DP 1301CS - Carriage of Infants and Children
Aviation is a safe form of transport, however, turbulence and accidents do occur. Aircraft are fitted with occupant protection devices which include features for survival of an incident and may also include devices to assist in a subsequent evacuation.
One societal view is that an equal level of protection should be offered to all occupants; infants, children, and adults. The minimum standards of restraint currently offered to infants and small children are lower than that offered to adults.
Research and worldwide accident history suggests injury is likely to be more severe for those in multiple occupancy seating than that for a person sitting singularly in an aircraft seat. However, for infants and small children, an aircraft seat belt may not be a much more appropriate form of restraint.
Whilst in the last 10 years no infant or child fatality has occurred in Australia due to multiple occupancy restraint methods in survivable accidents, serious injuries have occurred to small children using lap belts.
Australia is unique in the world in specifically having regulations that allow two children to occupy one seat. Europe removed this allowance for commercial operations during the development of the Joint Aviation Regulations (JAR), based on research commissioned for the purpose.
Many options are available, or potentially available, for adequately restraining infants and small children in all forms of aircraft.
CASA invites comments and suggestions on this DP from all interested parties so that if any future regulatory changes are proposed, they are fit for purpose. CASA is particularly interested in data on socioeconomic implications and current usage rates of two children sitting in one seat.
How to respond
Comment period now closed.
14 July 2014
Contact: Mark Bathie, Project Leader