Thursday, August 6, 2009

Turbulence - why all children should be secured in their own car seat on board a flight!

The following was written on

Turbulence: Leading Cause of In-flight Injuries - Mon Aug 3, 2:20 pm ET

News today that unexpected turbulence injured at least 26 people on Continental Flight 128, en route to Texas, is a stark reminder of why airlines ask you keep your seat belt on whenever seated, even if the flight is calm.

The plane dropped suddenly, throwing flight attendants to the roof, according to news reports.

Turbulence is the leading cause of non-fatal in-flight injuries, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, usually because passengers or crew aren't wearing seatbelts.

Turbulence is air movement that normally cannot be seen and often occurs unexpectedly. It can happen because of changes in air pressure, jet streams, waves created by the influence of mountains, cold or warm fronts, and thunderstorms. It can even occur when the sky is clear.

The rocky air can't always be predicted and radars can't spot it, though researchers are working on other ways to detect it by parsing the data on wind movement provided by radar. While turbulence may cause you to knock your head hard, it isn't likely to be fatal. From 1980 through June 2004, U.S. air carriers had 198 turbulence accidents, resulting in 266 serious injuries and three fatalities, according to the FAA. Despite today's event and other recent high-profile airline accidents, analysts say flying is safer than ever and remains far less dangerous than driving.


Turbulence can produce such forces that it is impossible for you to hold onto your child seated on your lap....the same forces in a crash that will prevent you from being able to hold onto your child in your lap in a vehicle. For this reason, we strongly advise against lap children on flights and recommend that ALL children have their OWN seat on an airline and that your child restraint is installed in that seat.

There is a fabulous piece on the website JetwithKids about the dangers of the lap child. Probably some of the most eye opening data in that piece are the advertising campaigns by the FAA themselves against lap children.

1) Even the most loving arms can't hold him
2) Childproof your flight
3) Radio/audio ad - Loving Arms

In addition, if you chose to check your car seat, you are potentially exposing your child restraint - you know, the piece of equipment you are relying on in your vehicle to save your child's life - to damage or even loss. Just watch here (about 20 seconds in) the handling by luggage carriers, the heavy suitcases falling on top of your child restraint in the hold, and the hairline/unseen cracks and damage that could have happened as a result. The only way to prevent that potential damage or loss is to keep the restraint with you and onboard the aircraft, installed in your child's seat and restraining your child.

If your child sits rear-facing in your vehicle, they should also sit rear-facing on board your flight. The laws of physics don't change just because you are on an airplane! It is still going to be safer for your child to be rear-facing in their restraint in the case of an emergency and high speed landing.

Do you recall the 3 year old whose life was saved due to her child restraint being used in the plane?

Understandably, the lure of the cost savings of holding your child on your lap are attractive, but ask yourself this question - are those savings worth your child's protection from injury, or worse, their death? Just because you have flown in the past in this manner with no mishap, does not mean it won't happen to you. You use your child restraint in your vehicle because you don't want to be one of the people who think, 'it won't happen to me.' The danger of that line of thinking is that it CAN happen to you, whether it be in a vehicle or in the air.
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