1. Requiring children in car seats is a great idea when the aircraft is full because then Mom doesn’t have to hold a squirming, squalling child for four hours. The kid is happier too.
2. From a safety perspective, there might be some minor added benefit in a few crashes involving a moderately sudden stop. The benefit in crashes that terminate on mountainsides, short of the runway after an IFR approach or in a fireball is far more limited.
3. Passengers having to make a quick exit that require climbing over a car seat in an emergency could be significantly slowed down. Should any rule prescribe that car seats can only be placed by windows or the center seat of wide-bodies with dual aisles?
4. Economics – requiring families to pay for an extra seat may force more to drive where the risk of fatality in a car crash is much higher than in airline flight even without the seat. The airlines probably don’t want to give up that revenue either. Net – more lives are lost but not in airplanes.
General Aviation – -
1. Since the interior of GA aircraft are similar, but not identical, to cars – car seats are helpful for securing children too small to comfortably and safely fit under a seat belt.
2. In four passenger aircraft you won’t be able to wedge another Munchkin in and will have to upgrade to a larger flying machine. Sorry, but the tool has to fit the trip or the trip has to be modified to fit the tool.
3. For those flying volunteer charity flights – we strongly encourage the use of car seats . In a survivable crash, they could make all the difference and we’ve seen one clear instance of that. Other losses are harder to pin down due to how the accident data is collected, but I’m confident that there have been other losses.
Turbulence is also a big consideration regardless of aircraft type and it makes sense to have the right kind of restraint when moderate or the occasional severe jolt comes along. A babe- in-arms is quite vulnerable under those circumstances.
As for another good reason why you might want to secure your toddler – Check out ASI’s Toddler Overboard Real Pilot Story.
Should car seats be required on Part 91 flights (non-charitable flights) for children under the age of two? Take the Poll.