Earlier 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