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aug 13 2010

The end of the lapchild?

The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that all passengers -- kids under the age of 2 included -- have their own seats on planes. That'd mean infants would no longer be allowed to sit in their parents laps, and they would no longer fly for free.

The NTSB released its official recommendation to FAA earlier this week, listing numerous occasions when airplane passenger injuries and fatalities could have been minimized by the use of restraint devices (i.e. seatbelts). Oddly enough, many of the examples listed involve passengers over the age of 2, who would not qualify as lapchildren.

This is not the first time the NTSB has made such a recommendation to the FAA, yet, as the New York Times noted, the FAA:

has rejected the recommendation several times, saying that parents unable to afford tickets for their young children would opt to drive rather than fly, resulting in more highway fatalities.

What do you think? For the safety of everyone, should the lapchild be banned? Should parents be required to buy seats for infants and toddlers, and secure them either in car seats (which often don't fit in a cramped plane), or in an over-the-shoulder CARES restraint device (which are designed for kids weighing 22 to 44 pounds)? Should the airlines be forced to make some provisions for the safety of kids, perhaps even by offering special seatbelts for tiny travelers?

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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