Found this article on Airplanes and lap seats - Mothering Forums
Life with a Toddler > Found this article on Airplanes and lap seats
EmeraldStar8's Avatar EmeraldStar8 12:05 AM 01-02-2003
There was a discussion a month and a bit ago about kids and seats on planes. I came across this article and thought that i would share it with the mum's in this section.

An End to Lap Travel on Airplanes?

All children need their own seats on airplanes -- and children under the age of two or weighing less than 40 pounds, should be securely fastened in child restraint seats on planes, according to new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Turbulence leading cause of injury
Currently, adults are not required to purchase separate seats for children under age two, and can instead place young children on their laps during air travel. The Federal Aviation Administration supports the use of safety seats, but does not currently mandate their use. Children weighing more than 40 pounds should be secured in their own seat with an aircraft seat belt, according to the new AAP policy statement. Seat belts and child safety restraints are necessary to protect children from the effects of turbulence, which is the leading cause of nonfatal injury to aircraft passengers. Other AAP recommendations include:

Pursuing technological improvements for child restraint systems on aircraft.
Educating airline personnel on the importance of, and the requirements for, age-appropriate restraint use on aircraft.
Making "loaner" child safety seats available to families traveling on aircraft.
Offering discounted fares for restrained children.

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As in motor vehicles, children younger than age one and weighing less than 20 pounds should be placed in a rear-facing, properly secured child safety seat on an airplane. Children older than one year, weighing between 20 and 40 pounds, should be securely fastened in a forward-facing seat. Parents should select child safety seats that are labeled for use on aircraft. The policy also recommends that pediatricians convey the importance of proper child restraint for children traveling on airplanes, including information on appropriate child safety seats. You may contact the FAA (800) FAA-SURE, or for more information on safe air travel for children.
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peggy's Avatar peggy 12:55 PM 01-02-2003
Thanks for the info!!

AmyB's Avatar AmyB 03:51 PM 01-03-2003
I'm still wondering why the FAA cares so much about this since almost no infants are ever injured in plane crashes.

The estimated number of infant lives the rule would save is 3 every 5 years. You might argue that it's worth it to save even one life. However, if the expense of an extra seat causes people to drive with their babies instead of fly the result will actually be more total infant deaths due to car crashes.

The fact is, despite good intent, this rule would result in extra expense and hassle for traveling families and zero additional safety for babies.

oceanmommy's Avatar oceanmommy 04:51 PM 01-03-2003
almost no infants are ever injured in plane crashes....The fact is, despite good intent, this rule would result in..... zero additional safety for babies.

Amy, do you have any stats or studies to back this up or is it just your opinion ?

I find it hard to believe it is just 3 children over 5 years...

and besides, I wouldnt want one of those kids to be MY kid. She is always buckled in, on a plane, in a car, just like the adults.

Why wouldn't we buckle babies in when kids and adults have to be buckled in by law ? : that just doesn't make sense to me.
Lucky Charm's Avatar Lucky Charm 05:23 PM 01-03-2003
I always, always brought a car seat on board paying extra $$ for the seat! only once did i pay 1/2 fare. its just safer with them buckled. turbulence is so unpredictable.

If the rule saves one life, its worth it...especially if its your own childs. The extra expense and hassle *is* worth it to save a life.

I agree with oceanmommy...if by law we have to buckle ourselves and older kids, then the rules should apply for an infant.
EmeraldStar8's Avatar EmeraldStar8 07:58 PM 01-04-2003
Hi all. Thank you for those of you who read the article and also a big thank you to those that agree with buckling your child in. I recently flew from Australia to New Zealand in December and when i flew back to Australia we had hit heaps of turbulence all the times it was unpredictable.

My son isn't 2 until August so i had paid 1/4 of my fare for him.

But if i could i would of paid full fare for the seat next to me and brought a carseat with me but because i changed fliight days there was no spare seat, and i wouldn't of had a carseat. Even though on the flights i go on they give you a seat belt which goes through yours and around the child.

You can't exactly drive across ocean.
dentente's Avatar dentente 01:03 AM 01-05-2003
I always buy my toddler a separate seat. This holiday season we travelled for the first time without the carseat in the cabin. It was rough at first but she got the hang of it and now I see that this is the best way to do it. At 20 months she was able to get over the weirdness of sitting in her own seat strapped in with the belt. We had a very turbulent flight and the belts were absolutely necessary, in my opinion.

I have always payed about half-price for a seat for my daughter and that was about $150 round-trip this time to New York from the Bay Area. Not really unreasonable.

Thanks for the article!

Unreal's Avatar Unreal 01:23 AM 01-05-2003
Its been a while since I had the option of having ds1 on my lap while flying, but I still remember thinking to myself that it was always worth the extra money--not only do you have the seat for the babe, but you are also getting yourself that much more room for all your stuff!
I always flew with TONS of books/puzzles/toys for the babe--those layovers can be deadly with a bored kid!
I can't imagine having a diaperbag, a backpack of toys, and whatever else all crammed into the space they give you with one seat.

I'm also not much of a people person and enjoyed not having some strangers elbow jabbing into my ribs

Of course we didn't fly that often and had to time trips around when we had money for the extra ticket...
Not really an issue anymore since DH won't fly--now we just drive (can you tell how much I love cross country car trips?)

AmyB's Avatar AmyB 05:01 PM 01-05-2003
Originally posted by oceanmommy
. Amy, do you have any stats or studies to back this up or is it just your opinion ?

Ironically, the stats are in the AAP bulletin recommending airline safety restraints

This report states that there is almost zero danger to airline passengers but nonethelessrecommends infant restraints on the basis that restraints are necessary in cars.

It's a totally false to draw an analogy between car crashes and airplane crashes. Cars are a highly dangerous mode of transport and commercial airlines are very safe. However, airline crashes are often fatal to everyone on board regardless of seatbelt use.

The stat about the number of possible lives saved came from a Cato Institute report

I don't always agree with Libertarians but I think they're right on this one.

Kishor'sMami's Avatar Kishor'sMami 03:37 PM 01-08-2003
Wow, I haven't been here in a while... but it sure is good to be back!

I will be flying to India on four days! and got one of those Baby B-air carriers that hook on to your seat belt. I didn't get an extra seat, it's way to expensinve. But I still have pay almost $300 dollars just for bringing my baby on board! even though, he wont be using an extra seat. (Ds is a year old.)

Let's see how the Baby B-air thing works. I'm a bit nervous flying alone with ds on a 22 hour flight with one stop. wish me luck!

take care,
ameliabedelia's Avatar ameliabedelia 05:57 PM 01-08-2003
The use of car seats on planes needs to be evaluated differently than for cars.

I am hesitant of any reccomendations regarding safety for planes, based on cars.

Planes don't get rear-ended, stop suddenly, swerve suddenly, hit icy patches, skid, run into anything,suddenly get flat tires etc.

Plane safety is much different from car safety.

The chance of surviving a car crash is quite good. Most poeple have on average 7 fender benders in their lifetime. Seatbelts do save lives in cars.

The chance of surviving a plane crash is very slim, and seatbelts and car seats don't save people during plane crashes.

The only reason for having a baby in a car seat is during turbulance. However turbulance is a different kind of motion than sudden stops and starts in cars. Turbulance doesn't carry the same type of inertia that sudden stops, starts etc in cars does.

I think that slings and other baby carriers, which hold a baby to an adult, should protect a child during turbulance. Turbulance is a boucing, or rocking motion. It can be sudden, but it doesn't have the force or inertia involved in cars with sudden stops or starts.

The aforementioned article said that "like in cars, infants should be in rear facing seats until 20 pounds ....." The reason for that for cars is to protect the child's heavy head if you get rear ended or hit. Those situations don't occur on planes.

This is just my thoughts. I have traveled with my baby on a plane without a car seat. I held her in the sling, and it worked great (she could nurse when needed). I felt very safe during so.
Planes are different from cars, I would never take her out of the car seat while in a moving vehicle.

If the FAA comes up with a good reason to have babies in car seat, than I will put my babe in a seat on the plane. However, you can't compare planes to cars.

Amelia and Heidi Marie 2/13/02
kama'aina mama's Avatar kama'aina mama 12:20 AM 01-09-2003
In terms of logistics until all airports get on the same page about what I can and cannot bring past the security point (Xray machines) I can't imagine lugging my carseat along. An active toddler and a midsize bag full of entertainment for her I can handle for an hour or two in an airport but add a big clumsy car seat and then tell me I can't use the luggage cart I paid two bucks for? Now I am totally screwed! I can't keep up with her, God forbid either one of us needs to go to the bathroom and I can forget about getting anything to eat.
MinnieMouse's Avatar MinnieMouse 03:13 PM 01-09-2003
I've read too much info that talks about the dangers of unsecured infants in airplanes.

I think the most compelling was a research paper done for a doctorate that pulled together all the current info at that time. It showed that in severe turbulance or survivable crashes having babies in car seats was the difference between life and death. Specifically they looked at the large crash in Souix City, Iowa a number of years ago. EVERY lab baby on that flight died, not from the emergency landing but from the smoke from the subsequent fire. Lap babies, during an emergency landing are placed on the floor between your feet. These babies all slid all over the floor during the landing and they were lost in the smoke and confusion. Each one died of smoke inhalation.

I know that the chances of an emergency are slim. But I wouldn't be able to live with myself if we were in that situation and my dd wasn't in a carseat....THAT is something I can control.

Dh and I made the decision early on that if we wanted to fly somewhere we either bought a seat for dd or didn't go. Simple as that. If we couldn't afford a seat, we didn't go. If that meant not seeing family for the holidays, then they were told why...we aren't taking chances with our dd's safety, no discussion.

We recently flew to FL with dd for the first time and it was great. We had NO problems taking her car seat...not through security or the planes. We even had a sprint across one airport to make a connecting flight and everything went smoothly.

Here are some great links to more info about traveling with a car seat....
This was compiled by a car seat tech. This is a great compilation of info and it has great tips about installing and using seats on planes as well. There are some great links on the bottom of the page as well.
A link from the above page, discusses why it's even MORE important to remain RFing on an airplane.

The original doctoral thesis that I read years ago is no longer at the link I had. I'll look and see if I can find it again...if so I'll post back.

I know this is a touchy subject, I just wanted to share the info I've read that helped me make the decision to keep dd as safe as possible.


AmyB's Avatar AmyB 09:33 PM 01-09-2003
a number of years ago. EVERY lab baby on that flight died, not from the emergency landing but from the smoke from the subsequent fire. [/B][/QUOTE]

I think you are right that this is the crash data that is being used as evidence that car seats on airplanes could save lives, and if these babies had been in car seats they might not have died.

However, the circumstances of this crash are extremely uncommon. Let's say a plane seat for the infant seat costs $100, then the question is whether you think it is worth $100 to protect against a 1 in 8 million chance of a life threatening accident.

You might respond that you would pay any amount to protect your baby, yet your baby is in more danger than that from home accidents. Also people routinely risk their baby's lives by driving in cars (the most common cause of infant death in the U.S.). Therefore it seems that level of risk that people are willing to expose an infant to is actually some number greater than zero. The question for each of us is how far above zero risk we are willing to go.

Personally, I am not willing to expose my baby to much unnecessary risk. However, what these statistics say to me is sharing an airline seat is acceptably safe.

I hasten to add that I would never, never, never let dd ride in a car without her safety seat because that is more of a safety risk than I'm willing to take.

simonee's Avatar simonee 12:24 AM 01-10-2003
I'm with Amy on this one.

Maybe I'm getting too cynical, but I find it an interesting coincidence that children need their own seats now that the airlines have seats free all the time. When they could easily sell the seats full price, children didn't need their own seats.

Like, how children need carseats for longer and longer now that the car manufacturers have developed SUV's. When cars only fit 2 car seats, they only "needed" them for 2 and then 4 years. But now that they want to sell us bigger cars with extra seats, children suddenly need them till they're 60 lbs/6 years, so that anyone with more than two kids is pretty much forced to buy a big expensive SUV that guzzles a lot of expensive taxed gasoline?

I wonder who pays for these studies. I wouldn't be surprised if it's the people who stand to gain financially by these results :
MinnieMouse's Avatar MinnieMouse 12:29 PM 01-10-2003
To answer your question...yes I do think $100 is worth it to protect my child even with a 1 in 8 million chance. It's the same reason I'm careful with vaccinations....there is such a slim chance that dd will be THE statistic, but I'm not willing to put her in the pool without some strategies to protect her (we vaccinate but on a different schedule, with some changes).

And I disagree with the timing argument. This recommendation has been before the FAA for close to 10yrs. Safety advocates have called for equal protection for infants for a long time. It's sad to say that our pets are better protected on an airplane than our children. And the whole booster seat advocates have been recommending changes for a while is just recently that the legislatures are waking up and passing laws about it. Mostly because people assumed that since the laws generally only went to 4yo then it was safe to not have older ones in seats. Oh and the actual recommendation isn't 6 and 60lbs it's 8 and 80lbs but some laws aren't comprehensive enough. The new laws in NJ and soon to be enacted in PA are the only ones I think that go to 8 and 80lbs....which have been lauded by child safety experts.

There is a lot of great info on one of the first site in my last post about booster seat use as well...there are links on the left side of the page to it.

Like I said before. I just wanted to share the info that helped me make my decision. I think it's compelling and worth the read.