Push for child safety on planes after Flight 232 - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Push for child safety on planes after Flight 232

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The crash landing of Flight 232 put the issue of child safety at the forefront.

In the chilling minutes before United Airlines flight 232 cart wheeled down the runway in Sioux City, Iowa flight attendant Jan Brown remembers giving very specific instructions for the impending crash.

"Parents with lap children, place them on the floor at this time and hold them.  And, I just could not believe I was saying those words.  It was the most ludicrous thing I have ever said in my life," said Brown.

While 184 people survived the crash, among the 112 passengers killed was 22-month-old Evan Tsao.

He was ripped from the arms of his mother who confronted Brown in that Sioux City cornfield.

"And, she just looked at me and said, you told me to put my baby on the floor and he would be o.k. and now he's gone.

Haunted by that moment for 25 years Brown has fought for the rules to be changed.

But in spite of its own research showing the perils of lap children on airplanes the FAA still permits the practice for children under the age of two.

Since Sioux City, there have been at least four more incidents where lap children were injured or killed.

Former NTSB official John Goglia calls the lap child controversy one of the most troubling unresolved issues from his years of investigating transportation safety.

The FAA argues that forcing parents to buy tickets for their toddlers would cause too many to skip air travel altogether opting for highway trips which they argue are more dangerous and would result in more child deaths.

But even as the FAA argues that it would be better to hold your child in an airplane than buckle him into a child seat in a car.

On their own website they talk about the danger.

"The safest place for your child on an airplane is in a government approved child safety restraint system," they write. "Your arms aren't capable of holding your child securely."

Critics say it's a mixed message.

The FAA warning parents about the dangers but virtually encouraging the practice by allowing lap-held children to fly for free.


 

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