October 2003

Hearts and Minds and Child Restraints in Airplanes

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2003 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2003

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2003;157(10):953-954. doi:10.1001/archpedi.157.10.953

SHOULD THE Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandate safety seats for airborne infants? This question has polarized well-meaning and intelligent child advocates. There is much agreement in this area. Nobody disputes that airborne infants are safer in child safety seats than in parents' laps. Nobody disputes that the number of infants who would be spared injury and death if they had their own restraint seats is a small number. Few dispute the fact that there will be some substitution of riskier road travel for air travel: some parents would choose to drive if the airfare for their infant was greater than the cost of car travel. Newman et al1 show that statistically more infants will die in car crashes than are saved from plane crashes if only 5% to 10% of parents switch from air travel to car travel.

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