hypothetical question - car vs. airplane lap baby - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 72 Old 11-30-2008, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by lexbeach View Post
I think either choice (driving or flying w/ lap baby) would be perfectly safe, statistically speaking, but I think flying with a lap baby would absolutely be safer, no question.

Car crashes are the #1 killer of kids, but even still the chance of having your child die in a car crash is incredibly small.

I personally HATE flying, so I'm not sure what I would choose. But if statistical safety is your #1 concern, I definitely think flying is the way to go.

Lex
Thanks... that's what I was thinking when I stopped to analyze it... And it's possible that even the cost of 3 tickets will be too much and we'll drive anyway... just remains to be seen.

I have to roll things around in my head for awhile....

-Angela
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#62 of 72 Old 11-30-2008, 01:54 PM
 
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The question is what IS the safest choice? I know that flying is safer than driving *in general* I don't know -statistically- if it's still safer for the lap baby to be on a plane rather than in a car....

-Angela
Yes, per mile traveled it is significantly safer to fly, even as a lap baby.
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#63 of 72 Old 11-30-2008, 02:05 PM
 
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Some numbers I dug up and posted elsewhere:

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During 1981 to Nov 1996, there were 252 reports of turbulence affecting major air carriers and 863 passengers received minor injuries, 63 received serious injuries and 2 passengers died.


2 deaths over a 15-year period? Over 750 million people are expected to fly in an airplane this year alone... That means about 10 billion passengers flew during that 15-year period, giving a death rate of 0.2 per billion.


But just to be thorough, the rate of serious injury is 63 per 11.25 billion passengers, or about 6 per billion. Compare that to the rate of death of young children in car accidents, which is about 5 per 100 000 per year, or 50 000 per billion. And that is just deaths, not injuries. Anyone who would refuse to fly without a car seat yet would ever put their child in a car (even with a car seat) is being hypocritical, because the former is safer by many orders of magnitude.
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#64 of 72 Old 11-30-2008, 02:09 PM
 
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Some more detail on how to interpret those numbers:

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The statistics I found show that there is a death rate of children in car accidents of 5/100 000/year. The best statistics I could find on airline turbulence deaths was 0.2/billion boardings, for all passengers, including both adults and infants. Note that since we are interested in car seat-preventable deaths, I am not going to look at the death rate from airplane crashes, where being in a car seat is not likely to be the determining factor in survival.

So to make these numbers comparable, you should first convert both statistics to either deaths per trip or deaths per mile travelled. For a very rough guess, say the average kid travels somewhat more than 10 miles/day by car, so 5000 miles/year, and the average plane flight is 1000 miles. So the numbers become 1 car accident death per 100 million miles vs 0.2 air turbulence deaths per trillion miles.

Now, we know infants are in more danger than adults in air turbulence. How much more? 10x? 100x? Let's go with 100x, which would mean infants suffer 20 air turbulence deaths per trillion miles. These numbers, which I think are fairly generous, bring the difference in death rate down to 1:2000. (Please check my math!)

I think it is reasonable to assume that most children traveling in cars are restrained, while most children traveling by air are not. (At least that is my experience.) So these numbers suggest that, mile per mile, air travel WITHOUT a car seat is 2000x safer than car travel WITH a car seat.
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#65 of 72 Old 11-30-2008, 02:14 PM
 
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Don't know when you will be traveling but I would never put a baby under 6 months for 15+ hours in a carseat. His poor spine. I think those bucket seats are meant for two hours max. Even with lots of breaks in between, it can't be good.

Definitely lap baby in plane.

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#66 of 72 Old 11-30-2008, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the stats!

-Angela
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#67 of 72 Old 11-30-2008, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by RomanGoddess View Post
Don't know when you will be traveling but I would never put a baby under 6 months for 15+ hours in a carseat. His poor spine. I think those bucket seats are meant for two hours max. Even with lots of breaks in between, it can't be good.

Definitely lap baby in plane.
It'll be late May, so he'll be nearly a year. And he's been out of his bucket and in a cushy boulevard since about 2 months

-Angela
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#68 of 72 Old 11-30-2008, 09:34 PM
 
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Bit late to this - but another vote for a lap baby here.
I've done it before and will do it again. Partly because I can't really afford to buy the extra seat (it's all I can do to get the money together for my own seat home). Partly (and probably most pertinently) because I live in Europe and travel to Ireland. Remember the PP commenting about an Irish airline that wouldn't allow car seats at all? Well, that's how I get home. Even if I wanted to take another airline, there are no guidelines, rules or laws in Europe as to car seats on planes, so I would likely have to buy a number of different car seats in the hope that one of them might be allowed on the plane I happen to be taking. And partly because DD absolutely hates with a burning passion being in a car seat and would scream non-stop the whole 2.5 hours home. I'd bet that they'd probably have to have an emergency landing along the way to kick us off. She's much happier being held by me, and so are the other 200? passengers!
And I'm quite convinced that air travel, with or without a car seat, is far far safer than car travel.

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#69 of 72 Old 12-01-2008, 12:32 AM
 
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Strictly from personal experience flying, that of my dh, and my friends (who fly weekly), I think turbulence is more likely than a car accident.

I'm not sure statistically it's actually easily comparable. You would need data in which lap babies (less than 2 years old) were in an airplane during turbulence. That does not seem to be how the data is reported.

I've been on numerous flights, and only a couple did not have incidences of turbulence.

I'm certainly far out-numbered, but I find it much more predictable that I would not have a car accident than that random turbulence would not happen.


We've driven almost 5000 miles with my boys in one trip and 3000 miles in another. Some parts were boring, but mostly it was really fun. We had a DVD player, DS games, books, songs, food, and we usually left early in the morning, sleeping when it was near dinner time (so not driving "off-traffic" times).
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#70 of 72 Old 12-01-2008, 12:44 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamaverdi View Post
Strictly from personal experience flying, that of my dh, and my friends (who fly weekly), I think turbulence is more likely than a car accident.

I'm not sure statistically it's actually easily comparable. You would need data in which lap babies (less than 2 years old) were in an airplane during turbulence. That does not seem to be how the data is reported.

I've been on numerous flights, and only a couple did not have incidences of turbulence.

I'm certainly far out-numbered, but I find it much more predictable that I would not have a car accident than that random turbulence would not happen.


We've driven almost 5000 miles with my boys in one trip and 3000 miles in another. Some parts were boring, but mostly it was really fun. We had a DVD player, DS games, books, songs, food, and we usually left early in the morning, sleeping when it was near dinner time (so not driving "off-traffic" times).
Well, sure, *some* turbulence has happened on most every flight I've been on. But I think the dangerous kind of turbulence, the kind that requires passengers to go into the emergency position, or that causes parents to lose hold of their lap babies is much, much less likely. Especially these days when the pilots have the technology to "see" where the turbulence is and avoid it (by flying higher or lower or taking a different route). I don't think I've ever been on a flight that DIDN'T have a lap baby on it. If lap babies were getting hurt in any significant number, we'd definitely be hearing about it.

Lex

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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#71 of 72 Old 12-01-2008, 01:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lexbeach View Post
Well, sure, *some* turbulence has happened on most every flight I've been on. But I think the dangerous kind of turbulence, the kind that requires passengers to go into the emergency position, or that causes parents to lose hold of their lap babies is much, much less likely. Especially these days when the pilots have the technology to "see" where the turbulence is and avoid it (by flying higher or lower or taking a different route). I don't think I've ever been on a flight that DIDN'T have a lap baby on it. If lap babies were getting hurt in any significant number, we'd definitely be hearing about it.
Of all the many flights I've taken, only 3 had lap children. I think when/where/what time you fly makes a huge difference.

I do agree we'd hear about it in significant numbers...but I don't agree that turbulence has to be severe to lose hold of someone wiggly.

I've had my drinks spill all over me, seen cart slam into a flight attendant, almost fallen over walking back from the bathroom...and I really don't fly that much anymore.

Back in the day, when I did fly more, and surveying my friends and family who fly frequently: most trips, no lap children (business or off-hours) and most trips some turbulence.

Obviously, YMMV.

Eta: I'm not saying I'm being objective. I am saying, I don't think the data is very easy to compare.
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#72 of 72 Old 12-01-2008, 06:49 PM
 
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If the safety breakdown (safest to least) is: babe in seat on plane, babe on lap in plane, babe in seat in car...

I would absolutely fly babe on lap. I've flown with dd1 on lap before, a mid-length flight and would do it again hands down.

We (dh and I) both felt comfortable.

Full time working mom to two bright and busy little girls! treehugger.gif
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