Should Babies Wear Seatbelts on Planes?

child flying on an airplaneIf you are heading out of town for the holidays will you be flying with your small children? There is currently a debate on whether children two and under should be required to have their own seat equipped with an approved child restraint system. The Federal Aviation Administration currently allows parents to hold small children in their lap throughout an entire flight. The FAA along with the National Transportation Safety Board believe it is safer for toddlers to always have their own seats with a CRS. However, they are afraid that a mandate will lead parents to drive, which puts small children more at risk. If you are planning to fly with your children over the holidays and plan on utilizing a CRS keep these tips from the FAA in mind:

  • Make sure a harness-type restraint is approved and has “FAA Approved in Accordance with 14CFR 21.305(d), Approved for Aircraft Use Only” on it.
  • Measure the width of your CRS. It should fit in most airplane seats if it is no wider than 16 inches.
  • Ask your airline for a discounted fare. Buying a ticket for your child is the only way to guarantee that you will be able to use a CRS.
  • Reserve adjoining seats. A CRS should be placed in a window seat so it will not block the escape path in an emergency. Do not place a CRS in an exit row.
  • If you do not buy a ticket for your child, ask if your airline will allow you to use an empty seat. If your airline’s policy allows this, avoid the busiest days and times to increase the likelihood of finding an empty seat next to you.
  • Ask your airline if they can provide a CRS for your child. If so, you may not be permitted to bring your own CRS on board, and may need to check it as baggage.
  • Arrange for your airline to help you if you need help making a connecting flight. Carrying a CRS, a child, and luggage through a busy airport can be challenging.
  • Pack a bag of toys and snacks to keep your child occupied during the flight.

What’s your stance, do you believe small children should be required to have their own seat with a CRS, or do you think children 2 and under are safe in their parents’ lap?

Image from Southwest Airlines