Mother furious with airline after car seat flap

December 27, 2010 6:24:41 PM PST
Bay Area mother is furious with Sky West and its partner United Airlines. She claims a decision by a flight crew put her infant daughter in potential danger and now she wants other parents know what to do in case the flight attendants do not.

At 11 months old, Sunshine Bradley is a globetrotting baby. She has been to the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii and Georgia.

Every flight, Sunshine's mom Melissa Bradley has her buckled up in a Graco car seat. But last week, on a Sky West flight out of Aspen, the car seat caused a commotion.

"I was nearly in tears; I said, 'My baby won't be safe," Melissa Bradley said.

Bradley received an ultimatum from a Sky West flight attendant: remove the baby from the car seat and hold her during takeoff or get off the plane.

When Bradley questioned why, the flight crew told her the car seat was not FAA approved.

"He argued with me to be forward facing and I said the seat an infant seat should be facing backwards the way they are supposed to be installed," Bradley said.

Bradley, a mother of four, said the car seat was designed to be rear-facing and she even showed the crew the car seat's FAA approval sticker.

Even the FAA's website says "the safest place for your little one during turbulence or an emergency is in an approved child restraint system (CRS) or device, not on your lap." The FAA also recommends kids under 20 pounds, like Sunshine, be in a rear facing seat.

Melissa says her daughter's safety rights were violated. She wants to see flight crews have better training when it comes to kids and car seats.

"I think it's each passenger's right to be able to be safe regardless of their age," she said.


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