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Posted at 7:30 PM ET, 12/ 9/2010

NTSB to devote year to child safety

By Michael D. Bolden

6 p.m. Update: The National Transportation Safety Board embarked Thursday on a year-long effort to promote child passenger safety.

Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman made the announcement during the opening of a forum intended to focus concern on the issue.

"Safety for our smallest travelers should not be considered optional or a luxury," Hersman said.

The NTSB effort is intended to promote child passenger safety across all modes of transportation. The safety agency also released videos during the conference that
focused on safety in airplanes and passenger vehicles. Much of the NTSB conference focused on drawing attention to parents holding children on their laps during airplane travel, a practice the NTSB says is unsafe, especially given the risk of turbulence or another emergency.

In August the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that flight rules be changed to require child safety seats on planes for children less than 2 years old. The FAA says it does not mandate the use of child restraint systems "on commercial airplanes because a mandate would require parents to purchase an extra airline ticket for their child," forcing more parents to drive, which is statistically more dangerous than flying.

The NTSB's safety message emphasizes that children aboard airplanes deserve the same level of protection as their parents or guardians.

"The laws of physics don't change, whether you are on an airplane or in an automobile," Hersman said. "Children rely on their parents to know what is safest for them. The purpose of our forum was to make sure that parents have the information to do the right thing."

Federal accident investigator Nora Marshall said "the most devastating interview" she ever conducted involved a mother who said that she was told she could hold a child on her lap during a flight.

" 'When the accident happened, I couldn't hold her,'" Marshall recounted. "As a parent you never want to be in that situation."

Original post: The National Transportation Safety Board kicked off a child safety forum at its L'Enfant Plaza headquarters in Southwest Washington Thursday morning to draw attention to passenger practices aboard airplanes and in automobiles.

NTSB chief Deborah A.P. Hersman is chairing the one-day forum, with all five members of the board scheduled to participate.

Three panels will address a range of issues, including safety risks for children in vehicles and airplanes; "best practices for protecting children when traveling"; design improvements of safety restraints and vehicles; and ways to increase use of child seats and seat belts.

Earlier this fall, the Federal Aviation Administration recommended that parents flying with children this holiday season use approved child safety restraints aboard airplanes.

In August the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that flight rules be changed to require child safety seats on planes for children less than 2 years old. The FAA says it does not mandate the use of child restraint systems "on commercial airplanes because a mandate would require parents to purchase an extra airline ticket for their child," forcing more parents to drive, which is statistically more dangerous than flying.

Forum overview | Agenda

By Michael D. Bolden  | December 9, 2010; 7:30 PM ET
Categories:  Aviation, Driving, NTSB, Traffic Safety  
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Comments

More regulations costing everyone money. Honestly, if something happens, what are the chances that a child seat will make a difference on the plane?

This will cost families lots of $$$.

Posted by: yell53 | December 9, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

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