What is the true story about two small children sharing one seat belt, either on a bench seat or when they fit on a single seat?
According to an article by John Yodice in his “Pilot Counsel” column in AOPA magazine, here are the facts.
A child under two years old is not required to be belted, if held by a belted-in adult.
There is a 1972 FAA rule interpretation, reaffirmed in 1990, that allows two small children to share a seat belt. What follows is the FAA announcement text on the subject:
“As long as approved safety belts are carried aboard the aircraft for all occupants, and the structural strength requirements for the seats are not exceeded, the seating of two persons whose combined weight does not exceed 170 pounds under one safety belt where the belt can be properly secured around both persons would not be a violation of the regulations for an operation under Part 91.”
How’s that for a run-on sentence….
Also of interest is the fact that, since 1996, any child restraint system used aboard an aircraft must be specifically labeled as approved for aircraft use. While this rulemaking was targeted at airliner use, the rule contains no exclusion for Part 91 and light aircraft.