Southwest Flight Attendant Takes Screaming Baby From Arguing Parents

What, exactly, happened on a recent Southwest Airlines flight from Dallas to Albuquerque? Did a thoughtful flight attendant give a restless baby a change of scenery while her parents argued, or was the airline employee out of line to remove a screaming child from her parents and notify police on the ground of a suspected abuse case? Even those who were on the plane aren’t sure.

Here are the facts. On Monday, a 13-month-old girl was crying on a plane, and her parents argued as she kept screaming. Some passengers claim that the mother hit the baby in an attempt to quiet her.

Wrote the officer who filed the police report:

She informed me several passengers had reported that a female subject traveling with a baby and her husband had been observed striking the child on the face in an attempt to get the child to stop crying…

[The flight attendant] further stated she walked to the rear of the aircraft and observed the mother of the child… strike the child with an open hand on the face in an attempt to get the child to stop crying. [The flight attendant] further stated the mother appeared agitated with the child and that the husband continued to yell at his wife to shut up due to her screaming at the child.

According to the police report, the flight attendant said the child had a black eye, but the parents blamed that on an uncle’s dog.

The flight attendant took the screaming baby to the back of the plane, later bringing her back to her father. Police met the family on the ground, but no charges were filed.

A rep for Southwest has a different version of events:

What you read about the flight attendant taking the baby is not the case. She did it as a ‘Would you like me to bounce your baby for you?’

The family on board was having an altercation and their young child was upset. Our flight attendant offered to the parent — offered to hold the child on board. Our attendants do that from time to time just to soothe the crying babies because they are used to walking up and down the aisles.

Whatever the case, the airport’s police chief thinks the flight attendant did the right thing.
“I think it was a solid move from the part of the flight attendant to take custody of the child,” he said. “It neutralized the situation, it calmed everybody down.”

Southwest Flight Attendant Takes Crying Baby From Parents [ABC News]
Flight attendant takes baby girl away from mother who slapped her child in the face onboard a plane [NY Daily News] (Thanks, GitEmSteveDave!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Its_Miller_Time says:

    If the flight attendant told the officer what happened, how can Southwest come up with something else?

    • Akuma Matata says:

      I was just thinking that myself. Perhaps they wanted to try to make sure they didn’t open themselves up to some kind of liability, but I would think the cat’s out of the bag at that point if the cops have her statement.

      • scratchie says:

        They’re not really mutually exclusive. The flight attendant could have observed all that she described, then said “Can I bounce your baby for you?” and picked up the baby. There’s no indication that the flight attendant took the baby against the parents’ will — which probably would have been illegal in any case.

        • Pax says:

          Exactly my thoughts.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          If you believe a child to be in immediate danger, the law will back you up. You can’t just run away with the kid, but if you remove the child from the situation and call the police, you’re OK.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I don’t get that, either. And it’s not like there weren’t witnesses. There were apparently other passengers who talked to the police officer as well.

    • asten77 says:

      It’s called a “legal department” and/or a “PR Department”.


  2. toastydoc says:

    I half expected this story to suddeny turn into a tale of a flight attendant placing the baby into overhead storage or claiming a diaper was a biological weapon to force the plane to land and have the family arrested.

    On another note, why was CPS not called when several witnesses saw the mother hitting the child in the face?

    • qbubbles says:

      You’re allowed to hit your kids. You just cant abuse them, but the only one who can say whether or not its abuse is a judge.

      Granted, this kid had a black eye. And I would have been more inclined to believe abuse. But I’m not a judge.

      • ktetch says:

        Because EVERYONE abuses kids…

        And you’ve just shown why we have DFACs/social services workers with powers police officers can only dream of, and no accountability. In most states such workers can take kids out of the home, on their own say so, with no evidence needed, for months at a time, while they ‘investigate’ families – no probable cause or anything else needed – and if you want your kids back, you have to jump through their every hoop, and better not EVER think of bringing a lawyer in.

        Oh BTW, the black eye…
        Well, the flight is apparently only 70 minutes, too quick for any bruise to develop if it was caused on the aircraft. If it was caused by that striking (if there was one) then it would only have started to develop a 2-3 hours later, when the FA couldn’t have seen it (although the police might have).
        If the black eye is pre-existing, then it’s age isn’t all that easy to tell. There’s only one ‘rule’ and that’s “if there’s yellow, it’s at least 72 hours old”. Otherwise it’s guesswork.
        Here’s a GREAT reference on pediatric bruising
        It even notes that the best pediatric physicians (emergency-trained ones) only got the age right to within 24hours less than half the time, non-emergency trained ones were around 30%

        And yes, I’ve seen that kind of ‘it’s abuse’ mentality around a lot of social workers, and DFACS and similar agencies. I even jumped through a lot of the hoops for a friend who was targeted by a Georgia DFACs office for abuse, after turning down a date from one of their workers. It took her 4 months to get her daughter back, and there was no chance of sanctions or anything else on the worker, because “he had a concern for the welfare of the child and acted on it”

        • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

          My cousin ran into the corner of a coffee table the day before her 1st birthday. In her birthday pictures she has a HUGE black eye.

          Kids that age cruise, and it may have been from that.

          • Jevia says:

            A fellow daycare parent had a child with a bruise around her eye from just this sort of thing. Some other parent called CPS, who contacted the daycare to inquire about the child’s parent, whether they suspected any abuse. Fortunately, the daycare providers were able to put CPS’ fears to rest and there was nothing further done. But the child’s parent was quite anxious that someone thought she’d abused her child and that she could be investigated.

          • Rickdude says:

            True story:

            My older son, when 3yo, caught a football with his eye (this is a joke for all those wondering how you actually catch a football with your eye). Needless to say, he had a black eye.

            We were at a church dinner and someone asked what had happened to his eye and my son, in a 3yo manner, explained that he got hit with a ball. Pretty anti-climactic, so I told him that the next time he was asked, to simply say “discipline.” The entire table burst in laughter, but my wife (a licensed clinical social worker who regularly deals with abusers) was not amused at all.

            But for the rest of the night, if someone asked about his eye, the answer was “a discipline ball.”

            My point (other than to try and get a laugh) is that kids get hurt. It happens. Nonetheless, having read that story, I’ll bet that wasn’t the first time that the mother whacked her daughter.

        • jvanbrecht says:

          I cannot say for sure in this case since I am not involved.. but the dog excuse is perfectly plausible…

          I have a great dane (I have no kids fortunately) who’s tail is like a freaking baseball bat, and has no idea of his size, or how big his paws are. The fact that his tail stands at the height of an 8 year old, and can break concrete walls when it swings back and forth (which of course occurs anytime he sees a person).

          I, as a 30+ year old cannot count the number of bruises my dog has given me by accident, not to mention my neighbours kids who take a tail whip to the face on occasion…. It’s possible….

        • dadelus says:

          There are also good DFACs agents. I knew a guy who spanked his son because the child was misbehaving. The little terror had just learned about 911 at school so he called to report his father had abused him. The police showed up and even though they told the father they were sorry because they realized what was happening they had to call DFACs.

          When the agent showed up he examined the home and interviewed both of the children in the house and the parents. After he completed the individual interviews he pulled the entire family together and asked the son to come stand in front of him.

          He then told the boy he was lucky to have such a wonderful home and explained how he dealt with situations everyday where children were beaten nearly to death or neglected so badly they were nearly starved. He went on to say that if he was ever called back to look into this family he would personally spank the boy himself. He then apologized to the family for wasting their time and left.

        • halfcuban says:

          Bullshit. As a licensed social worker (though not in Child Services) I cry shenanigans. The ability to remove a child from a home for “months” on end requires court approval, and a hearing must be held after a set period of time after the emergency removal, which varies depending on state from 48 to 96 hours. Only then after such a hearing can the state take full custody of the child and assign them to a foster home. It is also important to note that in many cases only a LEO can take custody of the child, so no, in the state of Georgia a social worker cannot merely initiate emergency custody, and they certainly can’t do it for months on end WITHOUT court approval.

          To quote Georgia law:
          “Georgia A law enforcement officer may take a child into protective custody if he/ she has reasonable grounds to believe that the child is suffering from injury or is in immediate danger. Judicial review must occur within 72 hours excluding weekends and holidays. Ga. Code Ann. 15-11- 45, 49 (2000).”

      • Leksi Wit says:

        This wasn’t a child, it was a freaking baby. My god. I hope you never ever have kids.

      • Marshmelly says:

        For the most part, you’re not “allowed” to hit your kids. You can smack kids on the rump (i.e spanking) but you can’t slap a BABY in the damn face. I’m pretty sure anyone with half a brain would consider that abuse.

      • SenorBob says:

        “You’re allowed to hit your kids. You just cant abuse them”

        And who decides where the line is drawn between hitting and abuse? You? Me? How about the guy who hit his girlfriend’s toddler with a belt every time she forgot to say “sir” or “please” or “thank you” and eventually killed her? As far as he was concerned that was just discipline. At exactly what point did he cross the line from discipline to abuse? How many people hit children to “teach them a lesson”? The only lesson learned is “I can hurt you because I’m bigger than you”.

        Oh sure, you’re thinking smacking a child as a form of discipline isn’t abuse, and you certainly would never cross that line, but let me ask you this: at what age is it ok to slap a child? I mean, obviously the general consensus is that infancy is out. What about 2? Is 2 ok? What about 5? 10? Or is it less to do with age and more to do with proportional size and weight? Perhaps with a variable for the severity of the offense? I’d like to see the formula and mathematical calculations, please.

        If the only way you can get your message across is through violence, you have lost control. Get up and leave the room.

        • Munchie says:

          Wow please never have kids. Its not about violence. Children do not comprehend reason typically a looming threat on a swat on the rear end is enough for good behavior. Just because you can’t tell the difference between discipline and abuse does not mean we all have the same issue.

          • SenorBob says:

            Hitting is violence, period. It is NEVER ok to hit another person, regardless of whether that person is a child or an adult.

            If a child is reaching for a hot stove, you grab his hand, pull it away, and say no. You don’t hit him. You don’t threaten to hit a child to get him to behave. If they’re too young to understand reasoning, they’re too young to understand that actions have consequences.

            • grapedog says:

              i disagree. I was better off being spanked than if I was told to sit in a corner for a time out, or verbally scolded. I remember still to this day, all three times my father used the leather belt on my rear end, and what they were for. I don’t rememeber how many times I got a wooden spoon to the back of my thigh from my mother. Many many times for various things. But then again, I also still rarely tell people to “shut up”, so my mothers lessons remain, even much later in adulthood. God bless the great lady, I couldn’t have asked for better parents.

          • JulesNoctambule says:

            ‘Wow please never have kids’

            I suggest the same for you.

        • annodyne says:

          You may hit your kids. You may NOT bruise them. That is where the line is drawn. Bruises and any more serious injury is abuse.

          Personally, I think you can get the message through without hitting. I didn’t have to hit mine. And with infants it’s barbaric.

      • qbubbles says:

        You guys did a great job in reading what I fucking wrote and what I was responding to. “Why as CPS not called when several witnesses saw the mother hitting the child in the face?” Because you are allowed to hit your kids. They are your kids.

        I also said that the person who judges abuse is a judge. Not me or you or your friend or the kid.

        I also said that I personally thought this was abuse.

        Great job with the attention span, people.

    • Alecto says:

      Calling the police is the correct protocol here, because if they suspect any abuse, they are mandated to call and CPS takes their calls VERY seriously.

      We don’t know if CPS was called, because that information is confidential.

    • knoxblox says:

      Well, at least the flight attendant didn’t grab the baby and slide down the emergency chute.

  3. slappysquirrel says:

    The Mom slapped the kid to ge her to STOP crying?

    • emax4 says:

      Remember the line of people in “Airplane!” slapping and hitting the woman to try and get her to calm down? Oh, how I wish this line took place on board, ready to slap the parents.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      You realize that some people throw their children into walls to get them to stop crying? Or beat them – sometimes to death?

      Some people are not fit to be parents.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        You realize that some people throw their children into walls to get them to stop crying?

        Is that supposed to make this better? Yeah, this isn’t the first instance of abuse to ever happen but that doesn’t make the idea of hitting a child to make it stop crying any less stupid or horrifying.

    • cosmic.charlie says:

      You better stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about!

    • floyd fan says:

      Yeah, my dad did that to me a lot when I was a kid. It didn’t make sense to me then, either.

  4. rpm773 says:

    Even those who were on the plane aren’t sure.

    Well then, I’m confident the cadre of Monday morning quarterbacks in the comment section here will straighten it out.

    • misterfweem says:

      It’s like you know this crowd or something . . .

    • theycallmeGinger says:

      The Today Show (sorry, sorry) quoted the mother as saying “I popped her when she kicked me and that was it.” to the officer. She admitted to hitting the child.

      I couldn’t find many sources to back that up, though the TS displayed it in text. Seems like a pretty open and brazen admission.

    • runswithscissors says:

      The parents of unruly children should be arrested! Breastfeeding is like pooping in public! Just show your receipts! Coke and Pepsi are the same thing! HFCS is the devil! Obama! Bush! Republicans! Democrats! Socialism! I make my own airplanes at home! OP should have used a credit card, not a debit card! OP should have used a debit card, not a credit card! Chargeback! Fat people are lazy! Foreclosures only happen to WalMart cashiers who lied to buy McMansions!

    • Hoss says:

      I prefer to scroll past the quarterbacks and find the “This is why I won’t fly ever again” dingbats

  5. energynotsaved says:

    So, the real question, how old is the baby? At 3 months, child abuse and child services are needed. Regardless, it sounds like the parents need some help….

    However, in the defense of all parents with the wild child, I do want to state that a black eye is not necessarily a sign of abuse.

    I had a kid that wasn’t abused, but spent most of his childhood with black eyes, stitches, cuts and scrapes. From his first attempt to shove something into his mouth, he was bruised. He managed to crawl into a wall and get a bruise on his hairless head. No corner table was not smacked. I knew which doc-in-the-box did the nicest stitches. In middle school, the Orthopedic doc once asked him if he had started glowing in the dark from the constant x-rays….. He is an adult now, currently in physical therapy from the failure to clear that fence….

    • TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:


      But … but … you’re DEAD!!!

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      My cousin did the same when she started cruising. She took a coffee table corner to the eyebrow and had a HUGE black eye. O_o

    • Chumas says:

      Oh god, this reminds me of my girlfriends son. Somehow to managed to tip over my golf bag and he got hit with all 12 clubs. Looked like he was beaten for hours. He didn’t care, he had a great time knocking things down with the driver.
      Next day at daycare, ohhhh man. The accusations rolled when I went to pick him up.

    • lvixen says:

      The story said she was 13 months old.

    • Murph1908 says:

      My 2 year old son has taken 2 hard headers into the coffee table, and a couple of less violent ones. First one was when he threw himself into the beanbag chair that had been moved too close to it. The other was a simple trip. First one got him on the forehead and caused a big bump. The second got him in the upper chin and caused a bloody lip.

      We bought a new TV stand, and I was mortified after I put it together. The corners were downright scary. Off to Target I ran to get the rubber corner guards. They look hideous. Why do they make them in the ugliest tan color on the planet?

      • NewsMuncher says:

        paint them. or magic marker. Easier to make tan black than black white.
        something non-toxic in case he also like to taste things

        • Murph1908 says:

          I’d condidered magic marker, but I was afraid the result would be even more unsightly than the original.

    • alSeen says:

      My daughter (5yo) and son (2yo) have bruises all the time. Can’t keep either of them from climbing everything around. My daughter broke her leg before she was 2. She decided to go down the ladder of a playset frontwards rather than backwards. Fell all of 2 feet. She was walking on the cast the next day.

    • Tim says:

      Fair enough. But the black eye was only part of the equation. Passengers and the flight attendant both saw the mother hitting her child. That in and of itself is abuse, plus it lends credence to the theory that the child’s black eye was due to abuse. If it wasn’t, hitting your child is still abuse.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        A child goes to touch something hot, and you hit their hand away. Abuse?

        • Marshmelly says:

          slapping a baby in the face is not the same thing as hitting their hand away to protect them, nor is it the same as spanking. Theres a clear difference between types of behavior that are aimed at disciplining or protecting a child versus behavior that is obviously meant for the purpose of control and/or injury. No one should get slapped in the face, let alone a baby.

      • ktetch says:

        “Passengers and the flight attendant both saw the mother hitting her child. That in and of itself is abuse, plus it lends credence to the theory that the child’s black eye was due to abuse. If it wasn’t, hitting your child is still abuse.”

        Yeah, that’s the way it goes in the UK now. want to see how that sort of Bull**** turns out in the REAL WORLD?
        give this blog a read – just won the Orwell Prize, and it’s the experiances of someone who has to deal with the products of your train of thought.

    • jvanbrecht says:

      I speak from experience here.. seeing as I have telephone thick medical records on 3 different continents and dozens of different countries…..

      When I was 2.. I crawled out of a 3 story window and fell into rose bushes.. plenty of scratches, no major dmg. Around the same time.. I somehow managed to get into the medicine cabinet and of all things (that you don’t need when your 2), got into the child safety bottle of laxatives… Apparently only children can open those things. Through my 1 year and 2 year ages.. I managed to fall off every piece of furniture, and bruise nearly every part of my body…

      And this was with supervision.. only tool me 2 seconds to get into trouble…..

      Then there were other incidents.. was hit by a car on 3 different occasions all before the age of 7, fallen out of dozens of trees, jumped off plenty of 1st and 2nd story balconies, hit myself with various items (like a hose) while swinging them wildly… Plenty of concussions…

      Honestly.. I am surprised I am still alive today….

    • Leksi Wit says:

      The article states 13 months.

    • knoxblox says:


      No, seriously, during my life:
      Various cuts and scratches on the face, often right before picture day.
      Age 4, saved from choking after using a straw for the first time and doing it wrong.
      Age 5, tore out my big toenail riding a flying turtle scooter.
      Age 6, black eye, almost put out, from a combination of nylon sleeping bag, footed pajamas, running in the house, and a fireplace hearth.
      Age 7, dislocated elbow from jumping on, and falling off, a couch.
      Age 9, scarred knee from falling beneath a merry-go-round.
      Age 10, dog bite and subsequent rabies shot.
      Age 11, lost big thumbnail after shutting hand in car door.
      Age 12, concussion, shaved head, and 12 stitches from jumping off the stairs and hitting the landing above (I took a running start).
      Age 13, chipped tooth from jumping off brick wall (obviously haven’t learned my lesson yet).
      Age 15, road rash after hitting a patch of gravel on my moped during its maiden voyage.

      I’ve had several other injuries as an adult, including a messily broken collarbone, and a compression fracture of my L1 vertebrae. I also have three brothers.

      Social Services had a bigger file on my family than the FBI had on John Lennon.

  6. TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:

    Some people are required by law to report even the slightest posibility of child abuse. If the mother was striking this child in the face, and the child had bruisings of a type that indicated repeated striking forcefull enough to leave marks the stewardess may have been required by law to take action. Removing the child from the custody of the parents was likely outside her responsibilities, but who can blame her in that situation.

    Mandatory reporters include most medical profesionals, social workers, government/state employees, as well as many people who have, or are in the process of adopting through their states DHS.

    • ktetch says:

      Which brings in the ‘well intentioned brigade’, who often wax lyrical about abuse and so on, and often have nothing more than a 6 week course at a community college in the way of training. And yet they have more powers than police officers, and zero accountability.

      Lots of child abuse happens in the form of Child Services (CPS, DFACS/Social services etc) taking kids out of the home and splitting up families needlessly, because of these Mandated Reporter laws. Meanwhile, these laws have them so busy, that the bogus cases are dragged out for months – damaging the families involved – while the few legitimate cases are not given the attention needed to sort it out in a timely manner, OR are ignored entirely.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        As a teacher, I’m a mandated reporter – it doesn’t quite work in the way you’re describing. When a complaint is lodged to CPS, they investigate exactly the same way regardless who it was that was calling in. “Mandated Reporters” do not have a Batphone to CPS. Also, we have a great deal of latitude when it comes to deciding when a call gets made. In ten years, I’ve had to call CPS exactly twice because of statements made by children that were so damning, it would have been unethical to do anything else. But if I had to make a call every time a middle schooler came in with a bruise, I’d be on the phone all day long.

        It also helps if you know the parents – I remember one particular girl, whose parents I knew very well, came in one day and said to me,” My dad smacked the shit out me last night.” I asked her why. She said because he came home and found her making out with her “boyfriend” in her bedroom. She was 12. I said “Good. I would have done the same.” Of course, I called home and relayed the conversation, and Dad actually came up to school to talk to me about it.

        We’re not “tearing families apart,” nor are we even making the calls without using professional discretion.

        • ktetch says:

          You are the exception. in some states/counties (such as Upson, Ga), it’s required even if you don’t think it’s the case.

      • bonzombiekitty says:

        I think you’re exaggerating quite a bit. While suspicions about abuse can get a little crazy – my dad almost had the cops called on him at the hospital when my mom had a seizure, they asked him if he ever hit her, and he said yes, he had slapped her, but that was because he didn’t know what was going on and was trying to wake her up when she started seizing. He got out his explanation before the police were called to investigate.

        That said, these supposed super powers don’t really exist. My gf’s room mate is studying to be a psychologist, and specializes in children. She’s required by law to call CPS when she suspects abuse. She’s had children give her graphic descriptions of abuse, and has called CPS several times before. According to her, the results have been little more than “there’s no visible marks on the child, there’s nothing we can do”.

        • ktetch says:

          I wish I were exagerating. The abuses at the hands of Geogia’s Department of Family and Child Services (DFACS) are well known. I’ve heard similar stories about Texas and a few other states.

      • mmmsoap says:

        Another mandated reporter here….

        I’ve been involved in 5 reports to my state’s version of CPS during my 10 years of teaching, and I work at a school for kids with abuse histories so our “average” call rate is significantly higher than the public schools’.

        In my state, and I imagine most states are similar, CPS will “screen in” an initial report for further investigation, or “screen it out” if there’s no significant evidence. This judgement needs to be made within 24 hours of the report. We have to report anything concerning, such as a student reporting that his parent struck him during a fight.

        Here’s the thing — CPS sees so many horrific examples of child abuse that it has to be a pretty ongoing pattern of abuse to get anyone’s flag up. Once in the system it can take a bit of hoop-jumping to get out again, but it really takes a lot more than people assume to get CPS actively involved. The really horrific cases of child abuse are not ignored to investigate other mandated-reports. The really horrific cases of child abuse only get overlooked if someone fails to report them in the first place.

        Mandated reporting laws were created because people in a position no notice abuse of children (teachers, doctors, day-care workers, etc) were often afraid to report abuse for fear of retribution from the parents, and/or fear that a false accusation could “ruin” the life of a parent.

        The idea that “lots” of child abuse happens by dragging a child out of their home is unrealistic. Yes, developmentally it’s not a great plan to separate a child from his/her parents, and case workers know this, and thus only do so when deemed absolutely necessary. This pretty much only happens when there is imminent danger of additional abuse being incurred by the child. (Yes, occasionally over-zealous case workers get big media play, but there are literally thousands of investigators and case workers in my state.)

      • sullivanftw says:

        My wife is a DFS worker, and the 6 years of college (BSW, MSW) is NOT 6 weeks of community college training.

        Most social workers will take into account the necessity of taking a kid out of a family environment. You’re just being a bitter old pill.

      • halfcuban says:

        Wait, what? I was unaware my 6 YEARS of Social Work schooling were covered by 6 weeks of community college training. Most social service agencies don’t even accept BSW’s anymore, except for those already grandfathered in, and certainly none of them take those ridiculous “Case Worker” certificates I see peddled on various for profit online “colleges”. For the record both the BSW and MSW require a significant amount of internship hours, with the MSW requiring roughly 120 days of internship experience and the BSW requiring roughly 60 so its not all just classroom stuff (though I believe it should be even higher as far as internship hours required). I’ve had alot of issues with how rigorous social work education is or isn’t, but even I wouldn’t claim that its equivalent to “6 weeks of community college” education.

    • TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:

      These are not “super powers” as some people seem to think. It’s simply a legal requirment. As I said this stewardess wasn’t within her right to “remove the child from custody”, although after reading additional details she handled things admirably.

      That is NOT something Mandatory reporters are encouraged to do. We’re simply asked to report on the potential existance of child abuse.

      Are there mistaken reports? Yes, and they cannot really be avoided. Everyone has a friend, or a friend of a friend that was unfairly evaluated by a social worker, but those are more rare than people think.

      Being an adoptive parent who is looking to adopt an older child, the people who do the things I have read about need to be found ASAP.

      Also how Mandatory Reporting works depends on your state.

  7. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Some people just should not breed *sigh*.

    There is never any excuse to hit your child in the face. Ever.

    • craptastico says:

      i just don’t understand the state of mind of someone that thinks hitting a child will quiet them down. particularly if they’re too young to even understand that they’re being punished.

      • shepd says:

        Very few parents would strike a baby to quiet them down. Most would be doing it out of frustration. Until you’ve had a baby that won’t be quiet, don’t say that it can’t happen.

        I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten close to that point when baby won’t quiet down (despite making sure all the usual needs are met), and I’m normally a calm guy, and my baby is very quiet. I can easily see how others wouldn’t be so restrained.

        • craptastico says:

          when mine was very young i’d get frustrated at the crying, but i always knew that soothing a baby will quiet it down much better than screaming/shaking/whatever else people do in the throws of frustration.

        • Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

          We babysat a colicky baby. I learned to tune it out and convert it to a soothing sound in my mind; The lil guy is exercising his lungs. Once I mastered that, I could sit back and laugh at other people’s reactions; It was like nails on a chalkboard for some. We finally got one of those swings and when his parents came to pick him up, they broke down and cried when they saw him swinging instead of screaming.

    • hosehead says:


    • ToddMU03 says:

      That’s why you grab their cute little hand and go “stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself.”

  8. agent 47 says:

    That’s not what really happened. The flight attendant got on the PA system, said “f*&$ you all, I’ve had enough,” grabbed the baby then took it down the emergency slide.

  9. TC50327 says:

    They make planes especially for people with little kids.

    They’re called buses.

    • BadgerPudding says:

      OMG THIS

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      To be fair, in this case, I don’t blame the child for crying – if my parents were screeching at each other and then at me, I’d cry too.

    • DarthCoven says:

      Because a cross country bus trip with a small child is totally feasible. 3 days on a bus vs 5 hours on a plane. I should call CPS on *you*

      • jason in boston says:

        Then don’t go to a place that is a 3 day bus ride?

        • DarthCoven says:

          So now parents must be limited in the distance they can travel with their young children?

          • bandit says:

            Um, yeah… you are in possession of a baby. Either put it somewhere, or stay at home. Nobody is entitled to cross country vacations, not even poor, put-upon mommies and daddies. The baby is yours, so raise it.

      • shepd says:

        Not as hard as you think. I just took my 8 mo on a 14 hour ride from Toronto to Philadelphia. She only cried for 5 minutes, and that was at the border because she was as bored as everyone else at waiting for 2+ hours for no good reason.

        3 days wouldn’t have been any harder for her. For me, sure, but for the baby? She was as happy (and sleepy!) as can be!

    • djc_819 says:

      Oh, ok. I’ll take a small baby on a cross country trip, in a BUS. You go and try that, let me know how it goes

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Which solves the problem how? The baby was crying because the parents were screaming at each other, not because of the change in air pressure. The only difference on a bus is that there wouldn’t be a flight attendant to walk the baby up and down the aisle and the other passengers would have to listen to this for a much longer period of time.

  10. BadgerPudding says:

    The story left out potentially the most important detail: did either the mother or the flight attendant breast feed the child?

  11. Joe Gamer says:

    You slapped your baby IN PUBLIC, god knows what kind of treatment the infant endures at home, CPS should definitely monitor these people. There’s no justification in this world for that. I literally cannot imagine a set of circumstances that would lead me to conclude that slapping a baby was ok.

    • BadgerPudding says:

      You must have missed that episode of M*A*S*H.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      Those were my thoughts exactly!

    • Marshmelly says:

      “I literally cannot imagine a set of circumstances that would lead me to conclude that slapping a baby was ok.”

      Some people in this comment section seem to think its okay. I can’t believe people…makes me sick.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        I haven’t seen any comments above this one that said they didn’t think hitting a child in the face was abuse.

      • Daniellethm says:

        Hitting an infant in never acceptable. This is not to say that spanking a misbehaving child is wrong, but an infant only understands it’s in pain and possible danger, and they will cry louder as a defense mechanism.

        Imagine for a second a wolf pack. The alpha wolf will nip at the others to keep them in line and remind them of who’s in charge, but they won’t seriously hurt them. This applies to people to an extent, you can exert your dominance as the parent and the one in charge without breaking bones/punching/hurling/burning and any other despicable act parents call “discipline” when it’s, in fact, abuse.

        I endured many a spanking as a child, and I definitely earned it every single time.

  12. pjstevens77 says:

    The FA should have slapped the mom THEN took the baby….”How do you like it, Mom?”

  13. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I’ve seen people give a little one a pop on the heavily-diapered butt to get their attention (“No! We do not run out in the parking lot!”), but never a slap on the face. That just seems a bit much.

  14. Dallas_shopper says:

    I wasn’t on the plane, obviously…but if the mother did actually slap the baby with an open hand and the parents were arguing loudly causing the baby to fuss even more, I think the flight attendant did the right thing. IF that’s what happened. I wasn’t there, so it’s all speculation.

    And bruises on a toddler aren’t always sinister. My nephew gets bruises all the time; he’s an active, wilfull 3 year-old. He runs into stuff. He falls. It happens. It doesn’t mean he’s being abused. I don’t immediately think “abuse” when I see a bruise on a random toddler.

  15. Harmodios says:

    And tossed the cretin into the running jet-engine? That would have been so liberating.

  16. El_Fez says:

    We require people to have permits for relatively trivial shit like owning guns and driving cars. I swear the world would be a better place if we made breeding – arguably the most important thing someone can do – a regulated and licensed activity.

    • IssaGoodDay says:

      It’s a nice thought, but would require forced sterilization, so no way in hell that’ll happen.

      • El_Fez says:

        How did the Chinese manage it? While I don’t know enough of their process to say that we can just cut and paste their policy here, if they can implement a breeding cap, surely we can put something in place.

        • Carlee says:

          China’s one-child policy has some exceptions. Ethnic minorities, or ethnic Han (which are the majority) who live in rural areas, can have more than one child (two kids, I think). Also, if the parents are only children, they are allowed to have two children. But the kids have to be spaced apart by a few years. There are a few other exceptions, like parents whose child died in the Sichuan earthquake

          The penalties (according to Wikipedia) are monetary fines. Some couples living in urban areas do have more than one child and just pay the fines. It doesn’t appear like the government forces abortion or sterilization (but I haven’t really researched the topic).

          A friend of mine from China says that one of the problems they are facing now is that couples only want to have one child. Even if they are allowed to have two. I guess it’s too expensive in urban areas to raise two children?

        • annodyne says:

          Because of course China’s civil rights policies are the perfect template for our own.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Oh yeah, let’s put the government in charge of women’s uteruses; that’ll end well.

  17. quirkyrachel says:

    ‘ll r gttng slw vr thr t Cnsmrst. sw ths t lst plcs bfr hr. ld nws nxt

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      So glad you’re here to dictate what everyone else gets to read based on your own experiences!

      Don’t like the stories? Read something else.

  18. Spaceman Bill Leah says:

    In my experience the Southwest flight attendants are amazingly helpful when it comes to kids so I don’t doubt that she offered to bounce the girl to calm her while the parents got their shit together.

    I have flown solo with the SpaceChild several times and the FAs have always offered to hold him so I could go pee/change my peed on clothes or provided us with extra snacks and/or juice if it looked like he might get a little fussy.

  19. drburk says:

    As someone who got some reporter training in college and who’s wife, as a teacher, has made a few of these calls I think the flight attendant made the correct decision in calling the police. From the articles and description it sounds like there was enough evidence to suspect child abuse given the strike to the face, inability to consul, anger (manifested in arguing) and the bruise. These can be explained away in various was but as a whole they are suspect. She likely felt the need to call either CPS or the police, in her position (on an airplane) the police were easily accessible, would respond quicker, and close the investigation in enough time to get the family on their way. So I say well done.

  20. Bodger says:

    Screaming kid and out-of-control parents on a plane? We’ve got a solution for that: Xanax washed down with beer — repeat as needed. Treatment should be applied to kid and/or parents and/or flight attendant and/or all passengers within earshot.

    I find that self-medication in this form combined with 32dB-rated foam earplugs is about the only way to survive airline flight in today’s world. As much as I love going off on holiday to interesting places, the thought of an overpriced, inconvenient, uncomfortable flight bracketing the “fun” part casts a real pall over it. It takes a minimum of one day of holiday to even begin to balance out one hour of flight time and if you have a screamer in the vicinity there may be no achievable amount of holiday to balance it out.

  21. pot_roast says:

    After reading the actual police report, I think it was the right thing, and the husband is stuck married to an out of control harpy. Even worse for him, because this will very likely get reported to his superiors as he’s active duty USAF.

  22. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    “Here’s your baby back, Mrs. Griffin. But remember: next time we won’t just take it away from you. We’ll kill it.”

  23. IssaGoodDay says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the parents willingly relinquished control of the baby. You try to forcefully take my baby from me, and that plane would’ve had to make an emergency landing to provide medical attention to the flight attendant who laid a hand on my child without my expressed consent.

    That having been said, I also wouldn’t be screaming at my wife, nor would she be hitting our child in an attempt to quiet her, so perhaps these parents could care less of someone walked up and snatched their baby.

    I also don’t think that the two accounts are mutually exclusive? The part where the airline attendant “offered” to take the child (per Southwest) doesn’t mean that she didn’t “Take custody of the child” (per the police report) and walk it towards the back of the plane…

    Just my $0.02

  24. sanjaysrik says:

    I think the most offensive part of this article, is the title you use, “brats on a plane” written, I’m assuming by someone who doesn’t have a child. Nice choice in totally missing the point and writing “brats” when the entire piece was about parents and not the child doing anything wrong.

    • Bodger says:

      I don’t know about that. I find the definition of brat as “terror: a very troublesome child”. That seems to apply pretty well to what little I’ve read about this situation. Now, as to why the brat is a brat, there can be various interpretation and parents are certainly at the top of the list with every brat I’ve been exposed to but that doesn’t change the meaning of the word.

  25. xjeyne says:

    Worst case scenario the parents are embarrassed (AS THEY SHOULD BE) and will restrain themselves on future flights.

  26. Lollerface says:

    I really hate reading the comments on parenting-related articles. It inevitably turns into a parents vs non-parents debate on the right and wrong ways to raise kids.

  27. IronPhoenix says:

    Was that baby Indian or what? No, serious question… Lol… (Obligatory some) Indians think slapping kids is a great way to get them to stop doing stuff… usually it works, after a lot of slaps. Probably at that age too…

    Now I don’t disagree with slapping a child occasionally (if its for discipline, quit whining you people who say you should never slap kids etc.), but I dunno about a 13 month old… I’d probably wait until the kid was 2 or 3 and be like, “You remember when you were only 13 months old and caused a scene on the airplane…” Bam… “Well that’s for that.”

  28. know4fact says:

    Ms McCurleys ’15 minutes are fading.’…so she stirs the pot and recants her story to press……while the other 2 flight attendants remain silent to media to protect everyone involved ….story is suspect because Ms McCurley has not only changed it , but its been reported that it the senior attendant handled the incident before Ms McCurley stepped off plane to report incident….

  29. smo0 says:


    I’m not for abuse or violence of any kind towards children… but food for thought….

    why are kids more misbehaved now than… say… 50 years ago?

    Was it the spanking?

    I guess it depends on the culture….

    There was hardly any hitting on my family – NEVER ON THE FACE…. but I was chased with a wooden spoon or shoe – but I was in an Italian family… I never got hit.. I ran too fast – but I knew… my mom had the “look.” I was a behaved child.

    I think the trick is to instill FEAR and RESPECT without the use for violence… just the threat of violence… I ended up normal.. I have friends who were spanked, never beaten – they ended up normal, functioning members of society…

    Not to go on any form of racism, but I see a lot of african american families do outright spankings in public… even stories in retrospect of friends that had that happen.. I think the public embarassment shapes people up too….

    If I see a swat on the ass in public from a screaming kid…. normally I see them shut up very fast when they see people are looking… sadly, those are the parents who get ECS called on them….

    As a kid, I was always rail thin and I had bruises because I played a lot outdoors…. people thought my mother abused me…. and one person even said something to her – she went off… we laugh about it now.