Infant In Lap Danger – Articles from Forbes

I really am not trying to beat a dead horse (excuse the American idiom, I normally try not to use them on here). I want to make sure you understand that I am not buying into some conspiracy theory about infant in lap being a danger to your child. So I thought I would point out that I am not the only one that has been writing about how dangerous and unsafe it is for your baby or toddler to travel without any restraints. In case you wanted to hear from an aviation writer, John Goglia. Here are two links to articles published in Forbes, a mainstream publication.

“News reports that a baby flew out of a parent’s arms during a patch of severe turbulence on Monday on United Flight 1676, a Boeing 737, en route from Denver International Airport to Billings, Montana was a chilling reminder that the only safe place for a child during a flight is restrained in his or her own seat. Fortunately, the media reports indicate that the child was not injured. But every child may not be so lucky. As I’ve written before, I have seen first hand the tragic results of a child flying unrestrained.”

United Flight 1676: Parents, Your Arms Are Not Strong Enough To Hold A Child During Turbulence

FAA Thinks Flying With Lap Kids Is Unsafe, But Doesn’t Require Kids’ Seats

“Yes, the FAA, like everyone else in the aviation business, knows that kids are safe flying only when they have their own seat and an approved restraint. The FAA says as much on its Child Safety website. According to the FAA, ‘the safest place for your child on an airplane is in a government-approved child safety restrain system (CRS) or device, not on your lap. Your arms aren’t capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence.” And yet, notwithstanding its own admonition, children under the age of two are not required to be properly restrained when they fly. In the eyes of the law, a parent’s lap is perfectly legal, no matter how unsafe it is.”

Happy Travels,


Infant Flies Out of Parent’s Arms in Turbulent Flight

Sometimes people ask me, “How can you justify spending a thousand extra dollars on a seat for your baby?” You see, I have had at least one child under two for most of the last seven years, and I have bought infant-in-seat tickets many times. After some serious research a few years back I learned that infant-in-lap air travel is not safe. Today’s headline about a baby flying out of their parent’s arms during turbulence on a flight from Denver to Billings strengthens my resolve regarding this issue. By the way, I don’t consider making the safest possible choice for my child to be spending extra money. For me it is a necessity.

infant in flight

People always think I’m being judgmental when I say this, but infant-in-lap air travel is unsafe, period. It isn’t a matter of opinion once you look at the overwhelming evidence.

Since my father-in-law is a pilot, let me give you a little known fact about turbulence. Pilots cannot see turbulence on their equipment. They can see large storms, but turbulence can occur without any storms present. They only way they know for sure there is turbulence for sure is if it is reported by another pilot that has just flown there. Spotting turbulence is considered more of an art for pilots, than it is a science. Even with all of the devices and predictions available today, there is no sure way to know whether or not there will be turbulence, or how severe it will be.

In fact, according to this article, there is a type of turbulence that is completely invisible to the pilot.

“Even though pilots are taught to avoid turbulent air by looking for cumulus clouds, turbulence can strike even in the absence of clouds. This type of turbulence—especially dangerous because of its invisibility—is known as clear-air turbulence. It accounts for most turbulence-related injuries, mainly because pilots have no time to warn passengers and flight attendants to get strapped into their seats. Nearly 7 out of 10 turbulence incidents are the result of encounters with the clear-air variety.”

In today’s article from the Denver Post, one of the passengers of United Flight 1676 said,

“The drop was so forceful an infant flew from a parent’s arms and landed in another seat nearby. The baby seemed unharmed, just scared.”

We do know that five people from that flight were actually hospitalized because of their injuries. In my opinion, the couple with the baby was very lucky that their baby was unharmed.

Did you know that in 1989 after the Sioux City, Iowa crash landing of United Airlines Flight 232 where two infant-in-lap passengers died, the NTSB recommended that the FAA make child restraint systems mandatory? If you think I’m being hyperbolic, please see this guy’s very detailed article on why infant-in-lap is a bad idea. Although it was written in 2008, it is by no means outdated.

I’m not going to go on and on about this subject, if you are interested in other facts and figures about the safety of infant-in-lap seating, you can take a look at this article I wrote a while back where I quote the FAA and the AAP.

Safe and Happy Travels,


Traveling With A Newborn Or Infant – By Plane

This shocks a lot of new parents, but infants are the easiest age of young children to travel with. Even though they may cry at unpredictable times, they are much easier to soothe, and tend to sleep a lot. If you have a baby and are avoiding traveling because you think it will be too difficult, think again! It is much more difficult to travel with a one or two year old (although it can still be done well). When you have an infant you know they are only going to do one of four things: sleep, eat, have a diaper change, or pacify.

traveling with an infant
Here we are on Timo’s first trip to the US. He is only 3 weeks old, and was quiet and sleepy the whole way there. I took him out to breastfeed and change him, but besides that he was a super easy going passenger.

They are easily entertained, and their ears don’t bother them as much from the pressure change. Here are the most important things you need to know about traveling with an infant:

-If you are traveling internationally you will need to get your newborn a passport.

-Make sure to bring several changes of clothes that you can layer. The airplane may be sweltering, or it may be freezing. You have got to be ready for any kind of condition. It is also good to use a pair of baby leggings paired with a onsie for easier diaper changes.

-Bring something you can use to shade your baby’s face from the sun during take off and landing. I understand that many babies sleep in the day, in direct sunlight, without any major irritation. However, the sun coming through the plane windows can be particularly obnoxious, especially to a sensitive newborn flying through several time zones. I use my nursing cover by tucking it in several places in between the carseat and airplane seat.

traveling with an infant plane Read more

Car Seat vs. Infant In Lap: Cost vs. Worth

The information from the FAA and AAP was updated on February 18th, 2014.


Should I Use A Car Seat On An Airplane For My Child Under 2?

I get asked this question a lot because people know that before Kati was 2 years old, we still bought her a ticket. The reason for this extra expense was the result of several weeks of research on the topic of airplane safety. The reason I have not written an article about this up until this point is because I don’t like to write controversial things on this blog. But I am finally going to answer this question so you know why I make the choices I do regarding infant air travel.

traveling with an infant

Travis and I figured out that Katienne did not like to be held while traveling for long periods. I wish we would have figured this out before our 7 hour bus ride from Budapest to Krakow (on which Kati proceeded to scream for all 7 hours). But after that we always bought her a separate seat so she could be in her car seat. Then we started planning for our trip from Hungary to the United States, and I was faced with the decision of paying several hundred dollars more for her to have a seat, or paying $100 for her to sit on my lap. But something was really starting to get to me, money issues aside. I kept thinking about the strict car seat regulations in every country, and it just didn’t make sense to me that the same thing didn’t apply for airplane rides. So I started researching.

The FAA Child Safety website uses very strong language in regard to this topic:

“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly urges you to secure your child in a CRS or device for the duration of your flight. It’s the smart and right thing to do so that everyone in your family arrives safely at your destination. The FAA is giving you the information you need to make informed decisions about your family’s travel plans.”

I also came across recommendations like this from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

“Occupant protection policies for children younger than 2 years on aircraft are inconsistent with all other national policies on safe transportation. Children younger than 2 years are not required to be restrained or secured on aircraft during takeoff, landing, and conditions of turbulence. They are permitted to be held on the lap of an adult. Preventable injuries and deaths have occurred in children younger than 2 years who were unrestrained in aircraft during survivable crashes and conditions of turbulence. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a mandatory federal requirement for restraint use for children on aircraft. The Academy further recommends that parents ensure that a seat is available for all children during aircraft transport and follow current recommendations for restraint use for all children. Physicians play a significant role in counseling families, advocating for public policy mandates, and encouraging technologic research that will improve protection of children in aircraft.”

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