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Parenting in the Park
Tips and ideas for the traveling family
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Adrienne Krock, editor
Adrienne's eMailbox July 25, 2000
Before I start with my e-mail today, I have the following information for you:

Baby Care Center Amendment

I ran into a friend of mine recently. One of the sweetest people I've ever met, she had just read my column about the Baby Care Center. She told me about an outstanding feature that I missed! 

The Baby Care Center provides filtered water in the kitchen for parents who need to prepare bottles of formula. In addition to all the other wonderful features of the Baby Care Center, I think this is an important resource to keep in mind.

Adrienne's eMailbox for 7/25/00:

Norm wrote:

Your site mentions that airlines don't allow booster seats on their flights. They do indeed. In fact they encourage it. More important, all car rentals offer them so it's moot for folks arriving in LAX from out of town..

And Karen also wrote:

I just read your reply to the booster seat e-mail. I just got back from Seattle and saw several booster seats being used on the flight. We were on American. My hubby and I travel extensively with our four-year-old. We have rented car seats (yuck - plastic) and brought our own. 

We invested in a car seat cover about two years ago ($39.00). It turns your car/ booster seat into another piece of luggage. What is best is that you can fill it with extra stuff (blankets, clothes, stuffed animals, etc) especially at the end of your journey when there is no more room in the suitcase. I highly recommend the car seat cover. Ours has logged over 50,000 air miles and it is still in one piece (and we all know how baggage gets thrown about).

I'll start by saying thanks for the tips. I called around and was able to confirm that several car rental agencies do offer booster seats. I'd like to hear from readers who have experienced using these services.

I was really perplexed by the emails and conversations I had after I posted those comments on my previous eMailbox column. I did some research into this and here's what I learned:

My original sources for that column had been the airlines themselves, since I had recently planned a trip. I went to United, Delta, and Southwest. If you follow those links, (which open in new windows by the way, so you won't lose your place here) you will reach the infant travel information pages for those three airlines. They all say that they do not allow booster seats on their flights.

Then I found out that the term "booster seat" is open to a variety of interpretations. A friend who is a flight attendant for Delta explained that the reason booster seats are forbidden is the way they "anchor" to the seat differently than car seats do. Car seats are first seat belted into the airline seat by themselves, and only then are children seat belted into the car seats. In contrast, after a booster seat is placed on the airline seat both the booster seat and the child are cinched down only by the seatbelt of the airline seat.

A reader who works as a gate agent in Dallas told me that her training did not mention specific designs of seats, but she was told to look for the sticker that says the seat is certified for use in aircrafts. Note that the Southwest Airlines page linked above refers to car seats as child restraint devices.

Armed with this information, I made a trip to the greatest children's store on Earth, Bergstrom's. Yes, they do have a location about a block east of Disneyland. The prices on clothing are a little high in my opinion, but their prices on cribs, strollers, car seats, etc are great, sometimes even less if you have to special order something! Upon inspecting several models of booster seats, I found that seats with built-in belts have stickers that say they are approved for airline use. Inspecting a seat with no belts, I read a sticker that actually said it was NOT approved for airline use.

So there you have it. Many booster seats are not permitted on airlines. If you have a child weighing over 40 pounds and plan to take a booster seat on vacation, look for a sticker on the seat that tells you whether or not your model is approved.

Lisa wrote:

I really liked your review of the Disney strollers. I will never rent them again are because the new strollers were so dirty. The fabric soaks up every soda and whatever else is spilled on them, making the strollers kinda gross for your child to sit your child in. 

But most importantly, the stroller tips completely backwards. After a last-minute catch to keep my child from hitting the ground, I was so scared when I realized what could have happened.

You made a really good point that I must have glossed over. I wrote that because the strollers are lightweight, it was easy for our friend Casey to "pop wheelies" with it. What I neglected to include was that by hanging diaper bags or other heavy items from the handlebars of these strollers, they become "back heavy" (so to speak) and can easily tip backwards. 

Matthew is a 30-pounder, so generally speaking, he could have counterbalanced the weight when he was in the stroller. I can imagine how disconcerting it was to see the stroller tip backwards with your child in it!

Exceptional Mom Mary sent this in:

I don't know whether they still have the Mousekemeals things for sale, but those were *excellent* souvenirs! I think we got insulated lunchboxes at the Stage Door Cafe on the trip before this past one. 

Lunch bag

Neat thing about those lunchboxes (other than the $5 price!) was the strap configuration, where it lengthens to be carried over the shoulder or shortened on both sides to be worn as a backpack. We got some as gifts for friends on that trip, and all three of my little ones have them for their lunches at day care!

While Casa Mex (sob sob) was still open (sob sob), they had the BEST Mousekemeals souvenir: the plate that was shaped like the Castle with a big Mickey standing on the side. I bought three of those for my kids and several others for gifts. It's been *years* since I've seen melamine plates that have Disneyland printed on them (I have some from when Casey was little), but to merchandising's defense, I didn't see any WDW-specific melamine either. 

I'm waiting...

Mary, what a fantastic deal! Considering that the lunchboxes at the Emporium cost $12, these boxes are much more economical. And while the Emporium lunchboxes have Disney Characters on them, the Mouskemeal boxes [as you can see above] actually list the lands of Disneyland on them, so they're even more Disneyland-specific. I have seen these for sale at Tomorrowland Terrace as well as other walk-up / counter service restaurants around Disneyland.

As for your plate requests, I'll post them here in case anyone from merchandising reads this.

In my eMailbox column on July 7, I offered information about leaving a guest compliment at City Hall for helpful Cast Members (CMs). 

Trevor responded:

I have also sent them compliments via e-mail from their web site. Just remember the personís name that helped you out, and why you're complimenting them. The webmaster moves it along just like at City Hall. 

I even had the unique experience of having the CM remember the incident and thanked me for the compliment on my next visit a few months later.

Yes, Trevor, this is another option for complementing helpful CMs. Mighty Alweg's site gives many helpful URLs, addresses, and phone numbers for contacting Disneyland. 

The phone number to call Disneyland Guest Relations is (714) 781-4773. Click here to find the form to send a guest comment to Disneyland through the Disney website. They also have a page for emailing Walt Disney World.

Adrienne's eMailbox

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