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Children and Infants in Aviation Accidents

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BACKGROUND: This study examines the relationship between seat restraints and injuries of children and infants who were passengers on an aircraft and gives a detailed analysis of children whose behavior contributed to an accident.

METHODS: A total of 58 accident reports from 1980 until 2015 were extracted from the NTSB online database in which children were mentioned. In at least 10 cases the childs behavior contributed to the accident.

RESULTS: Violations of regulations by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) as well as the age and number of children and infants on board were each reported inconsistently. Violations of regulations were significantly more common when accidents occurred during the takeoff phase. Child behaviors that caused accidents included distraction of crew, not wearing a seatbelt, and running into dangerous areas.

CONCLUSIONS: Pilots and crew, especially in General Aviation, need to be made aware of the need to enforce FAA regulations concerning child restraint systems. It is recommended that children both on the ground and inside an aircraft have adult supervision in addition to supervising aircraft crew to prevent distractions that harm the safe operation of an aircraft.

Kalagher H, de Voogt A. Children and infants in aviation accidents. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2021; 92(5):353357.

Keywords: child; child behavior; general aviation; infant; safety

Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: May 1, 2021

More about this publication?
  • This journal (formerly Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine), representing the members of the Aerospace Medical Association, is published monthly for those interested in aerospace medicine and human performance. It is devoted to serving and supporting all who explore, travel, work, or live in hazardous environments ranging from beneath the sea to the outermost reaches of space. The original scientific articles in this journal provide the latest available information on investigations into such areas as changes in ambient pressure, motion sickness, increased or decreased gravitational forces, thermal stresses, vision, fatigue, circadian rhythms, psychological stress, artificial environments, predictors of success, health maintenance, human factors engineering, clinical care, and others. This journal also publishes notes on scientific news and technical items of interest to the general reader, and provides teaching material and reviews for health care professionals.

    To access volumes 74 through 85, please click here.
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