Quick hits of news and fresh ideas for busy parents.

Car Seat Redux

If you're headed over the river and through the airport to Grandma's house this holiday season, be mindful of the airlines' policies on car seats.

New fees for checked luggage may affect car seats. Some airlines will charge you for checking a car seat at the curb or counter, or require you to carry it to the gate and check it there for free.

If you're traveling with young children, it's an important question to ask, said Bill Purpura, spokesman for AAA Ohio Auto.

"You definitely need to call and find out what their policy is," he said. "You don't want to get to the gate and find out that they're not going to take it."

If the airline addresses the policy on its website, print out the relevant information and bring it to the airport, added Bethanne Harrison-Brown, a travel consultant at The Travel Authority in Indianapolis.

While children are not required to sit in a car seat on the plane, you'll need the seat at your destination if you intend to travel by car.

Most car rental agencies will allow you to reserve a car seat when you rent a car, but they do not guarantee they will have a seat upon your arrival, Harrison-Brown said. She recommends calling the counter at the location where you'll pick up the car to determine whether they have the seat you need.

"Call again a week or so before you leave" to remind them of your needs, Harrison-Brown suggested.

It's also a good idea to ask how old the seat is, whether the manual is available and how seats are cleaned between uses, said Debbie Dubrow, who writes about traveling with children at deliciousbaby.com.

The manual is particularly helpful because, when you rent a seat and a car, "you are installing a seat you don't know into a car you don't know," said the Seattle mother of three.

If you're leery about renting a seat from a car rental agency, find out whether there is a store in your destination city that rents baby gear. A store that specializes in children's products will likely have more choices, Dubrow said.

Dubrow also suggests buying a car seat and leaving it with family members if you visit often. If you're visiting a large city it may be possible to use only public transportation and avoid car seats altogether,
she said.

"There's just not a great answer," she said.

-Melissa Kossler Dutton

Holiday Jobs

What would the retail world do without moms every holiday season? And we're not talking about stimulating the economy with spending power. We're talking about moms staffing stores, call centers and warehouses for the surges in business that come every November and December.

The outlook this year for seasonal employment is great, said Diana Blevins, regional director for Columbus-based human resources and staffing company Acloche.

The first signs came in September when Cincinnati-based Macy's, with eight department stores in Central Ohio, announced plans to hire 65,000 extra workers this holiday season around the country.

"Retail has planned for a pretty decent year," Blevins said. "It's giving everyone a little encouragement about the economy."

Prospects continue to improve, but if you haven't already secured a part-time job, you'll need to get moving. Here are some of Blevins' tips to improve your chances:
Check out a company's website before applying and find out exactly what the position is. Show enthusiasm and dress appropriately for an interview. Hours can be variable and changes to a work schedule can be last-minute with seasonal employment. If you can be flexible about your schedule, let a prospective employer know it. Come to the interview with at least one reference's name and contact information. Fill out an application thoroughly. Many applicants assume that because a job is "just seasonal or part-time," all that detail doesn't matter, said Blevins, but a failure to complete a form thoroughly can automatically disqualify your application, especially if it's filed online. -Jane Hawes