NTSB wants to change child safety belt regulation on planes

The National Transportation Safety Board on Aug. 10 sent a letter (.pdf file) to the Federal Aviation Administration recommending that babies younger than 2 be required to have their own seats on airplanes.

The recommendation letter was sent in light of preliminary findings from an ongoing investigation into a March 2009 plane crash in Butte, MT. The pilot and 13 passengers were killed in the crash. Investigators said the bodies of four children between 3 and 9 years old were found farthest from the impact site, indicating they were thrown from the airplane because they were unrestrained or improperly restrained.

NTSB wants to change the rule that allows children 2 and younger to sit in the laps of adults. The board recommended FAA amend federal regulations to require separate seats and restraints for every occupant, and require each person younger than 2 to be restrained in a separate seat position during takeoff, landing and turbulence. In May, NTSB released a safety alert (.pdf file) urging parents to use proper child restraints.