Regulation of the Day 146: Airplane Child Seats

If you and your small child are flying away on a vacation, most airlines will let the child fly for free. If the child sits in your lap, you don’t have to pay for a second seat. But the National Transportation Safety Board doesn’t think that is safe.  Severe turbulence and rough landings kill a lap-child or two every decade.

That’s why NTSB wants to require all children to sit separately, comfortably ensconced in the child safety seats they use when riding in a car.

The NTSB’s intentions are laudable. They’re trying to make people safer. But intentions are not results. And this rule’s results would be exactly opposite its intentions. It would kill far more people than it would save.

That’s because making parents pay for an extra ticket raises the cost of flying. Many families will choose to drive instead. And remember, driving is much more dangerous than flying. According to CEI’s Sam Kazman, studies show that the extra driving in lieu of flying would kill about 50 people per decade, plus thousands more injuries.

Throwing away 50 lives to save one or two lives is a bad deal. It is literally death by regulation. That’s also why the FAA has repeatedly refused NTSB’s periodic demands to make parents pay more to fly. May they stand firm again.

See also today’s press release from Sam Kazman.