Push To Ban Lap Babies on Airplanes Resumes After Recent Incident
The debate over the safety of airline travel for lap babies has started once again, after an incident forced a plane to make an emergency landing. On May 8th, 2018, a flight from Houston to New York had to make an emergency landing after a lap baby climbed out of the passenger’s arms and on to the floor.
The incident has reignited the push to ban lap babies from airline travel. Advocates against lap babies on planes suggest that having babies in the lap of the parents, or other family members, is dangerous for all passengers. However, many customers cannot afford to buy a seat for their lap babies, so many parents are forced to continue to fly with their babies on their laps.
Proponents of the ban list a number of risks related to lap babies, including:
- Premature babies may be more vulnerable to G-forces because they have a smaller amount of body fat and weaker respiratory systems.
- Unrestrained, lap babies may be at risk of injury due to sudden turbulence or rapid changes in altitude.
- Unrestrained babies can slip out of their parents’ hold and fall on the plane’s floor, harming themselves and anyone around them.
- Sitting in a confined space for a long period of time can expose lap babies to germs and other respiratory diseases.
- The dry and recycled air on airplanes can cause dehydration, dry skin, and breathing problems.
- Babies in their parents’ laps may be difficult for flight attendants to spot in the case of an emergency.
- In the event of a plane crash, an unrestrained lap baby is more likely to sustain serious injuries.
- Unrestrained lap babies may pose a distraction, preventing passengers from following safety instructions.
Despite the risks associated with lap babies, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has not yet adopted a policy banning them. Nevertheless, several airlines have their own restriction on lap babies. Some airlines, such as Southwest and American, will not allow lap babies in their first-class or business-class cabins. Other airlines, such as United, require families with lap babies to sit in the back of the plane.
In light of the recent incident, public safety advocates are calling on the FAA to take a stance on the issue and create a policy that would ban lap babies from airline travel. The FAA must consider the safety of all passengers, including lap babies, as well as their parents and family members, in their decision-making.