Outgoing NTSB chair: Infants should not be allowed to ride in parents' laps on planes

(WJLA) - Should safety rules prohibit parents from traveling with their infants on their laps on airplanes?

Politico reports that is the one thing outgoing National Transportation Safety Board chairman Deborah Hersman wishes she could have accomplished during her 10 years with the agency, according to a farewell address she recently gave at the National Press Club.

During the address, Hersman reportedly cited a plane crash in 1989 in which a plane's hydraulic controls failed, leading to the plane crash-landing in Iowa at around 240 miles per hour. About 60 percent of the plane's passengers were killed.

One of the passengers that died was an infant who had been traveling on its parents' laps. During the crash landing, the parents followed flight personnel's instructions and wrapped the baby in blankets and put it on the floor, braced between their feet. Still, the baby died.

The idea of requiring children under the age of 2 to travel in car seats strapped into their own seats has long been a debate among both safety experts and parents alike.

Some parents claim it is too difficult to soothe crying children unless they are in their laps. Other parents call it a financial burden to have to pay for an extra seat for a baby, particularly if they have multiple children.

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