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Woman Sues Airline over Screaming Toddler!

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momlogic's Vivian: Last year, I wrote a blog called "Air Wars" -- a vivid recollection of a nightmare plane ride with my inconsolable 2-year old. Half of you deeply felt my pain; the other half felt compelled to chastise me for neglecting to drug my daughter into a complacent, drooling silence. (Benadryl isn't always the answer, BTW -- it's scientifically proven to make some kids even more hyper. But I digress.)

toddler crying

Anyway, a poor mom enveloped in the flames of a similar hell recently had to tolerate even bigger jackasses than I did -- and one of them even sprung a lawsuit on the airline!

Time.com reports that American tourist Jean Barnard, 67, found the nerve to sue Qantas because (she claims) the staff of the airline failed to protect her from the screaming toddler she blames for permanent hearing loss!

Barnard said, "The pain was so excruciating that I didn't even know I was deaf." In response, Qantas legal said, "Flight attendants cannot predict when children aboard an aircraft are about to scream. There is no evidence that the child was screaming in the terminal, or on board the aircraft prior to the particular scream which allegedly caused the damage."

The case settled last week, but we were treated to this last missive from the woman (WHO WORE A HEARING AID DURING THE FLIGHT IN QUESTION): "I guess we are simply fortunate that my eardrum was exploding and I was swallowing blood. Had it not been for that, I would have dragged that kid out of his mother's arms and stomped him to death."

Um, her preexisting deafness couldn't have been aggravated by the sudden change in cabin pressure that occurs during ALL flights, could it?

And lemme guess: She doesn't have kids, right?


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199 comments so far | Post a comment now
minnie July 27, 2010, 6:37 AM

Actually I’ve long wondered why there isn’t a special nursery seating section that encompasses a row & is tucked behind plexiglass.

Air travel is quite taxing enough as well as being expensive & heightens everyone’s stress levels. While most airlines do a decent job of trying to alleviate that stress (at least international flights), it seems pretty odd not to have a nursery section with some special entertainment just for kids & a sound proof area to accomdate the needs of parents choosing to travel with children & people who are not traveling with children on planes who are usually the vast majority.

DoNotRemember July 27, 2010, 6:51 AM

I find it annoying that so many people with children automatically assume that those without children are intolerant. I was the oldest child in a large family, don’t have children, love children, and know a lot about raising them as I basically helped ALL DAY LONG raise my younger siblings. People with children do have a responsibility to keep their children quiet within reasonable guidlines in public places such as airlines and restaurants. I have endured a child kicking my seat from behind while the parent was oblivious. I find it hard to believe that the parent didn’t know how to quiet their child. If the child is typically so difficult to sooth, maybe the people should choose another form of travel or not to travel. We are a very selfish nation, and all you need to know to confirm that is to observe some other countries if you travel abroad. I see poor parenting far more often than I see good parenting frankly, and selfishness is far too common. Wait until you are older, maybe traveling with a headache, and someone else’s little darling is kicking your seat without good parenting, or screaming on and on. I suspect your opinion will change dramatically. After all, it is always about what is easiest and most convenient for us at any given point, isn’t it?

youngmama July 27, 2010, 7:07 AM

I am so surprised at the comments of others. I have never flown with my daughter, but realize I could have to. I am not going to presume that I know all situations under which someone might need to travel with a child. I also realize that even the calmest of children might have a meltdown for an unforeseen reason. People who fly with their children obviously love them and shame on anyone who says otherwise, in a world full of unloved and abused children to accuse these parents of that is just shameful. Yes, parents need to raise their children to be respectful and some parents are negligent. I think in the end one issue we’re dealing with is reasonable expectations of what to expect on a flight. Paying the lowest fare I can find, I expect crying, fat people, discomfort, etc. If I wanted a peaceful, comfy flight I would pay for the upgrade. Until then, when it doubt, assume best intentions and give people a break.

OMG July 27, 2010, 7:09 AM

First of all, let me say this: While I don’t agree that anyone should SUE an airline for a screaming toddler, I DO believe this woman would have every right to sue the parents. While ANON may NOT have any children, I do. I also hate when I go out (say to a movie) and there’s a SCREAMING toddler in there, and the parents do absolutely nothing about it!!! And, yes—I realize that parents have the RIGHT to travel or move with their kids. But, instead of asking everyone else that would have to FLY with a screaming toddler, why not ask the parents of the screaming toddler to DRIVE IN THEIR OWN CAR. And, to the person who said, “you cannot conrol everything your child does,” yes—you CAN (if you are a good parent). I cannot believe all of the parents on this message board who are saying they have no control over what a 2-year old child would do. Hello??? YOU are the PARENT. If you do NOT know how to calm your own child down (one that you have supposedly lived with for 2 years), maybe YOU should have never become a parent in the first place. I have NEVER had a problem calming down my daughter—EVER. I KNOW what “bothers” her and know WHY she is upset. And, if the cabin pressure was hurting this screaming toddler’s ears, WHY DIDN’T THE PARENTS PROVIDE EAR PLUGS FOR THEIR CHILD??? The rest of the passengers on this flight (probably over a hundred) should NOT have to wear ear plugs, nor should they have to be subjected to hearing screaming for the entire flight. By the way, does ANYONE know how LONG this flight was or how LONG this toddler was SCREAMING??? If not, then do not respond. If I were on a flight for 12 hours and heard this same toddler SCREAM for 12 hours, I would have “taken over” at that time. It’s obvious that the toddler’s parents no little to nothing about raising a child. And, from what I’ve read in here, there are quite a few of you who also don’t know what to do with a screaming toddler. And, NO—YOU DO NOT NEED TO DRUG A CHILD TO CALM HIM/HER DOWN! Sorry; but, I have to side with ANON on this one. As for the woman who called her a “racist”??? WHAT??? A “racist”??? You really want to go there??? I happen to be Native American Indian, and her comment about “wild Indians” did not offend me whatsoever. So, to the woman who called ANON a racist, get a grip. And, to the others who say they are not able to control what their child does, please take a parenting class or READ SOME LITERATURE ON HOW TO PARENT. If you cannot control your OWN child, then you need some kind of help. I cannot tell you how many times I have paid $11.00 to see a movie, only to have to listen to a screaming baby in there. These parents are too ignorant to go out into the lobby or leave the movie theater either. They’d rather sit there and annoy everyone else. That is so wrong! As a parent, it is YOUR responsibility to control your child. It is YOUR responsibility to know how to calm your child down. It is YOUR responsibility to know how to make YOUR child happy in the process. If you cannot do these things, perhaps you should call Super Nanny. And, while I have to agree on the points of ANON, I do not agree with JENNMOM when she said, “No children under 10 on flights/trains.” Contrary to some people’s beliefs, there ARE parents out there with young children who KNOW how to control their children. Oh—and, for the record, I have NEVER had a problem with my child acting out in public. If she did, I would pick her up and we would leave. And, again—if her ears hurt on a plane, I KNEW how to comfort her. If she felt sick, I KNEW how to make her feel better. If she was upset about ANYTHING, I KNEW how to make her feel happy and stop crying. Oh—and guess what—I accomplished all of these things with my daughter ALL WITHOUT THE USE OF BENADRYL OR ANY DRUGS AND ALSO NEVER HAD THE NEED TO SPANK HER. So, how is my daughter now??? A very good responsible grown-up. She is 20 years old, has a 3.75 GPA in college, doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t do drugs, has a strong belief in God, and—get this—will not even SWEAR in front of me. She is extremely loving and respectful. And, how did she get to be this way??? That is how I raised her. Gee—after reading all of these messages, I am seriously considering writing a book on HOW TO PROPERLY PARENT A CHILD—ALL WITHOUT DRUGS—FOR BOTH THE PARENTS AND/OR THE CHILD. Thank you all for this idea. And, ANON—know this: I do have a wonderful daughter; I raised her the correct way; she is absolutely beautiful in every way (inside and out); and also—YOU are not alone on this issue. I’m right there with you. So, for people in here to put you down just because you don’t have children—they are wrong. I DO HAVE A CHILD—she will ALWAYS be my “babygirl” even though she is grown. And, I feel EXACTLY the same way that you do. So, for parents who cannot control their child(ren), and you seriously need to MOVE or take a VACATION, then, by all means, DRIVE to get to your destination. That’s right. YOU DRIVE. DO NOT KEEP DRIVING OTHERS CRAZY! Thank you!

rose July 27, 2010, 7:09 AM

anon you are not serious! if the woman had hearing issues she should not have flown on a plane….seriously now….if the kid was screaming she shouldve shown her doctors letter to the airline before she got on the plane maybe they wouldve put her on a cargo plane with human remains! children should be heard…unless they are god forbid mute! you are so ridiculous…hope u never decide to have kids cuz these kids would be in hell!!!!! wow i cant believe there are such ignorant, heartless souls out there!

Shirley Hodge July 27, 2010, 7:11 AM

My 4 are all adults now and I am a grandma but the times I had to fly with my kids I went to their doctor and asked for a mild sedative that I could give them to avoid just such an incident. I didn’t have to worry abot overdosing the kids and causing discomfort to my fellow passengers. Secondly we only flew when we went to visit grandma on the west coast and a train or bus ride was too long. A little common sense and a little consideration of fellow passengers is in order. Todays attitudes that parents have the right to inflict their children on others is a sad commentary on the state of parenting now.

Marabelle July 27, 2010, 7:12 AM

Recently, we had to fly and I took a lot of trouble to get our 15 month old to nod off by the time we were on the plane so she’d be peaceful for the 1-1/2 hour flight, or she’d be screaming her head off. I had her comfortable and calm in an Ergo pouch. When we got on the plane and got settled, the stewardess came and told us we had to take her out of it and place her on a lap “for safety purposes”. Never, ever, have we had to do that before. How is having her loose on my lap safer than being harnessed securely in the carrier? Needless to say, we had to wake her up from her ten minute nap so she was cranky, upset, tired, and cried and fussed and screamed for the whole flight and there was nothing to be done about it. On the way back our flight was delayed and we had to keep her awake so long past her bedtime just so she could be “placed securely and upright on a lap” she was crazed and squealing and kicking seats the whole flight back. I felt bad for her and worse for everyone else. I hope no one sues me.

Charlotte July 27, 2010, 7:51 AM

…What the-? Ok, can I kill her? Seriously! That is absolutely ridiculous. That lady needs to be dragged out back and stoned.

Erin July 27, 2010, 7:56 AM

Wow, way to reinforce the international stereotype of obnoxious, litigious Americans! If your eardrums are weak enough to be perforated from… what about two feet away?… then you should probably turn your hearing aid down.

cathy July 27, 2010, 8:06 AM

I can’t believe the parents that are so insecure that they have to bash this elderly woman that sued. Even if you don’t agree with her you don’t have to verbally insult her or the other posters on here just because you don’t like what they say or do. You are showing the exact behavior that contributes to your childrens out of control behavior. You sound like a bunch of junior high school girls bashing other girls you don’t like. Grow up and lose the bully mentality.

Of course you can’t control every situation BUT many of you parents today ( I am only 48 and yes a mom too ) refuse to take ANY responbibilty for your kids bad behavior. Of coure if they have been complimented by a stranger for their sweet appearance and behavior you beem with pride and take all the credit BUT if someone condemns their behavior you absolve yourselves of ALL responsibility and cry ” I can’t control all situations. Sometimes they just have a MELTDOWN! ” Well that is true to an extent but you can make sure they are following a routine and sleeping and eating on time etc…. Every day I see parents out shopping while talking on the phone, ignoring their kid who is trying to eat the cold happy meal you dropped onto the dirty tray of their stroller so you can shop and talk. STOP IGNORING YOUR CHILDREN AND PAY ATTENTION TO THEM! WHEN YOU HAVE KIDS YOUR LIFE CHANGES! Realize that! And grow the hell up!

Leslie July 27, 2010, 8:07 AM

I recall flying when I was around 7 on a plane for the first time. My mother sent my older (9) sister and I on a plane from Detroit to New Jersey. As soon as we were in the air, my ears started causing the worst pain I had ever felt in my life. I was 7, so I wasn’t screaming, but I did cry almost the entire flight. I can only imagine having that same pain as a toddler and I’m positive I would have been screaming.

I have two of my own kids now and people regularly come up to me and compliment me on how well behaved they are. I’ve taken them on several flights, luckily without any issues. Although we have been on flights with poor parents who were having issues with screaming kids.

While it’s really annoying and I can’t help wanting to “suggest” ways they can calm their kid down, I KNOW that those parents are having a worse time than I am and have tried everything they can in the confined spaced with limited tools.

Those traveling with kids paid for their tickets just like you did. You have a right to bring ear plugs. You don’t have a “right” to be in a public pace and have silence. If you want guaranteed silence, buy a plane.

If you have 5-7 days of vacation time do you want to spend 2-3 of those days on a train trying to get to your destination? Have you ever been on a greyhound bus? Even better, a greyhound bus station in the middle of the night?! I’m not exposing my kids to that because I can afford to buy plan ticket and get to my destination in a few hours.

Why do you think airlines don’t have a “baby section”? They care enough about your need for silence to offer you a much more expensive seat in 1st class.

Comparing it to a movie theater is apples & oranges. People who bring their baby to an adult movie are just rude and should be kicked out. But the purpose of flying on a airplane is to get you to your destination, not for entertainment purposes.

If you ride a train or subway daily, you’ll know that you don’t even have a guaranteed seat, let alone silence.

Christy July 27, 2010, 8:12 AM

I do have kids and I have witnessed some parents who just don’t care how loud or disrespectful their kids are. If this was the case then someone should have spoken with this Mom (calmly) about the screaming. However, a law suit? That is just crazy. I am guessing that the lady had her ear piece turned all the way up when the scream happened. In this case it was just something that happened that wasn’t anyones fault. Especially the airlines. There are also some older folk out there that just don’t like children and if she was one of those people she would have found anything to complain about. Unfortunately we don’t know the people involved and will never know who is to blame. But the law suit was ridiculous and a waste of time and money.

Char July 27, 2010, 8:28 AM

Anon, is RIGHT ON! I could not have said it better.

Sarah July 27, 2010, 8:44 AM

I have family all over the country, and have flow often with my infant and preschooler. Not once did either of my children burst someone’s eardrum. This is obviously an extreme case, which I hope is why everyone is voicing these extreme opinions.

I think it is ridiculous to say it’s harmful or wrong to fly with young children. If I didn’t, my kids wouldn’t know their grandparents or aunts & uncles. A flight of a couple hours is often the only reasonable way to travel.

I work hard to give my kids love, discipline, and consequences. Even so, gasp, they have misbehaved in public. I am just guessing, but I believe this even happened 50 years ago, when parents apparently knew how to raise children.

Jean July 27, 2010, 9:42 AM

Just a quick question…not about the plane ride. How many of you remove your child/children from a restaurant as soon as they become loud or upset? I have 5 children, home daycare provider for 18 yrs and very rarely get out of the house. When I do go out to dinner, I do not appreciate screaming or fighting children. Not every disapproving person dislikes children…I love them. But others have the right to a peaceful existence too.BTW…I take my 6 daycare kids(as I did my own) out to eat often and they sit nicely or we leave. It doesn’t take but once or twice and they learn we respect others or we go home.

Kimberley Kosanke July 27, 2010, 9:42 AM

It wasn’t a consistent crying from what I read—but one scream. and the one scream could’ve been from pressure—that is very painful. It was perhaps that pressure that caused her problems and all related to that. There is a lot of talking here for people who weren’t there and don’t know what happened. I’m not even reading all of them because they are so infuriating so far.

Gramma July 27, 2010, 9:44 AM

You people are crazy! what is wrong with you?? talking about taking a child on a plane or not. AND YES! THAT 2 yr old HAS A PAID TICKET!! THE AIRLINE CHARGES PARENTS FULL FARE FOR 2 YR OLDS…JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE! So that would mean the 2 yr old screaming has every right the old biddy has! But the 2yr old have no rights because he is a child! they are seated in the back of the plane; where the pressure and turbulence is the worse; because everyone else complains about them making noise….do you remember when you were 2; could you sit still for 4, 5, 6 hrs?? MOST parents do their best to occupy the child; unfortunately some children have difficulties on the plane - pressure in their ears. Don’t you? and the comment about not taking a child to a restaurant!! why can’t a family enjoy a meal out while they are raising children?? are parents supposed to be house-bound until their children are 10?? All of you - including the lady who probably turned her hearing aid up without knowing it! need to get a life…stop being negative about parenthood! Our children are learning from you who don’t accept them!! and you wonder why our children are turning out with problems!!
We should be complaining about the uncomfortable seats; the outrageous fees; and cost of flying! or especially about the person in front of you who has no respect for your space and leans their seat back all the way! to the point, you can’t even put the table down for your drink!! Now that is something to complain about!!

Kimberley Kosanke July 27, 2010, 9:47 AM

o.k. so I read one good comment and thought, wow, so they aren’t all bad. My mistake to keep reading. Not to allow kids under 10 on a plane is CRAZY. My daughter went on a plane when she was 11months old (she was walking by that time)—that was the only option as we were rushing to get to a funeral. She didn’t cry or scream out once there or back. and most kids are more mature at 7 than are some adults so age 10 is really ridiculous. We put up w/ cigarette smoke at the airport and abusive language, but my God, one scream from a kid in pain and people are up in arms. Seriously???

Anonymous July 27, 2010, 10:22 AM

Stomp him to death?! For crying!?! This woman should be in JAIL! And ANON if you don’t want to be around children, don’t go in public to places where children are welcome. I take my children everywhere I possibly can with me so that 1. I can spend more time with them and 2. so they can experience new things and learn how to be social. If kids arent exposed to certain situations and taken into the public, how are they supposed to learn how to act when they are there?

AGW July 27, 2010, 10:42 AM

Kids are so unpredictable, even the best most well behaved act up from time to time. Wild Indians…what’s up with that. I’m a native american and I have 4 boys, they don’t act any more crazy or wild then all other kids. If you hate people in general, stay home.


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