Flight attendants are urging the prohibition of children aged 2 and under from sitting in the laps of adult caregivers during flights. Travel safety concerns are the motivation behind this renewed call for a change in regulations. This issue has gained importance in light of recent incidents involving mid-air and extreme turbulence.

Several domestic airlines currently permit infants under 2 to travel for free while seated in their parent’s lap or any accompanying adult aged 16 or older in the same cabin, as reported by ABC News.

Sara Nelson, the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA has been advocating for a change in lap baby rules for the past three decades. Nelson highlights the physical impossibility of parents guarding against G-forces during turbulence. She emphasizes the need for a reassessment of current safety protocols. CWA is the largest union of flight attendants in the U.S., representing nearly 50,000 flight attendants across 19 airlines.

Every Passenger with Their Own Restraint

The union has consistently called for every passenger to be seated with their own restraint. Every passenger must wear a seatbelt, emphasizing the inadequacy of the current practice. Child restraint seats for infants and small children under the age of 2 are recommended during critical flight phases.

Jennifer Homendy, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, told ABC News the dangers flight attendants face during turbulence at a safety summit. She noted that turbulence accounts for three out of every four flight attendant injuries.

Homendy also emphasized the need for stricter safety measures. She referred to a 2021 report with 21 new recommendations, citing an increased share of turbulence events. Homendy added that parents need to secure children under 2 in an FAA-approved child restraint system. All 25 turbulence-related recommendations remain open.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aligns with concerns about the safety of children aged 2 and under sitting in another passenger’s lap during flights. The FAA strongly discourages this practice. The agency recommends securing children in an approved child restraint system in their own seats for the entire flight. While there is no regulatory prohibition on using a booster seat or harness vest for a lap child during the cruise portion of the flight, individual airlines may have policies regarding the use of such devices.