Accident Fuels Debate Over Infant Seats In Planes

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A six-month-old infant being held in his mother's lap was the only one of nine occupants who died in the crash of a Fairchild Metro 3/23, a twin-turboprop regional airliner, in northern Canada on Saturday. Aviation rules in both Canada and the U.S. allow parents to hold children younger than two years old in their laps, although separate seats with age-appropriate safety restraints have been recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board. An FAA spokesperson told The Associated Press in 2010 that if separate seats were required, it would be more expensive for families to fly, and if they chose to drive instead, the children would be exposed to a greater risk of accident.

The Fairchild departed from Winnipeg and was approaching the airport at Sanikiluaq, a small island community in Hudson Bay, when it crashed near the end of the runway. The Canadian safety board said there was blowing snow at the airport at the time of the crash, but it was not yet known if that was a factor in the accident. Several others on board suffered injuries, but none were life-threatening, according to the Globe and Mail. The flight was operated by Keewatin Air, which schedules three trips a week between Winnipeg and Sanikiluaq. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating the accident.

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