You are here

Flying with Babies: The “Lap Child” Debate

Photo by Flickr user Chris&Rhiannon, CC Licensed

In the wake of the 2009 Butte plane crash that killed 14 passengers, including seven children, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has renewed their efforts to put an end to “lap child” policies.

Many airlines currently allow children under 2 to fly for free, as long as the child sits on an adult’s lap during the flight. The NTSB is recommending that all passengers be required to have their own seat, regardless of age. Although the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) agrees that children are safest in an approved child restraint like a car seat instead of a parent’s lap, the AP reports, the FAA has turned down similar recommendations over the past 20 years.  

Between sky-high ticket prices and mounting baggage fees and taxes, traveling by plane is already hard to afford -- paying for each child to have his own seat will only add to these steep costs. On the other hand -- while plane crashes are unlikely, turbulence and bumpy take offs and landings can be a real threat to “lap children.”

What do you think -- Should parents be required to buy plane seats for infants and toddlers?