United Airlines said it is reviewing an incident in which a mother said she was ordered to improperly install her infant daughter's car seat on a flight this week.
Cassandra Hutchins of Gold River, California, said she was flying home from Denver International airport on Sunday with her 8-month-old daughter, Mila, who was seated in a car seat next to her. Hutchins said the car seat was facing backward in the way experts recommend for children under the age of 2.
Then, she said, a United gate agent asked her to turn the car seat around so it faced the front of the plane.
"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 for that yet," Hutchins told "Good Morning America." "I feel like I was being intimidated to put my daughter in danger."
Incident under review
Hutchins said her daughter, Mila, was using a Federal Aviation Administration-approved Graco Snugride 35 Platinum Infant Car Seat. The seat protects infants from 4 to 35 pounds when it is used in the rear-facing position.
Hutchins said that Mila weighs 18 pounds, but that she was still ordered by the staff member to install the car seat in the front-facing position.
United acknowledged that its employee was mistaken in asking Hutchins to turn the car seat around.
"At United, our customers’ safety is our top priority. We have been in touch with the customer and have apologized for her experience. We are continuing to review this with the SkyWest staff to learn more about what happened," the company said in the statement provided to "GMA."
SkyWest operates regional flights for United and the flight was staffed by a SkyWest crew, a United spokesperson told ABC News.
A representative from SkyWest Airlines, who operates regional flights as United Express, said it does not staff the gates at Denver.
SkyWest was, however, flying the aircraft, both SkyWest and United confirmed.
“We are committed to safety and exceptional customer service, and are working with our partner to review this flight,” SkyWest told “GMA” in a statement.
The FAA said a car seat should be installed in accordance with the instructions provided by the car seat manufacturer. In Hutchins' case, that would mean rear-facing.
Hutching said, "I think that every organization needs to take accountability, to know what their policies are and make sure everybody is aware."
Hutchins said that when the flight hit a patch of turbulence, she was forced to hold her child's head back to her car seat so that she would be safe.
What to know about installing a car seat on a plane
Many car seat manufacturers recommend that children remain in rear-facing seats from birth until age 2, or until they reach the upper weight limit of their rear-facing convertible seat, which is around 35 pounds.
On May 24, 2011, the FAA recommended that children weighing 40 pounds or less sit in FAA-approved child safety-seats when flying, ABC News reported.
If a car seat is approved by the FAA for flying, it should be noted on the side of the seat.
Booster seats without seat backs are not approved for air travel.
A public affairs manager for the FAA confirmed to "GMA" that passengers should follow all guidelines made by car seat manufacturers when installing them in aircraft seats.