NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


December 8, 1999

The National Transportation Safety Board will hold a conference on child safety in aviation on Dec. 15 and 16 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va. The meeting is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 15 and 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the next day. News media are invited to attend. NTSB Chairman Jim Hall will present opening remarks and Jane Garvey, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, will discuss her agency's activities and plans on this subject.

The meeting also will feature other officials from the NTSB, FAA, airlines, Transport Canada, researchers and child seat manufacturers. Representatives from the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia will attend the meeting, which will educate participants about the latest developments for protecting young children, and highlight problems and challenges that will need to be resolved to enable this protection to be easily afforded to all young children flying on aircraft.

Scheduled topics of discussion include the history of child restraints for aircraft; issues confronting parents and airlines; who should use the seats; regulations covering their use in this country and abroad; who should supply the seats; and design requirements. Officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also will discuss compatibility issues for aircraft and automobiles.

"It is unfortunate that regulations require everything except our smallest children to be secured for airplane takeoffs and landings and during in-air turbulence," said NTSB Chairman Hall. "We have seen cases in which the lack of a child seat has led to serious or fatal injuries and others where the use of a child seat has prevented such injuries. We should use the technology that is available, the resources at our disposal, and our compassion to prevent the needless injury to or loss of more of our most precious resource - our children."

For 20 years, the Safety Board has been making recommendations to the FAA concerning the safety of children in aircraft. Recently, throughout the world, there have been numerous developments in the technology to protect children from injurious forces in airplane crashes, and the development of systems and regulations to make this technology available to parents flying with young children.

The Safety Board issued its first recommendation concerning child restraints to the FAA in 1979. The Board recommended that the FAA "expedite research with a view toward early rulemaking on a means to most effectively restrain infants and small children during in-flight upsets and survivable crash landings." The Board has issued additional recommendations about the need for child restraints in 1990, 1993 and 1995. The Board first recommended in 1990 that the FAA require that all occupants, including children under 2, be restrained during take-off, landing and turbulent conditions.

Among accidents the NTSB has investigated where a proper restraint could have saved a child's life was the July 2, 1994, crash of a DC-9 during a missed approach to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport that killed 37 people. One woman who was seriously injured lost hold of her 9-month-old lap child, who was killed; another woman sustained minor injuries while her 19-month-old lap child sustained serious injuries. The Safety Board now is investigating a June 1, 1999, MD-80 accident at Little Rock, Ark., in which a 2-year-old child in a child restraint system survived with minor injuries.

NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100



The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.