I'd Never Fly on an Airplane With a Baby on My Lap

Mom Moment 32

baby on planeEarlier this morning, I came across an article talking about how unsafe "lap babies" are on airplanes, and I found myself nodding my head in agreement from beginning to end. You know what I mean by lap babies, right? Children under the age of 2 who aren't required to sit in their own seat since they are small enough for their parents to hold them?

On pretty much every flight I've ever traveled on, there's been at least one unrestrained infant sitting cozily in his mother's arms. I never really gave whether or not it was safe for the baby a second thought -- until I had my own kid seven years ago.

When my son was born, we were living in Denver, and I can distinctly remember sitting at my computer and booking our first flight as a family of three to visit my parents in Florida when he was about 4 months old.

Since it was such a long flight, and because I was nervous about how safe he'd be in my lap in the event of bad turbulence or an emergency, I opted to go ahead and book him his own seat and bring the car seat along to restrain him. And even though that particular flight was perfectly smooth and I did wind up holding him for a good bit of the trip, I never for one second regretted spending the extra money to get him his own seat -- because if nothing else, he was safely restrained in the car seat for takeoff and landing.

And from that point forward, I never brought him on an airplane as a lap child -- not even once. Call me paranoid. Call me overprotective. Call me whatever you want -- if I had to do it all over again, I'd still shell out the extra dough for my baby to ride in his own seat. Because to me, the small risk of him flying out of my arms if the plane were to suddenly drop in altitude or if there were to be some sort of accident was simply not worth saving a couple hundred bucks.

But I know that choice isn't easy for everyone, especially considering how expensive some flights can be these days. There are a lot more added costs when it comes to airfare than there were seven years ago, so it's totally understandable that many parents simply can't afford to purchase a seat for their baby, especially if he isn't their only child.

I guess that begs the question of whether or not I would've chosen to fly with my son in my lap had we not been able to spring for the additional cost at that point in time. Huh. While driving from Denver to Florida definitely wouldn't have been the most ideal choice, I was freaked out enough about the lap baby thing that I think I probably would've either opted to hop in the car or postponed our trip to a time when the airfares were a bit lower.

(Or if nothing else, I would've at least tried to book us on a flight that looked pretty open so the chances of us scoring the extra seat at no additional charge was a huge probability.)

Do you fly with your baby in your lap or purchase another seat?


Image via jyri/Flickr

travel, airplanes, safety


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Ashley Lott

in the case of an emergency, I would rather my baby be in my arms then strapped into a car seat. we are flying the the Phillipinesin a few months and will not be buying an extra seat. it just doesn't mae since if I'm going to be holding her the whole time anyways.

TheTr... TheTruthTeller

If you crash, the force will knock the baby clear out of your arms, no matter how tight you hold them. They are safer in their seat.

lobus lobus

When the army flew us from Alaska to NC I thank God they paid for my five month old's seat. He slept in it most of the time. I'd probably spend the extra money myself if it was a long flight.

MamaT... MamaTo2b2g

Yeah, I wouldn't call a mother who is hardly with her child (based on your articles about "mommy vacations" and shipping your kid off to camp during a family vacation) overprotective.

nonmember avatar MammaMel

I actually used a front carrier for my lap baby, that had a 5 pts harness...one stewardess tried to make me take him out of it...until I showed her the letter from their airline CEO (yeah...I went that far) saying he thought it was a great idea to use that instead of having baby in my arms and wishing me luck on my first solo flight with my 3 month old :) personally, I found that safer and I felt more comfortable that in case of a crash I didn't have to fumble with anything.

jayha... jayhawk00

A plane is safer than a car, even taking into consideration that the baby is in a car seat while driving. If it's going to happen it is going to happen. 

LexRamp LexRamp

That is great if you can afford an extra ticket, but not all of us are that lucky. My husband is in the navy and we just got stationed in Washington state, our parents are in South Carolina and Georgia. Cross country plane trips are not cheap and we didn't choose to live here. It is bad enough that any vacation time we get we have to spend our entire savings to fly as driving would take too long. I don't like having my youngest fly in my lap but it is way too expensive otherwise. When she turns two we just won't be able to do it.

jalaz77 jalaz77

Wrapped in my moby.

nonmember avatar Nina

My father is a pilot and has always made me promise to pay for my children's tickets. Lap babies will fly out of your arms in a crash... my child's life isn't worth the savings. Changes in the airline industry only happen after the cost of human life. My children will not be the reason for that long ovetdue policy change.

nonmember avatar Tonya

Baby wearing is NOT safe while flying. Strapping your baby to your chest turns your child into your "airbag," crushing them between your chest and your legs/the seat in front of you/the floor. Adults are required to be properly restrained, children of all ages should be as well. Also car seats should never be gate-checked (you should be using them on the plane of course). Damage to seats due to rough handling during loading and unloading is rampant and undetectable.

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