Adopted by the 57th WMA General Assembly, Pilanesberg, South Africa, October 2006,
and reaffirmed by the 203rd WMA Council Session, Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 2016,
and reaffirmed with minor revisions by the 218th Council session (online), London, United Kingdom, October 2021
Air travel is a common mode of transportation and is used by people of all ages every day. The WMA notes that high standards of safety for adult passengers in air travel have been achieved, with strict safety procedures increasing greatly the chance of survival during emergency situations in aircraft.
Restraint and safety systems for infants and children have been successfully tested to reduce the risk of suffering injuries in case of emergency. Those systems have been approved for usage in standard passenger aircrafts and successfully introduced by several airlines. However, the practice of holding an infant or child in a lap or using a “loop belt” continues and is not a sufficient safety measure.
Therefore, the World Medical Association and its constituent members
- Express grave concern regarding the fact that adequate safety systems for infants and children have not been generally implemented;
- Call on all airline companies to take immediate steps to introduce safe, thoroughly tested and standardized child restraint systems;
- Call on all airline companies to train their staff in the appropriate handling and usage of child restraint systems;
- Call for the establishment of a universal standard or specification for the testing and manufacturing of child restraint systems, and
- Call on national legislators and air transportation safety authorities to:
- require for infants and children, as a matter of law, safe individual child restraint systems that are approved for use in standard passenger aircraft;
- ensure that airlines provide child restraint systems or welcome passengers using their own systems, if the equipment is qualified and approved for the specific aircraft;
- ban the usage of inappropriate “loop belts” frequently used to secure infants and children in passenger aircraft;
- provide appropriate information about infant and child safety on board of aircraft to all airline passengers.