Verify: Is it dangerous for your infant to sit on your lap on an airplane?

On Thursday, we verified if it is dangerous for an infant to sit in their parents lap on an airplane instead of being strapped in their own seat.

QUESTION:

Is it dangerous for your infant or toddler to sit in your lap while on a airplane rather than being strapped in their own seat? 

ANSWER:

We can verify this is true. 

SOURCES:

FAA

RESOURCES:

Study by Pediatric Emergency Care

In-flight injuries often involve children sitting on laps or in aisle seats

PROCESS:

A study published late last year in the journal Pediatric Emergency Care said 61 percent of injuries to kids 2 and younger on planes were from burns because something got spilled on them or from them falling out of the seat.

Most of the burns that happened, happened to kids sitting in the aisle seats as things were being passed over them.

According to this study, by law in the U.S., a kid has to be in a five-point restraint harness in a car. A car is probably going to go 50 miles per hour, but a kid is free to be unrestrained in a plane going 500 miles per hour on a tridimentional trajectory and subjected to unexpected turbulence.

Our verify team reached out to the FAA. FAA officials say they encourage the use of a child restraint system on planes.

But they also argue making it mandatory would force families to buy an extra seat for their little one and plenty of families who weren't willing or able to spend the extra money would drive a long trip instead, which statistically speaking would be more dangerous. 

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© 2017 WUSA-TV


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