In-flight child seat belt campaign stepped up
FlyersRights.org, the non-profit airline passengers rights group, is stepping up its campaign to ensure that seat belts are made compuls0ry for children on board aircraft. The organisation cited the recent case of Melissa Bradley and her family of five, including an 11-month-old infant son, who were removed from a United Airlines from San Francisco to Honolulu this week because their rear-facing car seat, which is approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for use in aircraft, could not fit in the seat due to a lack of space between the row in front and the infant seat.
The family was forced to purchase a separate seat and brought an FAA certified/CRS (Child Restraint Seat) approved for their child. Ms Bradley explained to FlyersRights.org that she twice attempted to protect her infant son on United Airlines – by purchasing a seat and bringing a car seat – and twice was been denied the opportunity to protect her infant son.
FAA Guidelines state; “No aircraft operator may prohibit a child from using an approved CRS when the parent/guardian purchases a seat for the child. If an approved CRS for which a ticket has been purchased, does not fit in a particular seat on the aircraft, the aircraft operator has the responsibility to accommodate the CRS in another seat in the same class of service.”
“Parents of small children and infants should always have a federally approved restraint, or a rear facing car seat appropriate for the age, height and weight of their child when traveling by air and airlines should do everything in their power to accommodate their use - not thwart parents in their attempts to safeguard their children,” said Kate Hanni, Founder and Director of FlyersRights.org.
Tess Sosa is a victim of the crash of a US Airways into the Hudson River on in January 2009. She had a child seated on her lap at the time of the crash. She is now a fierce advocate of the “no children being left unbuckled” campaign because her son nearly became a human projectile when the plane hit the river at 125 mph. Were it not for the gentleman next to her holding the baby she is certain the outcome would have been dire.
“When our flight crashed into the Hudson River, we did not have the proper safety equipment for our infant on board – I learned firsthand how valuable the proper safety restraint can be,” said Ms Sosa. “We now insist on using the best equipment available for our children when we fly