The National Transportation Safety Board is asking the Federal Aviation Administration to require children under 2 to be in separate seats and restraints on airplanes.
The board is using a deadly plane crash in Montana to revive the debate about whether infants and toddler should be allowed to not buy a ticket and sit on their parents’ laps during flights.
“A 10-seater plane crashed in Butte in March 2009, killing all 14 people aboard, including 7 children.”
Here’s the kicker:
“The FAA says it will look at the new recommendation. In the past, it has said the cost of buying an extra airline ticket could force some families with small children to take to the highways instead of the skies, which would result in even more child injuries and deaths.”
I am really torn on this topic. I can completely understand parents not wanting to pay full price for infant and toddler seat especially when you know you are going to be holding them a lot. (The toddler wants to run and the baby is going to want to be comforted because of the pressure changes.)
When I worked for a trade magazine in New York I covered a story at an FAA training facility (I think it was FAA) and then took me through a simulated plane crash. They talked a lot about turbulence and how people make light of it but that you should always have your seat belt on in your seat.
I think I flew one time each with Rose and Walsh as lap babies and paid for seats the other times. I kind of remember when Rose was small there was a “child” seat price – which was like half price. Does anyone else remember that?
When I did fly with my kids as lap babies, I kept them both sort of hooked to me in the sling. I remember the flight attendant wouldn’t let me hook one of them (maybe Rose) into the Baby Bjorn because she said they had to be able to get them off of you in the event of a crash. (Meaning: get them off of your dead burning body!! I was comforted by that.) But they didn’t mind me sitting the baby in my lap and then putting the sling over our heads and around our middles similar to a wide seat belt. I felt like if there was turbulence the sling would help keep the baby attached to me.
So what do you think: Should parents be allowed to have small children (generally under 2 I think) sit on their laps? Is it safe? Should parents be required to pay for seats? Should they be full price? Should the airlines come up with a “child” price? If we choose to have them as lap babies, should be we be allowed to sue the airline in the event they are hurt?
What do you think of the concept that you’re more likely to injure your child driving than flying? (We all know that stat that you are safer in the air but it’s odd to see it in writing.)