Parents Sue Airline Over Game of Peekaboo

Peekaboo is one of those games that has plenty of opportunity to go awry. Don't pay enough attention and you get a tantrum; pretend too hard the kid is missing and they may get scared; play too intensely and you may get sued ... 

OK, so that third scenario isn't likely, but for an air steward on Virgin Blue, a game of peekaboo meant his job and now the airline is being sued. Natalie Williamson claims he put her 17-month-old son Riley in the overhead locker while on a flight from Fiji to Sydney and closed the latch for "up to 10 seconds" after getting a bit overzealous during a game of peekaboo with the toddler.

Note, the child was only in the compartment for one sixth of a minute, but his mother claims he has been traumatized. The child's mother told Nine News:


He won't leave my sight now. He sleeps with me. If I'm not in the same room as him, he will scream and yell, "Mum, mum, mum."

Does anyone else think this smacks of money grubbing? I'm not suggesting that putting the child in the compartment was a good thing. Most certainly it wasn't and the air steward should have been reprimanded. I could even see a few free tickets going to the family in order to make it all better. But come on? Traumatized for life? Really?

The story makes a small note of the fact that the parents of the boy are currently estranged. Not to extrapolate too much from that, since we never really know what goes on in another family, but isn't it possible that there was fighting going on? Perhaps there were other things that the child might have been scared of?

I am no child psychologist, but I find this pretty reprehensible. In no way do I actually believe that 10 seconds in an overhead compartment traumatized this child for life. This mom wants money and she thinks this is a good way to get it. They fired the steward, which maybe he deserves (especially because those compartments are really not safe for any human, let alone a baby), but come on now. This is just ludicrous.

Do you think it's possible this child was "traumatized" by 10 seconds of peekaboo?


Image via jeremyfoo/Flickr

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