NTSB revisits child restraints

 - March 22, 2007, 9:37 AM

Although child restraints on airplanes have been on the NTSB’s list of most wanted safety improvements for almost a decade, the agency last month reclassified the FAA’s response–or lack thereof–to the recommendation from “open-acceptable action” to “open-unacceptable response.”

The Board first recommended in 1995 that the FAA require “that all occupants [of airliners] be restrained during takeoff, landing and turbulent conditions, and that all infants and small children be restrained in a manner appropriate to their size.”

The Board added the issue to its “most wanted list” after an infant died when the mother lost her grip on the baby during a US Airways crash in Charlotte, N.C.

The NTSB now wants the FAA to require that infants and toddlers under age two be safely restrained on takeoff, landing and in turbulence. The FAA currently “strongly recommends” that all children who fly, regardless of their age, use the appropriate restraint based on their size and weight.

U.S. carriers must allow safety seats throughout the flight if the child has a ticket or if there happens to be a spare seat.