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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mamam... mamamisty249

I have a 17 month old and there would be NO WAY I would allow my kid to be put in an overhead compartment to "play".  Where were the parents and why did they think this was okay at the time and suddenly not???

mommix4 mommix4

I agree he shouldn't have done that, but traumatized for life please. And if mom was so upset why did she let the guy take her kid from her? She obviously thought he was a good guy when she let him take her kid to play.

Lucky209 Lucky209

I don't understand why ANYONE would think for ANY amount of time that it was okay to put a kid into the overhead compartment...where the luggage goes....I don't get it. But as far as the kid being traumatized...I doubt it, kids are pretty resiliant and I've found mine hiding in the cabinet playing with her dolls...I think the mother is probably trying to make money. Just my opinion of course.

nonmember avatar Christine

So many questions with this story, but the one that jumped out to me was the game title itself. Isn't Peek A Boo where you hide your face and then show it. This sounds more like a game of Hide And Seek, which considering the age of the participant is not exactly and age appropriate game. Also....oh never I many questions.....

miche... micheledo

Seriously?!?!  I bet it was 2 seconds!!  We all tend to exaggerate time a little bit.  And they say it was UP TO 10 seconds.  So my guess it was 2 seconds.  That would still scare my child.  But sue???  This is ridiculous.  The child did not get there by himself.  Someone put him there.  There is NO way I would allow a stranger to pick up my child and put him in the overhead compartment.  OK, MAYBE my husband would put the kids up there and tease him about hiding up there - but if it was a steward, we would have told them not to touch our child. 

The poor steward.  It sounds like the child needed some distractions and the parents weren't offering that .  In fact they were quite willing to let someone else take responsibility for their child and entertain him.  So, other than a 2 second incident, he probably did a great job with the child, and now he has lost his job.

Neelah Neelah

What kind of parent lets the steward put their kid in the overhead compartment? How the hell did it get to that point?


I saw this yesterday either on The Talk or The View and I guess the boy was playing; running up and down the isle and the steward scooped him up and put him there but said he was just playing with the boy. I'm not sure if that's true or not. It's just what I heard. I'm not saying it wast right or wrong either but if my child were that old he'd be sitting in the seat. I think that's terribly rude of the parent to let the child bother everyone else on that plane.

.Peac... .Peaches.

OK, so she allowed airline personnel to put her son in an overheaed compartment, and now SHE'S upset? Lady , get real!

Someone should be suing HER for child endangerment.

bills... billsfan1104

I feel for the flight attendant. Although he was probably trying to entertain the kid, he took it too far. maybe he doesnt have kids, and doesnt understand, that is something that you just dont do. What was the mother doing?? Why didnt she put a stop to it?? And kids get clingy time to time. My kids went through spurts where they were up my ass 24-7. I couldnt get them off of me. Now they want to move the hell out of my house at age 18. But I digress. This woman is looking for money, and unfortunetly, because of a flight attendent's mistake, she might jsut get it.

momto... momtothemax2910

Money grabbing. Why would her child be with an airline attendant and not her?

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