Travel | March 22, 2023 3:51 pm

Your Baby Probably Shouldn’t Be Sitting on Your Lap While Flying

At least that's what flight attendants have been parroting for the last three decades

A baby sitting on its mother's lap

It seems moronic to require for a 20 pound human, who may not even be able to sit up on their own, to have their own seat on an aircraft, and yet…

Per a report from The Washington Post, flight attendants have once again called for banning “lap babies,” as they’ve come to be called. That said, it’s for a fairly good reason, which is that it’s apparently not all that safe.

It’s also not new. According to Sara Nelson — the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the largest union of flight attendants in the country — the union has been lobbying for change to the lap baby policy since 1989, when a crash landing left two babies injured and a third dead.

“We’ve seen airplanes go through turbulence recently and drop 4,000 feet in a split second,” Nelson The Post. “The G-forces are not something even the most loving mother or father can guard against and hold their child. It’s just physically impossible.”

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And it would appear that the F.A.A. agrees, at least insofar that it’s not safe. “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,” the administration’s website reads. “Your arms aren’t capable of holding your in-lap child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence, which is the number one cause of pediatric injuries on an airplane.”

The ban would extend to children two years and younger, who are — as it stands now — eligible to sit on their guardian’s lap free of charge, or for a nominal fee. Should it take hold, it would see them in their own seat, with a restraint.

It is not immediately clear, however, if or when such a policy might go into effect, but it stands to reason that it probably won’t until all of the details of the family seating policy are ironed out. Because the only thing worse than the possibility of sitting next to an unchaperoned ten year old is the (albeit highly, highly unlikely) possibility of having to sit next to an unchaperoned two year old.