Flight Attendants Push For Aircraft Child Restraint Devices

 

 
 
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Flight Attendants Push For Aircraft Child Restraint Devices

By Daniel Baxter
 

December 10, 2010 - The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) on Thursday participated in the National Transportation Safety Board's (NTSB) forum on child passenger safety.

As a participant on the Aviation Child Passenger Safety panel, AFA-CWA International President Pat Friend reiterated the union's longstanding call for separate seats and restraints for passengers less than two years of age. 

"As flight attendants, we are required to secure all items in the cabin, galley and lavatories; from carry-on bags to coffee pots. We do this because we are trained that in an emergency loose items can be dangerous if flying through the cabin.

A lap child has the potential to be one of those 'loose items' that may not only suffer serious injury themselves but also injure others," said Friend. For over 20 years, AFA-CWA has advocated for the mandatory use of child restraints in aircraft and supported the NTSB's recommendations that the Federal Aviation Administration require all infants and small children use safety seats during takeoff, landing and turbulence.  Unfortunately, the FAA's decision to continue allowing children under the age of two to be held on a parent's lap gives many parents the false impression that this practice is safe.  

"To achieve one level of safety for our most venerable travelers, we must develop a strong regulation and couple it with adequate monitoring and enforcement. It is through agencies like the NTSB making recommendations aimed at protecting children from death and injury in transportation-related crashes that the traveling public has a slightly increased awareness regarding the need to protect infants and small children," said Friend.  

For over 60 years, the Association of Flight Attendants has been serving as the voice for flight attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill.  More than 42,000 flight attendants at 21 airlines come together to form AFA-CWA, the world's largest flight attendant union. AFA is part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO.
 
The National Transportation Safety Board concluded its public forum, Child Passenger Safety in the Air and in Automobiles. NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman announced in her opening remarks that the forum marked the beginning of a year-long effort by the Board to promote child passenger safety across all modes of transportation. "Safety for our smallest travelers should not be considered optional or a luxury," said Chairman Hersman.

As part of the NTSB's safety advocacy efforts, a short video focusing on the importance of properly securing children in cars and on airplanes was debuted at the start of the forum. The full video is now at www.ntsb.gov/children, as well as two shorter versions - one focused on highway safety and one focused on aviation safety. All three versions soon will be available in Spanish.
 
     
"The laws of physics don't change, whether you are on an airplane or in an automobile," said Chairman Hersman. "Children rely on their parents to know what is safest for them. The purpose of our forum was to make sure that parents have the information to do the right thing."

Chairman Hersman also noted that 18 other states, as well as American Samoa and Puerto Rico, should amend their existing booster seat laws to reflect the Safety Board's longstanding recommendation.

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