Baby Hammocks on a Plane: Yay or Nay?

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I am honestly not sure what to make of this new “baby hammock” product.  Part of me is somewhat horrified by the idea, and part of me thinks it is kind of great in some circumstances.  A few readers have emailed me about this new option for traveling families (thank you!), and there is also a MilePoint thread on the same topic.  Taken from the FlyeBaby website, the product is described as:

FlyeBaby is a hammock-type seat that can be used on an airplane during the cruise portion of the flight as a comfortable and convenient place to put your baby.  It can also attach to most dining room chairs to serve as a portable high chair.

Everything looks “hunky dory” in the photo from their website, but I can’t help but wonder a few things.  First, what if the person in the seat in front of you quickly reclined?  That has happened to me when my daughter was in a car seat sleeping and it pinned her legs and she woke up screaming…..and that was just her legs, not her whole body.  The instructions do say that if your baby is long enough that their head is touching the tray table, then they are too big for the product.  It also says you should let the person in front of you know you are using the product, and ask them to let you know when they are going to recline.  I’m not sure I would want a stranger to be impacted by me hooking a baby to the back of their seat (nor am I sure I would trust a stranger to let me know when they are going to recline).  If you had someone in your party sit in the seat in front of you then that issue could be mitigated.  In fact, that arrangement is actually what I recommend when you are using a forward-facing car seat as well in order to avoid the “leg crush” issue that we have experienced with our daughter.  I’ve never seen one of these hammocks in action, but I am also somewhat concerned about relying on the tray table latch to hold my child that can weigh up to 25 pounds per their website.  I can only assume that it must work fine most of the time, but that just seems a bit beyond what the tray table latch was designed to do.

Okay, those are some concerns I have, but there are some things I do like about FlyeBaby.  I absolutely see the value in having somewhere to put your baby that isn’t your lap.  Having your hands free can make a big difference.  Of course if you purchase a seat for your baby that problem is solved, but presumably this product is primarily designed for those who aren’t willing or able to purchase an additional seat for their lap infant.  Face to face interaction with infants is also a good thing, so I can see the value in that set-up.  Even if you had a seat for the child, I can see that having somewhere else to move to during the flight could be really valuable.  Just like adults, little ones often don’t always want to stay in the exact same place for the duration of the flight. I also like that the hammock has a built-in five point harness.  As their website points out, this is not for use during take-off, landing, or turbulence.  However, if the child is in the hammock and some turbulence begins, at least there is some level of restraint available until you can secure them back in their car seat (or in your lap).

Unless you are in Economy Plus or some other premium seating, I just can’t imagine how their is enough room between your seat and the one in front of you for this product to really work.  Their website says that it was designed with a business class seat in mind, but I imagine that many that would consider purchasing this would often be in economy seats.  Clearly I am a bit conflicted on this product.  I love the idea of a product designed to make family travel easier, and I do think their are some real benefits to FlyeBaby, but I have some real concerns as well.  My daughter is far too large to use this product, but I would love to hear from families that have seen or used the hammock.  Even if you have never used this product I would love to hear your initial thoughts.  Good idea?  Horrible idea?  Somewhere in between?

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  1. Nice review!

    My wife and I have recently been traveling with our newborn in an ergo. I think this is hands down the best way to do it if they are a lap child. The thing I didn’t understand is that they required him to be out of the ergo for take off for safety reasons. I honestly want him strapped in for safety reasons. It’s a way of having a lap child and having free hands. Any sudden bumps won’t send him flying.

  2. I dont have a baby but if i did i wouldnt use this. Most important thing is the safety of the baby and everyone.

  3. It does look like it secures around the mother / seat and has a baby seat belt. Not sure we’d use this one, but don’t know yet because we haven’t taken our first flight yet.

  4. I’m a flight attendant and we’re supposed to look for a label on every child restraint system that comes on board. I’m wondering if this has been approved? The label should read,,”This child restraint system conforms to all applicable motor vehicle and aircraft safely standards”. Trust me, we hate being the bad guys, so I’d make sure this is even allowed on the aircraft before purchasing!

  5. Unless you take the window seat with hammock and baby, you are going to either be disturbed every time someone in your row needs to get up…..or basically ‘guilt’ them into not getting up.

    Neither of those is particularly a good polite option in my opinion.

  6. I think it looks intriguing. But only if it doesn’t pull on the seat in front. And if it is an approved on board restraint system. And if I warn the passenger in front of me that the baby is there so please let me know of any fast reclines. A lot of ifs……I also agree with Denise T….guilting other passengers seated by the window. Whether intentional or not, it doesn’t appear to be a polite option.

  7. to me this is similar to the inserts that can be put into the seat in front of you to prevent a person from reclining; there is someone that receives the benefit and someone negatively impacted by the benefit.

    i for one do not want a baby hooked to the back of my seat.

    while i see the appeal of the product, the only way i see this product as acceptable for use is if you are A) on the window B) have a companion seated in front of you.

    you just can’t limit someone’s ability to recline or get out of their seat by doing something which is more convenient for you. impacting another traveler’s comfort for your own convenience isn’t an acceptable option; in fact its selfish and down right rude.

  8. Flame away, but NO baby or child should be in a lap or one of these devices. Yes it costs money for the extra seat, but the ONLY way a child should be on board is strapped into a car seat lest he/she becomes a projectile in case of turbulence or emergency.

  9. I have to agree that all children should be secured in their own seat. However, there are many parents that choose to let their < 2yr olds sit in their lap. According to the FAA, "…during the cruise portion of the flight, there is no regulatory prohibition against using any type of child restraint including those prohibited from use during ground movement, takeoff and landing." But there is also no regulatory requirement that an aircraft operator permit the use of "non-approved" CRS's. Bottom line, whatever the flight crew determines is safe or not.

  10. This is brilliant! Amazing idea!
    Travelled many times with my baby and later with toddler and baby, and I know it can be very challenging. I wish I learned about this seat earlier. The seat like this might be a lifesaver for parents and for passengers around. Everybody is happy if baby is content. Crying baby behind your back is much more disturbing than a few kicks.

    • I am a flight attendant in one of the european airlines and I know that there are other ways of calming the baby than that thing and I do not agree that few kicks on the back of someone’s seat are not disturbing- this person might also want to sleep or just rest on that seat she/he had paid full price for and most of passengers find it very distracting when someone kicks on their seat. They can use ear plugs or headphones not to hear the crying baby all the time, but they cannot ignore the kicking if such a hammock is attached to the back of the seat. Travelling with infant it’s off course stressfull for the parents and no wonder they would like to make their trip easier and more comfortable, but it’s only allowed to the point where it does not negatively affect other passanger’s personal space, so on board our aircrafts those kind of things would not be allowed to use unless the seat in front is empty and the adult with an infant or their travel partners are occupying the seats next to the window so that they won’t block anyone from getting out.
      btw the european policies about car seats on board are very strict, they are only allowed for children under 2, only facing backwards and attached with the aircraft seat seatbelt, but still they can only be used during crusing altitude, they are not certified for critical phses of the flight therfore for take-off, landing and whenever seatbelt sign is on child has to be strapped with infant seatbelt at adults lap provided on board.

  11. So our situation is this. We have an 18 month old child. We bought a package holiday including a long haul flight to Thailand. We input the child’s age etc and pay. Afterwards we discover that with the airline (Finnair) we are not going to be given even a “cot” place (even though we are traveling with an infant) and we are expected to sit for 11 hours with a 2 year old on our lap, overnight. Now assume all goes perfectly and we can get her to sleep. Do you not think that a passenger next to us would be polite and not ask us to move and wake up the small child/baby? I would say that would be more rude to be honest. So that is regardless of if we have the hammock or not. Hopefully the airline is sensible and seat us appropriately and to be honest I would ask for a window seat so as not to disturb others.

    The inherent problem the hammock tries to solve is that airlines do not provide adequate facilities for children until they are over 2 and even purchasing them a seat (like we would) is not technically possible on their websites e.g. Finnair. So parents are left trying to find ingenious solutions that are caused by the airlines actually.

    In any case for the hammock, I totally agree and it should work in such a way that it does not effect other passengers. In terms of inclination of the seat infront I would not see this as a problem as long as the design of the hammock does not effect the passenger infronts ability to incline at will. Unfortunately this design is not good for that. By having a roasted hammock 90 degrees that would limit effects for the baby and probably be safer also.

    Free movement of passengers as said before is a problem anytime you sit next to anyone sleeping regardless of if they are a baby. In the hammocks case a quick release feature helps resolve that.

    Safety I cannot comment because I do not know the regulations but I tried to Google the weight capacity of an airline table and could not find anything but that would be the concern for me.

    Alternatively the airlines could avoid the problem all together. Always ensure the possibility to buy a greatly reduced priced seat for infants and perhaps even have seats on the plane designed so they could be “transformed” into an infant seat some way or design planes to always have infant seats available for purchase and suitable for the size of someone less than 2 years old (especially on long haul flights). Guarantee anyone traveling long haul on a flight with an infant at least a crib space or space with extend leg room like row 1 for example. This would be better for all passengers as a happier baby is less likely to spend hours crying!! personally I don’t buy the baby crying and ear plug arguments as I used to fly a lot and always prayed for no babies near me! Ear plugs aren’t good when traveling with people and you want to be able to speak to them for example.

    Anyway to summarize, I think a better designed hammock could address some of these concerns but ultimately I would say it is the airlines responsibility to ensure a comfortable flight for all passengers and in my opinion, allowing under 2 year olds to get on long haul flights without suitable arrangements falls far short of this and that is at the cost not only to the parents and baby but also to all passengers.

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