Indians are travelling air more than ever. Majority of these new flyers are young couples with a baby. Obviously, they are carrying their infant on-board with them. These first time flyers may be on cloud nine for flying air, but that can’t be said for the infant.
According to various studies in the past, babies are not particularly happy inside airplanes. Lower oxygen levels onboard a plane could adversely affect immature respiratory systems in babies; and one of the direct indication of this uneasiness is their constant crying.
Now a new study says that there are increased health risks for infants on planes, especially if they are sitting in laps. Let I clear a thing here, this kind of risk to infants on-board (in an aeroplane) is quite small. And hence doesn’t require immediate panic on the part of parents.
But, this new research does suggest that air travel may present more risks to infants than you thought.
The risk to infants sitting on their parents laps comes from the in-flight turbulence, which is the leading cause of injury to children on airplanes. The in-flight turbulence ( a sudden jerk caused by turbulence ) can sometimes catapult lap children into another row.
Recent studies studying in-flight pediatric deaths found them to be very rare, but almost all of the children who did die aboard planes were under the age of 2 and traveling on long flights between continents. Out of these some deaths resulted from known medical problems, and the cause of half the deaths wasn’t clear. That’s in half of these rare cases, a healthy lap infant ended up dead. It’s a very rare event but researchers see that happening.
5 Tips To minimise In-Flight Risk to Infants
The tips shared below are not expert advice, they are simply a collation of what we found suggested in recent researches :
1. Infants appeared to face higher risk of death from sleeping in the same seat as an adult. The reasons put forward are that an infant sleeping with an adult can be suffocated or compressed by an adult shifting position during sleep.
2. Make the infant sleep on his/her back.
3. Don’t make the infant sit adjacent to the in between pathway. This minimises the risk of hot food getting spilled on children, and fingers getting crushed from service carts.
4. Make the Child sit closer to the window seat.
Parents must be belted to their seats and they must not use Laptops. If a child can become airborne, so can a laptop; seriously injuring human beings around.
5. Parents of children with known medical issues should consult doctors before flying, and remember to pack medicine for children in carry-on luggage. A child with respiratory or heart issues or anemia might need supplemental oxygen in the airplane cabin environment. About 10 percent of all in-flight emergencies involve children and children with medical histories are more at risk than others. Almost all of these are NON life threatening.
Is the Risk significant ?
As already shared above, the instances of in-flight infant mortalities is quite rare. That’s why many people see such studies as those pushing some agenda of airline companies. For instance, the recent studies on the threats of flight turbulence to infants, wherein an infant gets catapulted many feets away because of flight turbulence, are seen as Airline companies’ desire to make parents pay for their infant or child’s travel. The National Transportation Safety Board (USA) has even pushed for the use of car seats in airplanes for children under the age of two. But the problem here is that many parents traveling by plane don’t want to drag a big car seat around, can’t keep fidgety kids in it for long flights and refuse to buy a ticket for their infants.
Still, leaving aside skepticism, there’s nothing wrong in following some easy tips; until better safety for infants and children is at place.