seat- the Graco Platinum Car Go (see my review under travel gear). For this group of moms, we will probably flying more than we are in a car, so the needs for the car seat are a bit different.

Here are some facts that I have learned about car seats on the plane.

  1. The car seat has to either go by the window or in the middle of the middle seats- basically not in the way of anyone exiting the plane.
  2. The car seats do not say FAA approved on them but instead they say something like- THIS CAR SEAT IS APPROVED FOR AIRCRAFT TRAVEL
  3. Most car seats will fit if they have a general set up, by this I mean there are some great car seats out there that are portable and small but require a top tether- and this is not approved for Aircraft travel
  4. There is no list of car seats approved for airplanes out there. When you buy, you should look at the box or model or call the company to confirm that it is approved.
  5. The airlines (usually the flight attendants or pursor) WILL check to see if the car seat is approved for aircraft travel.
  6. My sticker was almost impossible to find. It was not on the sides with all of the other safety information but instead on the very bottom kind of tucked away. I am glad I looked because on the plane with the kid strapped in, that could have become interesting. (She wouldn't like to be upside down for five minutes I don't think)
  7. To my understanding, the seat cannot be wider than 16 inches (40.64 cm's) . This is where things may get interesting. I am sure there are seats out there that are approved but that are a little wider and an airlines may give you a hard time about this. I don't know the maximum length for an infant car seat (between the seat in front of you) but I took my Graco Snug Ride on and it fit but just by a hair. If it had been bigger the seat in front of us would not have been able to recline.
  8. Regardless of whether or not your car seat is "aircraft approved" , you should check with the individual airlines to find out if they have specific regulations- I have read that some don't let car seats on that are over a certain age or that have certain types of straps.
This doesn't answer the all important question of which car seats are best for air travel but hopefully it will help clarify what you are looking for.

April 14, 2008

Review: Kaboost Baby Seat

We gave the Kaboost portable chair booster a try to see if it is the right product for us to take with us as we travel around the world. The Kaboost is a smart gadget that raises almost any chair high enough for a small child to comfortably sit at the table. You can see more about the Kaboost on their website:

and for a really funny video check out: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Oqm5iIhFyDw

There is a place in this world for the Kaboost. It doesn't quite suit our needs right now because our daughter is too small- but my brother has a four year old girl and a two year old boy who have been battling over their Stokke Tripp Trapp, since the 4 year old has been claiming it as her own. Once we put the Kaboost on a chair for her, she felt like she had arrived. She is now sitting at the table with the grown ups while her brother is trapped in the Tripp Trapp. And the nice thing is the Kaboost can go wherever they go- which will be on a lot of road trips this summer. It can also fit pretty easily into a suitcase as well. I don't know if this is a must have item if you are doing some serious traveling, but it can surely be a big help on an easy road trip or just at home to get you through the years when your small child wants to sit in the big seat.

Reader Question: Time Zone Changes for Babies / Infants

Mary from the U.S. sent us the following question regarding time zone changes:

How do you/ does she cope with the time zone changes? We had only a 2-hour time difference and it was brutal. Our daughter never really settled into the new time zone- until the last night - and now that we are home her clock is all out of whack again! Any suggestions form your experience? Thanks!

For me, I have found that my one year old does pretty well with the time changes. She is so exhausted from our trips that usually I just let her stay up until she is tired that first night (sometimes she is tired early and sometimes she is wired so she stays up later- (that depends on what the time change is) and then she sleeps (hopefully) at night. I think that it is harder for me because I actually know what time it is and what time I think it should be. On our last trip, she did wake up at 5am the first few days but I just kept it dark and quiet and tried to keep it low key. That wasn't easy but I guess after the lack of sleep from pregnancy and her first year it didn't bother me too much and after three days she was into enough of a routine. I did not try to force the normal times for bed on her but I did follow the same routine when she was ready for bed. But this is just my experience so I went online to do a little more research and I can't say that I found anything earth shattering about helping babies / kids adjust to time changes. Some websites suggest to start adjusting the child's schedule a few days before they leave- i.e. if you are going back two hours, start putting them to bed a little later each night. This may work but it won't make a big difference if your time change is significant- say 5 or 6 hours. What I read the most and what I agree with the most- is that you just need to keep your children as hydrated and feed as necessary- pay attention to their moods- and do your same routine at bed time, whenever that is. And most say that it's the parents that have the hardest time- and I agree with that.

I would love to hear feedback from other parents who have been through time changes to learn what worked, what didn't and what you agree and don't agree with- so send it our way: babyjetsetter@gmail.com

Thanks for the question, Mary, and I hope that your daughter is back to sleeping her normal shedule.

April 10, 2008

Question from a reader- Do you need a Social Security number for a U.S. passport?

Today I received an email from one reader who mentioned that perhaps you do not need a social security number to get a U.S. childs passport. This question has come up before and the answer is not black and white. I looked on the U.S. State Departments website and although it is not that clear, it does mention 2 items on the general information page- the first is "Your Social Security Number does NOT prove your identity" but then at the bottom of the page, at the very end, it reads: "8. Provide a Social Security Number If you do not provide your Social Security Number, the Internal Revenue Service may impose a $500 penalty. If you have any questions please call your nearest IRS office." But what is not clear is whether that is the parents social security number or the childs. So further investigation is needed.

The strange thing is that you can use the child's passport as proof of identity to get the social security number- so does that mean you don't need the social security number? Is this a chicken and egg thing? I kept looking- the US Embassy for New Zealand lists the social security number as something you must provide to apply for a minors passport. But the U.S. embassy in Japan does not. So next I called a friend here in Spain who just applied for her son's U.S. passport and asked her the question- and she said she applied for them together and they came together. So maybe that is the answer. I looked online at the actual passport application http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/ds11/ds11_842.html and it does show the social security number clearly needed, right at the beginning. But perhaps if you apply for them both at the same time then they take care of it?

Crazy and confusing so I am looking for other's input. Thanks for the question, anonymous poster and stay tuned....