Safe Seats for Every Air Traveler (SSEAT) is an air safety advocacy initiative charging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to end the practice of lap children in commercial aviation by mandating children under the age of two be properly restrained in an FAA approved child-safety restraint seat or system.
As the FAA makes clear on its website, there is no debate over this topic: Under no circumstance is a “lap child” as safe or safer than an infant or toddler properly secured in an approved restraint system.
Since 1953 all airline passengers over the age of 2 are required to be restrained, but the loophole for the most vulnerable passengers has never been closed.
The reasoning behind the FAA’s refusal to heed the NTSB’s advice and ban lap kids is complex, but this policy leaves a gaping hole in the safety net.
Thousands of parents and caregivers are unaware of the dangers of not purchasing a separate seat for a child restraint, and educational efforts by the FAA and the airlines have not done enough. If you’re in doubt, go ask a physicist: No mortal can fight g-forces well enough to properly restrain an infant during a crisis in a commercial aircraft. Whatever the cost, an infant seat is the only safe solution.
William J. McGee, author
"Attention All Passengers: The Airlines’ Dangerous Descent—and How to Reclaim Our Skies" (HarperCollins 2012).