Monday, June 21, 2010

CBS, NHTSA: Babies Should Have Own Seats on Airplanes

As we head into the summer travel season, NHTSA issued an advisory for parents to buy their babies their own seats on planes.  There several sobering moments in this story that aired recently on CBS' Early Show, but I gasped when a mother recounted losing hold of her 2 year old during a turbulent flight, and watched his body slam into the overhead cargo compartment.  Thankfully the child did not suffer any permanent injuries.

Earlier this year, I compared holding a baby on your lap in an airplane to holding a baby in your lap on a roller coaster.  Airplanes travel faster and higher than roller coasters, so what's crazy at 700 feet shouldn't even be allowed at 3,000 feet.  And if babies are required to be in approved restraints when riding on the ground, shouldn't they be even more protected in the air?

For parents who do choose to buy seats for their children under the age of 2 (individual seats are required for anyone older), but want to lighten their loads:  infant seats can be installed without their bases, and children 22-44 pounds can use the CARES Kids Fly Safe Travel Harness, which costs less than $75 and can fit in a tote bag.

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