Airborne Babies Safer Even Unbelted?


Baby seats in airplanes may sound like a good idea but they might actually increase the number of babies that die — in car crashes. A report by a group of pediatricians says a proposed FAA regulation that would require infant restraint seats for children under the age of two doesn’t make practical or economic sense. The suggested logic (flawed or not) is that having to buy a seat for a tot that can now sit on Mom or Dad’s lap for free would push some families to drive instead of fly. The report offers that the family car is a much more perilous environment for a baby than flying commercially (they haven’t discovered stress yet) so the pediatricians want the FAA to put the brakes on the regulation. According to the doctors, the baby-restraint rule would save only about four deaths in 10 years. If only 5 to 10 percent of families chose to drive instead of fly because of the increased cost, more babies would die on the road, the doctors claim. They also point out that if the average fare for a strapped-in baby was $200, the average cost per life saved would be $1.3 billion. “Many more lives could be saved by spending this money on other safety measures,” said Dr. Thomas Newman, the study’s main author.