Nunavut crash prompts call for child seats on planes
TSB, RCMP and Nunavut coroner all investigating recent crash
A tragic accident which claimed the life of a six-month-old baby in Nunavut last weekend has some wondering if there needs to be better safety standards on planes.
At the Iqaluit airport there's no shortage of babies, such as one-year-old Rachel, who's on her way to Clyde River.
Amy Kalluk, Rachel’s mother, said this was her first time travelling with her daughter. She said that she’s worried about safety after the Sanikiluaq crash.
Last Saturday, a Perimeter Aviation turbo-prop plane went down in Sanikiluaq, six-month-old Isaac Appaqaq was the only passenger who didn't survive.
Nunavut's chief coroner, Padma Suramala, said Isaac was thrown from his mother's lap and died of multiple injuries.
Airlines usually instruct parents to hold babies in the brace position for takeoff and landing.
"I'm not sure whether it will be any different in preventing this unfortunate death at this point," said Suramala, referring to the Sanikiluaq crash.
The crash has parents thinking about the safety of their children in the air.
"I'd feel more secure if he were in my hands, in my arms, than in a car seat," said Sylvia Qulitaluk, the mother of an 11-month-old.
Ooleesie Tikivik's son Adamie will be two years old in four days. He's already a seasoned traveller, but his mother worries about holding him in her arms.
"Yes, I worry a lot. Even with my son, I've traveled like around eight to 10 times. And he doesn't sit still a lot, so it would be much safer with a car seat," said Tikivik.
Transport Canada encourages passengers to use an approved child restraint system or car seat when travelling by air with infants or children, and doctors agree.
"The first step would definitely be education. We do have legislation for infants riding in cars and maybe legislation for air travel is the next step," said Dr. Jennifer Shu, a pediatrician and author based in Atlanta, Ga.
"Airlines definitely recommend securing things like coffee pots, laptops and luggage, the same thing should apply for our youngest children," Shu said.
However, that means parents must buy an extra ticket at hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars per seat.
"It would be tough because flights are expensive," said Tikivik.
Nunavut's chief coroner said her office is collaborating with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and the RCMP on an investigation into the crash.
The investigation could produce recommendations on safer airline travel in the future.