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NTSB Urges Child Restraints on Airliners

August 3, 2004

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday urged federal airline regulators to act on its longstanding recommendation to require that children younger than 2 be strapped into restraint seats on planes.

Such a rule would end the airlines’ practice of allowing infants and toddlers to sit on their parents’ laps. The Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates aviation safety, questions whether the change will protect children.

Peggy Gilligan, the FAA’s deputy assistant administrator for regulation and certification, said only three unrestrained children died in airline crashes in the past 20 years. If parents are required to purchase a ticket and place their child in a seat, rather than on their laps, they may opt to drive, Gilligan said.

Small children face ``a substantially higher risk on highways than in aviation,″ she said.

Debbie Hersman, an NTSB board member who has children ages 2 and 3, said parents need to know that placing small children on their laps is not as safe as buckling the children into their own seats.

``As a mother, I can’t imagine knowingly putting my children in a situation where they’d be less safe than I am,″ Hersman said.

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On the Net:

National Transportation Safety Board: http://www.ntsb.gov

Federal Aviation Administration: http://www.faa.gov

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