NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – You wouldn’t put your child in a vehicle without buckling them up, so why let them fly in an airplane that way? That’s the message some want to reinforce this holiday travel season — but not all parents are onboard with the idea.
When Megan and Jeremy Lane travel they have their one-year-old, Zooey, in tow. The parents say they see no need in buying the toddler her own seat.
“So far, with all the travel with her, we have done fine with having her in our laps,” Jeremy said.
But former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) member John Goglia says that’s a big mistake.
“I am passionate about it, because I have seen the children who have been maimed and killed and as a parent, I just can’t walk away from that,” he said.
Goglia says crashes like that of United Airlines Flight 232, in Sioux City, Iowa, haunt him.
When the plane went down in 1989, eleven children were among the more than one hundred people who died.
“No human being can hold an infant, no matter how small, in one of these turbulent events… never mind an accident,” he said adamantly. “People forget [that] today over 90-percent of accidents that occur are survivable.”
The tail-mounted engine on Flight 232 failed completely and led to loss of all flight controls. Goglia said those type of cascading failures are rare. “Most of the accidents today are on the airport… running off the end of the runway or side of the runway.”
Goglia believes airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) should mandate that all children must travel in their own seat, especially since an unrestrained child can also hurt other passengers.
“It’s time we addressed the issue and put every object in the airplane, including infants, to be properly secured,” he said.
Like so many others, the idea is a tough sell for parents line the Lanes.
When it comes to his family Jeremy Lane said, “I think it would impact the travel that we do. We would fly a little less. To buy an extra ticket would be difficult.”
Despite the reluctance, Goglia says he’ll keep fighting. “Infants don’t have a voice for themselves. Someone has to standup for them.”
According to Goglia, even when parents purchase an extra seat for children some airline employees don’t know it’s a federal law that airlines have to accommodate car seats. He suggests parents prepare themselves by contacting the airline directly and by going onto the FAA website to print and carry copies of the policy and the law.
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