Travel Tip of the Day: Don’t Hold Small Children on Your Lap on Airplanes

SeatsDon’t Hold Small Children on Your Lap on Airplanes
Last month, Peter Greenberg and CBS This Morning hosted a very informative segment on the safety of small children on airplanes. They were joined by former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) director Deborah Hersman, who’s currently trying to change the FAA regulations that state that children under the age of two can fly for free if they’re sitting on an adult’s lap. Because of those regulations, 85 percent of parents hold their children during flights to save money.

But it turns out that that regulation is 50 years old and dates back to a time when seatbelts were not required in cars. They say the answer is “safety restraint seats for children under the age of two. If a child is between 0 and 20 pounds, he or she should be placed in a rear-facing safety seat, and if a child is between 20 and 40 pounds, he or she should be placed in a forward-facing seat.” Otherwise, kids will be turned into missiles if the plane hits turbulence or stops short on takeoff or landing. Watch the segment (and more on Peter Greenberg’s site) for more.

 

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Johnny Jet
I used to be afraid to fly and at times even leave the house! I conquered my fear (long story) and now I travel to 20+ countries a year sharing my firsthand knowledge, tips and deals with friends, family and readers. Please sign up to our free newsletters and tell your friends!

4 Comments on "Travel Tip of the Day: Don’t Hold Small Children on Your Lap on Airplanes"

  1. Two comments:
    – I saw Lufthansa provide a seat belt for an infant. It had a loop onto the parents belt and a buckle for the baby. I wonder how well they work.
    – One of the main reasons the FAA not changing the rules on lap babies if they did, statistics show more people would drive. Even with a car seat, driving has a much higher accident rate than planes. So more babies get hurt in car accidents than on planes. Not that statistics help if its your baby that get hurt; so I agree with buying a ticket if you can afford to.

  2. Gotta disagree. Placing a child on the seat in one of those seatbelts is going to do virtually nothing. I would be interested in any statistics you have regarding how many times lap infants were turned into missiles during a crash/incident that didnt also kill the rest of the passengers. Until I see some numbers, I will assume this is another attempt to raise the cost of travel.

  3. Something I find infuriating is that for take off and landing, airlines make you remove your infant from infant carriers (like the Baby Bjorn) which secure the baby to your body. Not one flight attendant has ever been able to explain the rationale behind this policy (I always slip the baby back in after the flight attendants have taken their seats because I know that I would never be able to hold onto my child in the case of a sudden deceleration.)

    • Absolutely! The snuggling type carrier is much safer than our arms when any accident situation occurs. I wish the airlines would rethink that policy. And yes, I have put my child back into the carrier once attendants ate seated.

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