Traveling by plane with babies: airlines call for changes in rules for safety
Traveling with children under 2 years old is often accompanied by airline benefits: a free (or almost free) child ticket. So parents keep their kids on their laps during the flight. The industry association is calling for an end to this booking practice for safety reasons.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) warns that traveling in the arms of parents may not be the best option. The agency notes that the safest place for your child under the age of two on a U.S. airplane is in an approved child restraint system (CRS) or device. Parents will not be able to hold their child securely in their lap, especially during unexpected turbulence, which is the leading cause of childhood injuries on an airplane," Travel+Leisure reports.
"We've recently seen airplanes hit turbulence and drop 4,000 feet in a split second," Sarah Nelson, international president of the CWA, told the Washington Post. - "The G-forces are not something that even the most loving mother or father can protect and hold their child from. It is simply physically impossible."
In this regard, Nelson told the newspaper that the union is pushing for a rule change that would require all passengers to have their own booster seat, regardless of their age - an issue the union raised at the Federal Aviation Administration's safety summit in Northern Virginia last week.
Nelson told the Washington Post that she is still disturbed by the horrific memories of the 1989 crash landing in Iowa, when three infants were injured in the crash and one child died.
"Unfortunately, this has been a priority for our union for more than 30 years," Nelson said in an interview with the newspaper. - "We need to ensure that children are safe on the plane and in their own seats with proper restraints to make sure this never happens again.
For older children, the Department of Transportation is encouraging airlines to accommodate families together for free by launching an online family seat dashboard that details the policies of the 10 largest U.S. airlines. So far, only American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and Alaska Airlines have committed to the DOT to offer free family seats by including this guarantee in their customer service plans.