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Infant Traveling, Car Seat Vs Lap Debate?  
User currently offlineIN2FLYING From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 66 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5502 times:

Hello All

A good friend of mine is flying via Spirit with his 10 month old daughter. When I mentioned to him that he should check to see if his carseat was FAA certified he balked at my suggestion and told me he was carrying his daughter on his lap, which obviously some people ultimately do.

He asked my opinion which was, I would never do it as I thought it was not nearly as safe vs. having his daughter in a FAA approved car seat. I tried even as an example to tell him I wouldnt drive down the road in my car with my son on someone's lap in my car. I personally think people who do that carry infants on planes are nuts and are ignorant to the risks involved to them when they are flying.

He said he called his pedetrician and Spirit Air and both gave him the thumbs up stating that was ok because she was less than 2 years old. Can someone provide me with any facts, opinions or links to this conversaton.
I believe that common sense should win out on this one.


Thanks

IN2FLYING

20 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCha747 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 783 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5485 times:

I'm too lazy to search this, but I've started and responded to several threads on this subject. I buy a ticket and place my son in a carseat for every flight that he has been on. Some airlines will allow you to use an empty seat if available, but I never have taken the chance. At least he has like 5000 FF miles since his birthday 1 year ago. All airlines have different regs so best to check Spirit's website. Once they fall asleep, it leaves the parent free to relax, read, drink the obligatory free soda/juice/coffee, or even take a snooze on their own. And if there is turbulence, you can continue to sleep knowing that the baby is strapped in. To me it's a no-brainer. The infant MUST be placed at the window though so no good planewatching for maw or paw.

Also, if his child is over 22 lbs, the CARES device is another possibility. They need to download some info from the website though and also the American Airlines website as many FA's don't know about CARES. This is basically a new harness for older infants and toddlers so that parents don't have to lug heavy carseats onboard and through terminals.

http://www.kidsflysafe.com



You land a million planes safely, then you have one little mid-air and you never hear the end of it - Pushing Tin
User currently offlineAirCop From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5481 times:

Quoting Cha747 (Reply 1):
I buy a ticket and place my son in a carseat for every flight that he has been on. Some airlines will allow you to use an empty seat if available, but I never have taken the chance.

Ditto; can't imagine having a baby sitting on one's lap for a trans-continental flight. In my case as soon the plane was airborne the child fell right to sleep, and usually would sleep on the trip to BOS or IAD from SFO.


User currently offlineS5FA170 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 534 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5472 times:

From a flight attendant's point of view: It is ABSOLUTELY SAFEST to have your baby in an FAA-approved car seat. It is very, very rare for something to go wrong flying, we all know that. But when and if it does, the last thing you want to be doing is wishing your baby was strapped in. Even in turbulence, its safest for the baby to be restrained.

If your friend does not want to pay for an extra seat, have him bring his carseat along to the gate anyway. That way - if their is an open seat in the cabin - he should be permitted to bring his carseat into the cabin (rather than checking it like a stroller) and he would still get to use it.

As mentioned, the car seat does have to go in a window seat. Other factors also influence the location of an infant. These include emergency exit rows, infant lifevest locations, locations of additional oxygen masks.



Prepare doors for departure and cross-check.
User currently offlineAirCop From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5465 times:

Quoting Cha747 (Reply 1):
The infant MUST be placed at the window though so no good planewatching for maw or paw.

I was unaware that became a FAA mandate? Wonder what happens if the airline assigns you a B-C seat or on a wide body a middle section seat? Do you bump someone from a window seat? At least my kids are pass this stage so I don't have to deal with it anymore.


User currently offlineContnlEliteCMH From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1455 posts, RR: 44
Reply 5, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5465 times:

Quoting IN2FLYING (Thread starter):
He asked my opinion which was, I would never do it as I thought it was not nearly as safe vs. having his daughter in a FAA approved car seat. I tried even as an example to tell him I wouldnt drive down the road in my car with my son on someone's lap in my car. I personally think people who do that carry infants on planes are nuts and are ignorant to the risks involved to them when they are flying.

I think you're seriously overblowing this affair. There are only two risks associated with flight that are reduced by a car seat: turbulence, and incident not related to turbulence. The latter is a possibility but hardly a real risk as it is extremely improbable; that is, while cars collide everyday, it is a rare occurrence when people are killed or even injured while flying. Besides, the seat will only help your infant to survive an impact, assuming the impact is survivable. It's not going to help you get him out of the plane.

I think comparing the risk of injury while flying to the risk of injury in a car is over the top. You have a significant chance of being in an automobile collision; you have virtually no chance of any such incident on an airplane. In fact I find such a comparison to be... nuts and ignorant.

Turbulence is a greater concern to me as a father, but again, not a significant risk. Severe turbulence is an infrequent occurrence.

Could I drop my kid on his head while holding him on my lap? Sure. But I can do that in my house just as easily as on an airliner. Heck, in my case, my 21-month-old son shoves his 10-month-old brother onto his head with alarming frequency. Maybe I should just keep my younger son in a car seat to protect him!

I can't imagine holding my younger son on my lap for any appreciable length of time. He's a veritable giant. He weighs 27 pounds at 10 months and is 95th percentile for length and 99th percentile for head diameter. Now THAT is a reason to use a car seat on a plane! Were he to fall asleep on your lap you'd be exhausted by the time you land!



Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Anthropogenic Global Warming. All are matters of faith!
User currently offlineMarkHKG From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 960 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 5456 times:

Not to scare you, but from a book I keep referencing...

"In an impact producing 4 Gs or more, a fifteen pound infant could suddenly "weigh" in excess of sixty pounds, making it virtually impossible for a parent to hold."
-Johnson, D.A. Just In Case.



Release your seat-belts and get out! Leave everything!
User currently offlineJustPlaneNutz From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 518 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 5456 times:

Don't assume that the carseat is FAA-approved. Check the label. I have been denied boarding with one that wasn't.

Regarding the larger issue, I have gone both ways--carried kids and boughts seats for them. Just depends on cost and comfort. Safety wasn't an issue for me--plane crashes (and unrestrained folks bouncing off the ceiling) are exceedingly rare. Check your house for radon instead--the odds of dying from cancer if you breathe massive amounts of radon every minute of your entire life are slightly higher than those of dying in a plane crash.


User currently offlineCkfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5155 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 5428 times:

AA used to have the policy, and I think they still do, that an infant under age 2 will travel for one-half of what the parent pays, if occupying a seat. That is any fare, whether first class of a heavily-discounted coach ticket.

We've been putting our son in a car seat since his first flight, age 8 days (he's adopted), because:

a) I know what happens to unbelted objects. I had a briefcase dent the dashboard of my car, because it flew out of the front passenger seat when I hit the brakes, at 35mph. Think of what could happen, if a plane landing at 140 knots hit something.

b) Having a baby sit on a lap for even two hours is hard, particulaly with beverage service.

c) It's a hassle to carry a car seat into a cabin, but we need the car seat at our destination, whether it's grandpa's SUV or the sedan from Hertz/National/Avis.

d) Putting our son, now age 4, in a car seat makes it so much easier for him to look out the window.

FAA regs require a car seat to go in a seat, such that there are no seats between the car seat and the aisle. So, that means a window seat on a narrowbody and the window or the middle of a row on a wide body. On a 767, that would typically be seats A,E, and J and in coach. On a 747, that would be seats A, E, F, or K


User currently offlineRampart From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 3103 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5418 times:

So, are you going to show your friend these responses? It might work, but parents can be set in their ways!

As "active" as our toddler is flying  Yeah sure I can't imagine holding him in my lap for any duration. I have held him to comfort him on a particularly bad flight, but that's unusual. But my wife and I figure, we need the car seat anyhow, it's the safer choice on the plane, and frees us up to be a little more mobile in our own seats, which we need! One last thought, I would hate to subject an unknown companion in seat A to 2 parents plus 1 squirmy infant in seats B and C!

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 5):
Turbulence is a greater concern to me as a father, but again, not a significant risk. Severe turbulence is an infrequent occurrence.

I understand, but I have to disagree with your point here. Any danger is infrequent. But think about it: why do regular passengers need to belt up on the slightest indication of moderate turbulence? Not just for insurance regulations! Because severe turbulence -- and it does happen -- can send your head into the overhead bin. I don't want my toddler doing that! Airline seat belts are not designed for optimum safety for a child (I assume, I could be wrong), not to mention they are not the safer shoulder harneses found in a car. Therefore, a child is at risk even if belted into a regular airline seat, and even greater risk held in a parent's lap.

-Rampart


User currently offlineGreg3322 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 204 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 5414 times:

My two daughters, now ages 2 and 4, have flown many times, as early as 3 months old. I always would have them in a car seat as I couldn't imagine taking a chance of not having them strapped in. It cost more, but I can't take the chance. I flew this week and watched a flight attendant about fall trying to get to her seat because of turbulence. Could you imagine trying to hold a 25 lbs 18 month old? If nothing else, the comfort factor for you, the baby, and everyone around you should be considered.

Yes, the car seats need to be next to the window. If you are in the normal Y class, the infant carrier will just fit in between the seat and the tray table in front. Mine is about 30" by 17". It would block any chance of an emergency (or regular) exit if it wasn't at the window.

Greg


User currently offlineToulouse From Switzerland, joined Apr 2005, 2757 posts, RR: 58
Reply 11, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5390 times:

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 5):



Quoting JustPlaneNutz (Reply 7):

The two above posts are excellent

Quoting MarkHKG (Reply 6):
"In an impact producing 4 Gs or more, a fifteen pound infant could suddenly "weigh" in excess of sixty pounds, making it virtually impossible for a parent to hold."



Quoting Rampart (Reply 9):
Any danger is infrequent. But think about it: why do regular passengers need to belt up on the slightest indication of moderate turbulence?

Jusr referring to these last 2 above posts and many other posts here, there is something I don't understand. I see so far all the responses are from US a.netters, so many regulations are different in the US than here in Europe. What I'm getting at is you all go on about the child not being strapped in/holding child on lap... are you not provided with infant belts?? My 16 month-old baby has taken about 20 flights since he was born (short flight ranging from 50 minutes to a little over 2 hours) and we have always carried him on our laps. As we board the aircraft, we are always provided with an infant belt and asked if we know how to use it. So yes, while I will admit this is a matter that has concerned me somewhat, yet as my wife in in the industry and I've asked the opinions of a few F/A's I've met or know, I am now calmer about it. Our son sits on our lap and both myself or my wife (depending on who's carrying him) is strapped in along with junior strapped in for the entire duration of the flight.



Long live Aer Lingus!
User currently offlineMarkHKG From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 960 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5387 times:

Quoting Toulouse (Reply 11):
are you not provided with infant belts??

No, the US FAA does not permit infant seat belts ("belly belts") to be used. Testing has shown is is not an effective method of crash protection for an infant.

http://www.flightsafety.org/ccs/ccs_nov94_feb95.pdf



Release your seat-belts and get out! Leave everything!
User currently offlineToulouse From Switzerland, joined Apr 2005, 2757 posts, RR: 58
Reply 13, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 5356 times:

Quoting MarkHKG (Reply 12):
No, the US FAA does not permit infant seat belts ("belly belts") to be used. Testing has shown is is not an effective method of crash protection for an infant.

http://www.flightsafety.org/ccs/ccs_...5.pdf

Many thanks for the link MarkHKG, made interesting and rater sobering reading. I wonder how come this method has been accepted by authorities here in Europe?



Long live Aer Lingus!
User currently offlineMarkHKG From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 960 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 5353 times:

Quoting Toulouse (Reply 13):
I wonder how come this method has been accepted by authorities here in Europe?

Presumably, they believe that SOME restraint is better than NO restraint. I have to tend to believe this. The most likely injury an infant is going to sustain in an aircraft accident (i.e. not being dropped or having coffee accidentally poured on them, both of which "human" error) is turbulence, particularly sudden clear air turbulence. A belly belt would prevent the infant from leaving your lap.

As pointed out previously, aviation crashes are comparatively much rarer, so one would argue that the cost/benefit of a car seat instead of holding your lap baby is outweighed. But I wouldn't say this is a none issue. Can you believe back in the day they used to recommend placing babies on the floor or against the bulkhead as their "brace" position if there was no baby seat? And even today the recommended brace position is just to hold your baby while leaning over your seat...if, God forbid, anyone was ever in this situation, I'm sure they would want to have their infant in a car safety seat instead of holding them.



Release your seat-belts and get out! Leave everything!
User currently offlineUPPERDECKFAN From Spain, joined Jun 2007, 992 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 5334 times:

What about when you're flying trasatlantic, I'd assume that ruling will depend on the carrier,

If flying an american carrier, FAA rules........if flying european carrier, EU rules......

I've a 6 month old baby and planning to fly LHR-SEA-LHR on BA with him later this year, just to make the long flight more comfortable we've been thinking on purchasing a seat and bring our EU standard car seat, what else should we be aware of for our flight???



744,742,741,772,773,762,732,735,738,752,727,717,DC10,DC9,M82,M87,319,320,321,343,346,L1011,CRJ2,CRJ9,E190,ATR42,DSH8,
User currently offlineStandby87 From Switzerland, joined Jul 2001, 536 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 5325 times:

Quoting UPPERDECKFAN (Reply 15):
I've a 6 month old baby and planning to fly LHR-SEA-LHR on BA with him later this year, just to make the long flight more comfortable we've been thinking on purchasing a seat and bring our EU standard car seat, what else should we be aware of for our flight???

Don't think "he's gone to sleep, I can relax and have a few drinks now":
It's hard to change a nappy (the baby's not yours) when you've knocked back 2 Bacardis and 3 minature wines.  

But seriously, seating is critical - I don't know the BA procedures these days, but the Bassinet/Bulkhead position gives you all another few precious inches even if he's too overweight e.g. later at 18 months, to use the cot.

Call BA and ask for it.

Call me mean, but I've never paid for an extra-seat for an under 2 year old.
I train for the journey by doing press-ups and having 8 hours sleep before the flight.

[Edited 2007-06-08 12:37:11]

[Edited 2007-06-08 12:37:34]

User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13005 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 5313 times:

While it would be ideal for a small baby to be in a FAA approved baby seat during flights and not have to pay for a seat for that child, the economics of airlines today means fewer empty or unsold seats where one can place a baby in it's car seat. Many families are reluctant to pay additional fare for the baby if they don't have or can get away with it as have tight budgets or are just improperly cheap. Many flights are so crowded that there may not be the additional seat available. I do agree that I would prefer a baby in it's own seat for reasons including any sudden movement of the aircraft in flight, possible turbulence and the comfort of the parent(s) or caretaker and the child as well.

User currently offlineIN2FLYING From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 66 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 5260 times:

Wow.

I never imagined this topic would create such good debate. After hearing all the points both pro and con, I will comfortably stick with my gut and believe the car seat is the better and safer way to go. Yea-Yea I know that vicious turbulence is very rare, but I want to take every precaution that I can. Thanks for everyone's input though.


And a quick side note. To keep things friendly with my friend, I pulled out a Ron Burgandy quote.

"Agree to disagree"

Stay Classy everyone.


User currently offlineContnlEliteCMH From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1455 posts, RR: 44
Reply 19, posted (7 years 1 month 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 5251 times:

Quoting Rampart (Reply 9):
I understand, but I have to disagree with your point here. Any danger is infrequent. But think about it: why do regular passengers need to belt up on the slightest indication of moderate turbulence? Not just for insurance regulations! Because severe turbulence -- and it does happen -- can send your head into the overhead bin. I don't want my toddler doing that! Airline seat belts are not designed for optimum safety for a child (I assume, I could be wrong), not to mention they are not the safer shoulder harneses found in a car. Therefore, a child is at risk even if belted into a regular airline seat, and even greater risk held in a parent's lap.

All of your points are correct, but only qualitatively. A child is at lowest risk while restrained in a car seat. A child is at higher risk while belted into a regular airline seat. A child is at higher risk again being held on an adult's lap. All true.

But... this risk can be measured. I understand that most people cannot actually comprehend the numbers that come from the measurement, but that's irrelevant. The real question is not "Is there risk?" Of course there's risk. No, the real question is, "How much risk is there?" The answer in all three cases is, essentially "none," "insignificantly more than none," and "insignificantly more than insignificantly more than none." The simple fact is that infants are not being killed or hurt while flying, as in, virtually none.

Here's a story to illustrate what I mean. I served at a large orange box home improvement retailer for 18 months. There we were building business intelligence applications, and I was the flag bearer of a new team using a new technology. While meeting with the existing team (who had spent three years with an older technology) I found myself at the table with a man who was legendary in the company. His prowess in our field is undeniable, and I observed that the client's employees never really confronted him on anything.

We were discussing a serious issue I had uncovered regarding a data model they had given me. Being completely unsuitable for my use, and not conforming to any known principles for excellence in multidimensional modeling, I was asking for a remodel. I was denied. I observed that my path then was to remodel virtually, an approach which would produce the desired results but may decrease the performance times when the software punches through its nightly cycles. I figured it would at least double the time required, but I observed that this would not be a problem because we were so far inside of our performance target that doubling was of no consequence.

What transpired next helped me immensely. The big dog across the table baited me a bit. He said, "Doubling is always significant." I reached into my pocket and pulled out a penny, and laid it on the table. I said, "Here is a penny." I then laid a second penny next to it and said, "I have now doubled the amount of money on the table. Two cents is double one cent, but neither will buy you very much." The rest of the team was somewhat mortified, but the statesman just smiled at me with a real twinkle in his eye. It was a moment I shall never forget, because I beat a quantitative man with his own stick when he baited me qualitatively.

This whole discussion about the risk associated with infants in flight is just like what I describe. YES, your infant has more risk on your lap than in a car seat. So what? It's like having two pennies instead of one.

Look, I'm a father. I have a toddler and an infant. We don't fly with them because I think it's cruel and unusual punishment for the rest of the people on the plane! But... I wouldn't have any problem carrying them on my lap because I don't think the risk amounts to anything at all.

How many of you who think I'm crazy for this opinion make your children wear helmets while riding in a car? If you don't, you illustrate my point. Children are killed and disabled everyday in cars due to head injuries; that risk is far more significant than the risk associated with sitting on an adult's lap while flying. Yet I'll bet not a single one of you do it.



Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Anthropogenic Global Warming. All are matters of faith!
User currently offlineJustPlaneNutz From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 518 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (7 years 1 month 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 5145 times:

Quoting ContnlEliteCMH (Reply 19):

To take your point even further, you are 1000 times more likely to be murdered than killed in a plane crash, yet how many of us arm ourselves for protection? You are slightly less likely to be struck by lightning than killed in a plane crash, yet have you ever seen anyone with a personal lightning protection system (I'm imagining a helmet with a big spike atop it attached to a long chain that drags behind you)?


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