Parents might be unaware of the hazards children face while traveling on an airplane.
The study “In-flight Medical Events, Injuries and Deaths Affecting Children During Commercial Aviation Flights,” which covered the entire pediatric age spectrum, children birth to age 18, found examples of injuries affecting children, mostly in the younger age groups. Children ages 1 to 8 were treated for burns, contusions and lacerations, which resulted from falls in unrestrained lap infants, fallen objects from overhead bins, and trauma by service cart or aisle traffic.
The study’s senior investigator, Dr. Alexandre Rotta, the Linsalata Family Chair in Pediatric Critical Care and Emergency Medicine Chief at the Division of Pediatric Critical Care at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, hopes to help parents travel with their children safely and provides some tips.
• Bring nutrition and medication that might be needed with you, not in checked luggage. Airline medical kits were not designed for pediatric emergencies.
• Avoid placing a child in an aisle seat. Trauma to hands and digits occurs when the service cart or a passenger crushes an appendage against the armrest. Also, items might fall from the overhead compartment and injure children occupying aisle seats. During hot beverage or meal service, children occupying aisle seats are more likely to get burned when items are passed over them. Use the window seat for children, whenever possible; it is safer and more entertaining.
• If you can afford it, purchase a separate seat for children ages 2 and younger. Use an FAA-approved child car seat. Just as one should not ride a car while holding a 6-month- old on one’s lap, one should not fly with an unrestrained child. Flying with an unrestrained lap infant increases the chance of injury from trauma (falls, turbulence) and has been associated with a higher chance of death from SIDS or asphyxiation when the adult sharing the seat with the child falls asleep and accidentally compresses the infant.
For more information, visit UHhospitals.org