Should Child Restraint Devices Be Mandatory In Planes? PART 1

January 2nd, 2011

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Aviation New Journal Winter 2001

Written by Louise Stoll,former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Transportation and currently General Manager of Kids Fly Safe

Part 1: The National TransportationSafety Board (NTSB) —the US “watchdog” over all mass transportation — held its first ever conference on the topic of Child Aviation Safety in aircraft in Washington, DC on December 9, 2010. This kicked off a yearlong effort by the Board to promote child safety across all modes of transportation. The role of the NTSB is to investigate major transportation incidents, from multiple- automobile freeway smashups to train wrecks to injuries from severe turbulence and crashes in aircraft. The NTSB then makes recommendations to remedy the problems that cause these accidents to the appropriate operational department of the Department of Transportation. Sitting front and center on the auditorium floor in the conference room were two airplane seats. In one was a “three year old” child mannequin in a typical 20 pound car seat. In the other was a similar child mannequin in the one pound “buckle and belt” CARES child aviation restraint – the airplane-specific child restraint the FAA certified a little over four years ago.The morning session of the conference included opening remarks by Deborah Hersman, chairman of the NTSB, a video on child safety — including vivid graphics of instrumented “child dummies” in airplane seats rolling down a track, in simulated turbulence and untoward landings — and two panels of speakers. These included Rick DeWeese – FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute; Nancy Claussen – FAA Air Transportation Division; Patricia Friend – Association of Flight Attendants; John Meenan – Air Transport Association; Kathleen Vasconcelos – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Air Safety Foundation; and Mary Gooding – CEO of Virgin Atlantic. NTSB Chairman Hersman stated the NTSB position bluntly: “Safety for our….

continued in Part 2