Child Clears Planes for Takeoff

Two employees at JFK’s air traffic control tower are under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration, after a child’s voice was recorded communicating with planes.

An air traffic controller, apparently, brought his child to work with him and allowed the child to communicate with pilots on an air traffic control frequency. The child successfully cleared two planes for takeoff. It is apparent that this was done under full supervision. It is reported that pilots were notified, in advance, that the child would be communicating over the radio. None of the pilots, heard in the recordings, showed any signs of being surprised or upset by the communications.

The FAA, however, is not taking the incident lightly. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said in a statement,

“This lapse in judgment not only violated FAA’s own policies, but common sense standards for professional conduct. These kinds of distractions are totally unacceptable. We have an incredible team of professionals who safely control our nation’s skies every single day. This kind of behavior does not reflect the true caliber of our workforce.”

Dave Pascoe is owner of, a site that posts recordings of air traffic communications. The recordings are, primarily, used for pilot education. His site posted the communications in question.

Pascoe believes the incident has been blown out of proportion, “when you listen to any of the recordings, the situation in the tower is very controlled. There is no hint … that anyone was too busy or anyone was interrupting the planes. The kid cleared two airplanes. It was very controlled and I don’t think safety was compromised, nor should anyone be disciplined for this.”

Pascoe concedes, “Considering how skittish the public is, maybe it shouldn’t be done, but I think there should be a procedure to allow visitors in the control tower.”

Doug Church, spokesman for The National Air Traffic Controllers Association said in a statement,

“We do not condone this type of behavior in any way. It is not indicative of the highest professional standards that controllers set for themselves and exceed each and every day in the advancement of aviation safety.”

The air traffic controller and his supervisor have been assigned to other duties pending the FAA investigation. – Jen R, Staff Writer


Featured Review: CARES Child Aviation Restraint System

Every time we travel by airplane we bring my son’s car seat so that he is safe and secure. Our guy is a bit of a mover so we fear that if he was in just a lap belt he may be able to undo it and try to move around the plane. The only problem with this is that the Car Seat is heavy, bulky and a pain to cart around the airport. In an attempt to lighten our load and reduce what we have to bag check, we chose to try out the CARES 5-point Child Aviation Restraint System on a recent vacation. Approved for use on airplanes traveling in North America, the CARES Restraint System is a lightweight belt that slips easily over the seat to create a harness similar to the one on my son’s regular Car Seat. Loops at the bottom of the harness slip through the airplane’s lap belt giving you the safety of a 5-point harness without the extra 30lbs the seat comes with. Not knowing what to expect, I informed the flight attendants of our plans to use the CARES harness as soon as we boarded our US Airlines flight. We were immediately told that we were not allowed to use the harness as it interfered with their seating. Thankfully CARES had included printed copies from Transport Canada and The Federal Aviation Administration’s websites outlining the child restraint system’s purpose, weight limit and sub-section code. At this point we were asked to leave the paperwork with the flight attendants and were told they would let us know if their ‘book’ said it was ok. After just a few minutes one of the ladies came to our seat and gave us the go ahead to use the harness with for our son. Shortly after that we had him buckled in. This harness is so easy to install. All we had to do was lift the tray table behind my son’s seat, slide the belt over the seat and tighten. To finish, we slid the bottom of the harness through the lap belt and we were ready to go. Having the CARES harness along for our trip helped keep everything in order without the bulk and extra weight. Our son stayed buckled securely for most of the trip, which gave me the piece of mind I am always looking for without the stress of lugging around an extra piece of gear. I highly recommend this harness to any parent looking to keep their child safe while traveling by airplane. It is beautifully designed, easy to use and convenient to store – all qualities parents-on-the go are looking for. Priced at $63 on Amazon

*Thank you to Kids Fly Safe for providing us with this Restraint System for our flight* STOCK PHOTOS

Bulky Winter Clothes Can Reduce Car Seat Safety

It’s cold out there! Temperatures across Ontario, this morning, range from a balmy -5oC in Windsor, to a ridiculously cold -29oC in Sioux Lookout. It’s the time of year when parents become preoccupied with keeping their children warm. Puffy awkward coats and snowsuits become a child’s day-to-day norm, conjuring the image of Randy in A Christmas Story crying, “I can’t put my arms down!”

Bundling a child under mountains of bulky outerwear poses a problem, however. His or her car seat harness no longer fits correctly.

Car seats are not designed to be used with bulky clothing. The more compressible the outerwear is, the looser the harness becomes and the greater the risk that is posed to the child. The worst case scenario is that, in a collision, the loose harness may result in the child being ejected from the car seat. The straps of the car seat harness need to fit snugly against the infant or child’s chest with no more than two fingers fitting between the strap and the shoulder bone.

So, what’s a responsible parent to do? The kids have to be warm but they also have to be safe in the car. The key is to remember that bulky, compressible clothing doesn’t belong under the restraint system of a car seat but it can go over it.

Toddlers, in forward facing car seats, need to have their heavy outer wear removed before buckling the restraint. Once secured, the coat can be put on backwards, with the child’s arms through the sleeves. Alternatively, the child can be covered with a blanket.

Infants, in rear facing car seats, can be protected with blankets and an elasticised car seat cover, after being buckled into their seat. The blankets cannot be tucked under the harness or behind the baby’s back. When using a seat cover, double-check that the baby is buckled into the restraint. It’s an easy thing to forget when it is out of sight.

Often, parents dress their children too warmly. Don’t use the temperature of the baby’s hands or feet to decide if they are cold. Instead, feel their neck or the small of the back and see if the baby is sweating. A hot, uncomfortable baby will start to fuss during the car ride and that’s not pleasant for anyone.

Remember the basics:

  • Adjust the straps of the car restraint so they fit snugly over the child’s chest and shoulders
  • Use bulky clothes and blankets above the harness; not beneath
  • Dress the child so that they are comfortably warm, not overly hot

Have a safe and happy winter. – Jen R.


Featured Review: Cybex Callisto

This Summer European baby gear manufacturer Cybex announced that they would be bringing their lightweight, high quality strollers, multifunctional baby carriers and award winning car seats to North America. Cybex’ collection is unique because 3 of their lightweight travel strollers accept an infant seat(Aton – available in early 2010) and carrycot, making it a great choice for birth to 3+ years. A few weeks ago I received a Cybex Callisto to test. Installation: Out of the box, all I needed to do to get started was pop the wheels on. Unpacking and installation only took about 5 minutes. Getting started: Opening this stroller is a breeze. Just unclip the locking latch and lock the frame in place with your foot. To keep everything straight Cybex also includes a great instruction manual with the stroller that shows all of the features and how to use them in detail. Features: The Callisto is loaded with many great features with the first being the spacious seat. For your baby’s comfort Cybex uses a 5-point harness that is covered at the top with a lightly padded headrest. My son loves this! The seat also has a one handed four position recline, which is both convenient and uncomplicated. The Callisto’s canopy is one of the tallest I have reviewed, measuring an impressive 27 inches from the seat to the top. When opened, it can be adjusted to 3 positions and extended with the extractable sun visor. I also like that it detaches at the back to allow air to flow through the stroller. Parents can also remove the canopy altogether by undoing a clip on either side of the stroller. Moms who like to shop or load their stroller up with stuff may not find the storage on the Callisto big enough. This under the seat basket will hold a medium size diaper bag, but not much more. It is, however, supported by a metal frame, which prevents your stuff from dragging on the ground. The Callisto offers a very smooth ride thanks to a set of four 6” wheels with real aluminum rims and a rear wheel suspension system. Like most strollers, the front wheels are swivel wheels with the ability to lock for strolling on gravel or uneven roads. When locking the stroller, there is a one-touch rear brake system that locks easily with just a step. I’m not sure if ours is just stiff because it’s brand new, but unlocking does take a bit of work. Folding the stroller is just as easy as opening it. The handle has a button that together with a switch on the back frame collapses the whole thing forward. I wouldn’t call this a one-handed fold, but it is definitely easy enough to do. For easy transportation, Cybex has added a handle on the side of the stroller. I love this and the fact that the stroller locks when collapsed. Nothing is worse that having your stroller fly open as you are moving it from one spot to another. The Callisto is a great multifunctional stroller for all parents. It is loaded with many features that make strolling comfortable for baby and easy for mom and dad. I would not hesitate to recommend this stroller to any couple looking for a feature-rich product that pushes nicely and stores easily when not in use. If asked, I would make 2 improvements, add a cupholder to the side(always) and make it so that the stroller could stand on it’s own. Additional features:
  • continuous, height adjustable handlebar for more mobility
  • central one-pull harness system
  • ultra-light aluminum frame
  • folded: L41 x W12.5 x H17 inches
  • price $349 – Available in 4 colors in the United States which are: Chili, Slate, Purple, and Indigo. (shown above)
*Thank you to Cybex for sending this stroller out for us to review*

Featured Review: Peg Perego Si Stroller

Peg Perego’s Si Stroller is an awesome lightweight stroller that has many full size stroller features. Weighing in at just under 17lbs, this compact, easy to operate stroller is a great fit for parents who need a product that will accommodate their growing needs. From birth it can be used as a travel system with an infant seat, then a regular day to day stroller that folds up nicely for traveling.

For the last few weeks we have been testing it from one side of the country to the other!

Here is what we found.

Installation – Out of the box the Si was pretty much ready to go. All I needed to do was clip on the storage basket and open it up.

If you have problems, the Si also comes with a great booklet that shows you everything your need – step by step.

Getting Started – Unfolding this stroller is really easy. All you need to do is unclip the lever on the left side of the stroller, give it a bit of a shake and then lock the bracket in the back.

Comfort and Features – The Si offers a lot of great features not normally seen in this stroller weight class. For safety, it has a five-point harness with the 2010 version adding a bumper bar. There is a 3 position(almost flat) seat recline, height adjustable handle bars and a 2 position foot rest.

For older children, the Si has a good size seat (13inches wide) and a high canopy that will keep taller toddlers(up to 45lbs) comfy without brushing their head. When opened fully, the Si’s canopy offers some of the best coverage I have seen on a lightweight stroller. Moms who want to keep track of their little ones will also like the peek-a-boo window.

Underneath the seat is a good size storage basket big enough to hold a large sized diaper bag. The only problem with this is that the basket will drag if your bag is too heavy. For this I suggest you strap your diaper bag to the handle bars and use the storage basket for lighter purchases, if out shopping. This works well if your child stays in the stroller. But not so great if you need to carry your baby. Because the stroller is so light, a weighted handle will cause the whole thing to tip backwards once your child is removed. While this sounds simple, it’s easy to forget. I have tipped this stroller quite a few times leaving the mall trying to rush.

Travel System – 2 cables that come with the 2009 version stroller allow the Si to be converted it into a travel system. While Peg Perego strollers are normally only compatible with the Primo Viaggio SIP 30/30 Infant seat, the Si will accept most car seats that have a belt path on each side.

Folding – To avoid confusion, Peg Perego has numbered the two levers needed to close the stroller. I love this! No guess work – just pull here first and then here. Once closed, this stroller stands independently and it also features a carrying strap on the side.

This makes the Si a dream to travel with.

Cleaning – While on a recent trip, an unfortunate event ended with a whole breakfast landing on the seat of the stroller. Surprisingly enough, for the amount of food that landed on it, the stroller fared quite well. But when I got home and started to take it apart to fully clean it, I was surprised to find that it doesn’t come apart. It looks like it comes apart, but it doesn’t, unless I wanted to get into unscrewing stuff, which I don’t.

Improvements – With anything, there is always a wish list of thing you would like see improved.

I personally would love Peg Perego to make a good cupholder. The tiny one that comes with most of their strollers doesn’t many beverage cups, including my re-usable water bottle. Also, having some part of the seat come apart for easy cleaning would also be a bonus for parents who will be using this stroller everyday.

Overall, I like this stroller and I would recommend it to any parent who wants a nice looking stroller that can go anywhere.

$232.00 on Amazon

Peg Perego Si Specs:

  • Width – 20″
  • Seat Width – 13″
  • Seat to top of Canopy – 25″
  • Ground to Handle – 41″
  • Stroller Length – 33.5″
  • Folded Dimensions – 39″ x 13″ x 13″
  • Front Wheel Size – 6.5″
  • Weight – 16.8lbs – to get this I weighed myself holding the stroller and then subtracted that number from my weight alone