Mom says airline ordered car seat installed improperly

Cassandra Hutchins says a United Airlines gate agent told her to turn her car seat holding her 18-month-old daughter forward or the plane would not take off.
3:22 | 06/13/18

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Transcript for Mom says airline ordered car seat installed improperly
And we're back now with united airlines under fire after a mother says a gate agent ordered her to improperly install her infant's car seat. She says it put the baby's safety in jeopardy and Paula Faris is here with the story and the airline's response. Good morning, Paula. Good morning, everyone. Now, thankfully this baby is okay but the mom wants this to be a teaching moment, a learning moment for everybody to ensure that other babies are not put in dangerous situations like hers. Flying with children can be challenging but this morning, united is investigating one flight a mother says became a nightmare. Cassandra Hutchins was flying home in Denver on Sunday with her 8-month-old, 18-pound daughter mila seated in a car seat next to her. She says the car seat was facing backwards just like experts suggest for children under 2. But says a gate agent told her that the plane would not take off unless she placed the car seat facing forward. I've researched everything heavily so I knew that if I had her forward facing just like in a car any bump, anything, her neck isn't strong enough. Reporter: Infants are precious cargo. The FAA recommends purchasing a separate ticket for children under the age of 2 and using a car seat instead of carrying them in your lap. Why? Take a look at this FAA crash simulation. A 20-pound baby buckled on its parent's lap fly away with the force of a 100-pound missile. The reason, in events like extreme turbulence an infant's weight can triple and our arms have trouble holding on. Severe turbulence they can fly out of your arms and hit their hid and can actually be killed. Reporter: Hutchins said she argued to keep her daughter's seat facing backward but felt pressured to turn it around. I feel like I was being intimidated to put my daughter in danger. When the flight got bumpy because we hit a patch of turbulence I was holding her head back to her seat so that she would be safe. Reporter: 20 minutes before landing she says a flight attendant reviewed that FAA policy and let her fix her daughter's car seat for landing. United acknowledging the gate agent made a mistake telling ABC news our customers' safety is our top priority. We have been in touch with the customer and apologized. She hopes her story saves frustration in the future. I think that every organization needs to take accountability, know what their policies are and make sure that everybody is aware. Okay, Amy, so we have a little demonstration. We have airline seats and we have the car seat which is very similar to the one that mom used and, of course, we know according to FAA guidelines and according to the guidelines this particular car seat you have to ride rear facing until the baby is around 2. But the gate agent approached her and said you have to put the car seat forward. You were explaining what happens to the baby's had he had. Look at this. The buckle barely fits, a and then as the mom said in the piece she had to hole the baby's head because it's that turbulence which can triple the weight of the infant so, again, up to two years they need to -- I learned something too. Different from when I was a mom. I'm getting anxiety just thinking about traveling with my children. We know rear facing and the airlines are on board wit. Michael, over to you. Thank you, Amy.

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