Letters to the Editor
Subject: Infant carriers
From: Deborah Spiegel FTNdebbi@aol.com
"The best advice I can give, for a child under 2, is to obtain the kind
of device I have seen on both mothers and fathers in shopping centers. It looks
something like a reverse back pack. The baby is installed in it and it is then
worn on the front of the parent so that the baby is hugging the chest of the
I just got home from our Thanksgiving trip. I had my 3-month-old son in his
Baby Bjorn carrier. The US Airways flight attendant told me that I could not
keep him in that for safety reasons and that I had to hold him on my lap. She
even showed me a book that had that information.
I disagreed with her and kept him in the pack attached to me. God forbid
there was an emergency, I wanted him to be connected to me. Just thought I'd let
This is an excellent letter because it illustrates the nanny-state mentality
of some FAA bureaucrats. The reason they want you to hold the baby on your lap,
without restraint, is because they are fearful that some parents will try to
attach the infant pack to the seat belt instead of to the parent, or worse, to
wrap the seat belt around both parent and infant -- which would lead to severe
injury to the baby, in the event of rapid deceleration. Those of us with common
sense find it hard to understand why the FAA regulation cannot simply require
that the F/As check for those kinds of situations, without requiring the parent
to remove the infant from a front pack carrier that is strapped to the parent
(not to the seat belt).
My advice is to do just what you did: ignore their request and put your baby
and common sense, ahead of the idiotic rules of the FAA.
But please, do so courteously. It isn't the Flight Attendants' fault. They
are required to advise you of that irrational regulation. [See also
and the Rational
Robert J. Boser
Another reader, in France, offers additional information:
From: Thierry Botrel Thierry.Botrel@elf-p.fr
While flying on Air France, I asked the cabin crew about child-lap
restraining devices. They showed me their operating manual.
If I understand what a "belly belt" is, it seems that French
administration is making compulsory the use of a device, which was banned a few
years ago by the FAA. If the "belly belt" is the same device in use on
French airlines, why is it stamped "conform to FAA?". [The FAA
on June 4, 1996 issued a rule to ban the use of booster seats as well as harness
and vest-type child restraint systems aboard all U.S. air carriers. Previously,
the use of supplemental lap restraints (belly belts) was banned from use in
aircraft]. From: ( http://www.airsafe.com/kidsafe/chldseat.htm
The child restraints were made compulsory on French passenger planes by DGAC
French equivalent of the FAA] on March 25, 1998, during the take-off and
landing phases and any time the seat belt sign is on.
On the airbus A 320 there are 15 devices called belt extensions. They are
manufactured by a US company, AM-SAFE, from Phoenix Arizona and bear the
following references: extension model 502758 conform to FAA ,TSO, 3000lbs rated.
It consists of a small belt (almost identical to the safety demonstration belts
used by cabin attendants during the pre-takeoff safety demonstration) with one
loop strap sewn at the back.
The Air France cabin crew manual (DGAC approved) also allows the use of DOT
approved baby car seats providing they are "maxi type" (complete shell
type) if there is a free window seat available.
[Also, see the Rational
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