Ever since the day I sat in my first flight attendant training and learned about the dangers of holding a child on a lap, aka the “lap baby“, during every phase of flight I knew there had to be an FAA rules change and I’m expecting that change to be in our lifetime.
That memorable day, my class watched a video which included an interview with flight attendant Jan Brown who was the lead flight attendant in the United 232 crash, also known as the Sioux City crash. Of the 296 people on board that day, 111 died. Four lap babies were on the flight. Jan had contact with two of the mothers. After a frantic search, one was miraculously found in an overhead bin. The other baby was Evan Tsao. His mother never did get to hold her happy baby again. He died that day.
The story tugged at my heart, because I knew that child’s life could have been saved. His mother and others in the area they were seated survived the impact. Had he been restrained, he most likely would have survived, too.
It’s true, planes don’t crash every day, but no parent wants their child to be the statistic. Besides, there are other reasons to protect our children inflight, such as turbulence, which does occur daily on flights throughout the world.
I’d like to introduce Safe Seats for Every Air Traveler (SSEAT), a new air-safety advocacy group aimed at winning an FAA mandate that children under age two sit in restraint seats on airline flights. The mandate would end the practice of parents holding children under two on their laps, which the FAA allows. I am proud to be involved and what’s even more exciting for me is Jan Brown (the flight attendant previously mentioned) is leading the committee. Talk about a full circle!
My dream is to one day have this policy be a conversation piece with our grandchildren: “Years ago children were not required to wear seat belts in airplanes.”
Our grandchildren will look at us in shock, unable to conceive how that was possible, much like how our children look at us as we recall how cars did not always have seat belts. It’s time we put this “old school” policy to rest.
Today, I invite you to visit the new SSEAT Facebook page. The SSEAT committee appreciates your support on this issue, as each of us feels very passionate about this topic. Simply “like” the page and share it with your friends. Thank you for your support. Happy and Safe Travels!