My "mind-the-rules" mentality jumped in my throat as the flight attendant made her announcements, including "There can be nothing in the seat back pocket -- no iPads, no books, no water bottles, nothing. It's an FAA regulation, so don't shoot the messenger." She then proceeded to march down the aisle checking people's laps for seatbelts, and presumably pockets for contraband baggage.
I had a squirmy toddler in my lap, a grumpy old man on my left and my Zo&Co Travel Tote in the seat back pocket -- full of stuff Jane would need for the flight. I had heard this message once before -- on another flight -- but it hadn't been enforced then. And thankfully it wasn't enforced on this flight either. I certainly would have complied if she had asked me directly though -- but I'm not sure how I would have juggled everything without seriously angering my seat mate.
Back home I Googled the regulation and found out it's a recommendation by the FAA, and flight attendants enforce it differently -- it varies airline to airline and even flight to flight. One person even wrote about a flight attendant who wouldn't let him put his ticket stub in the seat back pocket!
The reasoning is that something heavy in the pocket could fly out during take off or landing and then hurt someone. Seems like a moot point when I'm holding a 25+ pound toddler in my lap, but I see the point and had NEVER considered that before even having been on dozens of flights in my lifetime.
I still love the travel tote and will continue to use it to situate ourselves on the plane. Without a toddler en tow it would be easier to have the tote stashed under the seat and then pull it out after take off. Maybe on future travel after November 8?