Toddler Who Died in Hot Car May Have Been in Wrong Car Seat

More details are coming out about the tragic death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris, who died in a hot car while his father, Justin Ross Harris, was sexting several women. Harris is being charged with murder. He says that he forgot to drop off his child at daycare. One thing that has always puzzled those following the case is how Harris couldn't have seen his child in the back seat -- especially after he dropped light bulbs off in the car during his lunch break. But Cooper's car seat was rear-facing, and the defense will likely use that as the reason why he didn't see his son sitting there. However, should he have been in a rear-facing seat?

Investigators say that Cooper had outgrown his car seat by "several inches" and his head was clearly over the top of it. However, many parents continue to use rear-facing seats after a child can legally be put into a forward-facing seat.

What is more troublesome is that authorities say that Cooper already had a front-facing seat, one that was bought six weeks before his death. However, his parents had reportedly either switched back to the old seat or kept him in it despite having the new one.

Perhaps the parents had a difficult time installing it and decided against it for the time being. Which is terrible because if Harris's version of events is true, a front-facing car seat could have saved his life.

More From The Stir: Mom of Toddler Killed in Hot Car Under Fire for 'Odd' Behavior After His Death

On the other hand, if the prosecutors' version of events is true, then having a rear-facing car seat would be the perfect "cover" for what happened. Harris could much more plausibly claim that the boy couldn't be seen in the rear-facing seat.

If it comes out that the Harris family switched the car seat for no good reason, the case could hinge on it.

Do you think Cooper in a rear-facing seat is significant to the case?


Image via Cobb County Sheriff's Dept.

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Ashyb... Ashybaby13

He had been front facing and they turned his seat backwards again. This man is a murderer and everything he did was intentional. He was trying to cover his tracks because this was premeditated murder.

proud... proudmommy690

No it has nothing to do with whatever car seat he was in. His father is just a sorry ass prick who needs to rot in a hot box for the rest of his days.. kill him like he killed his innocent baby.

nonmember avatar Em

The article you link back to said that he was in his new seat for some time. So I think the question of why he was switched back into one too small is very important.

Everything about this case makes me feel sick.

kayba... kaybayblee3

I agree with Ashybaby13 and proudmommy690

Jozemom Jozemom

Even if he was in the rear facing seat, the article says he was growing out of it and his head stuck out the back. That means he would still have been visible (either his head or his legs would have been visible). Other news articles have said that  based on the time of death, the smell of death would already have been very discernible when his father went to the car at lunch, and almost unbearable by the time he got in the car after work. So even if he really couldn't see the child, there is no way he didn't notice that smell. It's a weak argument, but after the Casey Anthony case I've learned that even the weakest arguments can set a murderer free. 

nonmember avatar Kristi

Yes, this is relevant. As is everything they dig up on these two murderers.

Charl... Charlyla2

I wondered when we would get around the car seat. I even told my husband that for a 22 month old to be rear facing , he either had to be small for age or the parents did it on purpose. I went with the latter.

nonmember avatar Della moulin

This is really sad ! Both people need to pay for this crime . The man who made this child ( I won't call him a father ) should get the death penalty and the person who concieved him should spend a lot of time in jail . They both had an agenda and that was to get rid of this baby . God will have No mercy on these people .

Kassi McCaughey

Rear facing until at least 2 is the safest thing for a child, you just buy a convertible seat that can be rear or front facing so that the child actually fits in the seat.

nonmember avatar Lala Erik

rear facing vs. front facing car seat is based on weight of child, not the age. Once a child reaches 20 pounds it is perfectly safe to face them forward.

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