Monday, July 20, 2009

Seating Guides for Children in Flights

It is strongly recommended that infants be put into a child restraint system appropriate for their weight. Most Approved Australian Safety Standard child restraint seats designed for use in motor vehicles are suitable for use in an aircraft, if used in accordance with the seat manufacturer's instructions. For travellers from overseas, Canadian, European and USA standard motor vehicle child seats are acceptable. Additionally, dedicated aviation restraint systems approved by those Airworthiness Authorities are also acceptable. This includes a device from the USA marketed as the ‘Kidsflysafe CARES'.

Child booster seats are only allowed to be used in seats which incorporate a shoulder harness. For that reason, booster seats are not allowed to be used on standard airline seating. As a guide, once a child has outgrown their full harness child restraint, it is safe for them to use the aircraft seat & lap belt.

An airline may supply child restraint seats or may allow you to use your own. When making your booking, check to see what arrangements the airline you are travelling with has for the safe transport of your infant. Once you have confirmed the acceptable use of the child restraint, think about the following:

  • Find a way to conveniently carry the infant, bags and possibly a child restraint through airports and into and out of aircraft,
  • Check with the airline you are flying with and follow their recommendations for using child restraint systems,
  • Check whether it is a requirement of the airline you are travelling with, that child restraints are used.

Small children enjoy reaching out and exploring. If they are seated beside the aisle they could get hurt if their arms get bumped by a passing person or serving cart. Ideally, two responsible adults should sit one on either side of a small child.

Alternatively, the child can be seated on a row with a window on one side and a responsible adult on the other. If an infant is in a child restraint, that restraint should not impede another person making their way to the aisle so in that situation it is best that they be placed in the window seat.

Turbulence can happen at any time and without warning, so keep your child belted in as much as possible. If the child wants to get up and move around, let them do so only if the seat belt sign is off.

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