FAA: Keep babies safe during take-off and landing

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Hands-free baby carriers such as Baby Bjorn, Ergo, Moby, and all others are prohibited by the FAA during take-off and landing because they have not been tested and approved for use as a restraint device. Instead, babies who are safely strapped to a parent's chest must be removed from their carriers and held. This rule defies logic: during any sort of emergency where a plane rapidly decelerates, the force would almost certainly inhibit the parents' ability to hold onto the child. This is an obvious danger to the baby and also to other passengers; gruesome as it is, the baby would become a projectile object, causing blunt force trauma to his little body and possibly injuring other passengers. Additionally, having free use of one's arms is vital during an emergency evacuation.

Although emergencies are uncommon, they do happen. A child's safety can also be impacted by heavy turbulence. During a rough descent and landing on a flight with my two-month-old daughter, my arms cramped up trying to hold her and she cried from the discomfort. On the ground, the pilot had to immediately brake hard; since my arms weren't free I was unable to brace myself or my baby, and her head slammed into the seat in front of us. Just a few minutes prior, she had been sleeping peacefully on my chest, cozy and safe in her baby carrier.

Logically, no baby is safer in her parents' arms than she is in a baby carrier. Even if the parent is incapacitated, that child is safer strapped to a body than dropped on the ground or, worse, flying through the cabin. That is why I am calling on the FAA to waive the rule requiring baby carriers to undergo expensive testing to be approved as restraint devices, and allow all models of baby carriers to be used during take-off and landing.

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