Flight attendants call to end infants sitting on parents’ lap

Flight attendants are pushing for an end to infants sitting on their parents’ laps on planes.

The Association of Flight Attendants has been calling for all passengers to have their own seats for 30 years.

The union points to recent turbulence as an example of why infants need to be in a car seat on a plane. In December, a Hawaiian Airlines flight injured 36 people, including a 14-month-old.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) guidelines for flying with children state that “the safest place for your child under the age of two on a U.S. airplane is in [an] approved child restraint system (CRS) or device, not in your lap.” But in a parent’s lap is exactly how thousands of young children fly every year.

“I’m very surprised that regulations and rules around this have not been in place,” travel expert Sarah Dandashy told Scripps News Denver. “You think about the rules and regulations that we have to have just in our own private vehicles. And then you think about an airplane, and you think about the speed that the airplane is going.”

The Association of Flight Attendants and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) say it’s impossible for any parent to hold onto their child in severe turbulence. They want infants to have their own seats and, if necessary, be placed in an approved car seat.

The biggest question: Who will pay for it?

“Is it going to be the cost that’s put onto the consumer? Basically, parents buying an additional seat for their child? Or will the cost of them be put onto the airlines? Or will they actually offer maybe a seat for free?” Dandashy said.

The Association of Flight Attendants is pushing for the change in the next FAA reauthorization bill. The current authorization bill expires in September.

By Jessica Porter, Scripps News Denver.