Most Dangerous Airplane Seats for Kids

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Parents are legally required to place their young kids in car seats every time they get in the family vehicle. So why is it that children under the age of 2 can sit on their parent's lap when flying?

The National Transportation Safety Board wants to change that. The federal agency says that a large number of air plane crashes are actually survivable but only if everybody is buckled up. And as much as a mother or father might love their child, it is highly unlikely that they will be able to hold on tight enough during a crash to stop the baby from flying throughout the cabin.

"Most aviation accidents are survivable," said Nora Marshall, who oversees aviation survival factors for the NTSB. "Your child deserves the same level of protection that you're going to get with a restraint system."

So now the NTSB is pushing the Federal Aviation Administration to require child seats for infants. Currently the FAA says that only children over the age of 2 need their own seats. Everybody younger can fly on their parent's lap.

"Proper restraint use is one of the most basic and important tenets of crashworthiness and survivability," NTSB Chairwoman Deborah Hersman wrote in a letter earlier this month to FAA Administrator J. Randolph Babbitt.

But don't expect any change soon. The NTSB has been seeking this change since 1979.

The key here is that airlines current let anybody under the age of 2 fly for free if they don't require their own seat. If all children needed to be in a car seat, the airlines would likely charge for that extra seat. In the past, the FAA has said that it believes the extra charge would force some families to drive instead of flying and that driving isn't as safe as flying.

"We don't have any immediate plans to change our rules, but we'll certainly take a fresh look at the board's recommendations," FAA spokeswoman Alison Duquette told ABC News.

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Safety Tips for Flying With Young Children

The FAA also believes that separate seats are the safest spot for kids -- "nobody wants to see lap children," Duquette said -- but is mandated to weigh the risks of requiring such a change and found that there would be overall more child fatalities, because more children would be traveling in cars and fewer in planes.

"We strongly recommend and we strongly advocate that parents use an approved child-safety seat in an airplane but it's not a requirement," Duquette said. "The bottom line, it's still the parents' decision."

So it basically comes down to recommendations vs. requirements.

The FAA even suggests on a special section of its website dedicated to traveling with kids that parents buy that extra seat.

"If you hit severe turbulence, there's pretty much no chance you're going to be able to hold on to that child," Duquette said.

The NTSB isn't the only group that would like to see separate seats for children be mandatory.

"We believe that all occupants deserve the same protection, including infants," said Candace Kolander, who deals with air safety and health for the Association of Flight Attendants, which represents 50,000 flight attendants at 22 airlines.

Kolander noted that all food service items on a flight need to be strapped in for take-off and landing.

"A coffee pot has better protection than an infant," she said.

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