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Traveling with children is always hectic, whether you travel by car or by plane. The rules for car travel are fairly simple: all babies and children (up to a certain height and weight) must be secured in an approved car or booster seat.

While the FAA does not require your child fly in a safety seat, it is recommended. One mother is now questioning United Airlines after she was forced to turn her 8-month old daughter’s car seat forward-facing. Rear-facing is the way a seat is supposed to be fitted for the utmost safety.

However, Cassie Hutchins was told by an agent at the Denver Airport that the flight would not leave the gate until she had put her daughter’s seat into the front-facing position. Hutchins says she had no problem with this issue on the flight to Denver. But just three days later, she faced this quandary.

Hutchins says she obeyed the agent because otherwise, she would have been asked to get off of the plane. She says she had to protect her daughter’s head during the entire flight to keep it from snapping forward. It was also difficult to get the car seat strapped in when facing forward.

Legally, if your child is under 24-months of age, that child may ride in your lap, and you don’t have to purchase an additional ticket. But many parents, out of an abundance of caution, choose to purchase the extra seat and travel with a child safety seat.

Most car-seat makers will tell you whether a specific car seat is airline approved. The FAA requires that airlines give seat dimensions on their websites. So, if you are unsure, or if your car seat is not airline approved, you’ll want to check the dimensions to ensure your baby’s seat is a fit for flying.

In the end, United agreed to refund the cost of Hutchins’ tickets. The airline also has stated that they are conducting an internal investigation into the issue.

Do you fly with small children? How do you secure them in the airline seats?

If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.

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