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Baby Overheats While United Plane Sits on Hot Tarmac for Two Hours

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A Colorado mother is livid at United Airlines this week after her baby overheated and had to be hospitalized after being forced to sit in a hot airplane on a tarmac at Denver International Airport for nearly two hours in 90 degree heat, because crew members would not let the passengers disembark.

According to the Denver Post, Emily France was flying with her four-month-old son, Owen, on Thursday, when their flight was delayed on the tarmac for two hours. Temperatures had hit 90 degrees before noon that day, and something was wrong with the plane’s air conditioning, so the plane quickly became unbearably hot. France says the air conditioning jets were just blowing hot air, and it was terrible. Passengers weren’t allowed to leave the plane, however, so they were just stuck there, waiting on the tarmac in terrible heat.

That’s a horrible enough experience for an adult, but babies are more sensitive to heat than grown-ups. Owen was getting overheated and France told flight attendants she thought it was dangerously hot. Flight attendants brought France ice in garbage bags, and she used wet wipes to try to cool him off, but he was having real trouble with the heat and France just wanted to get off the plane.

“They were not equipped to handle it,” France said. “They couldn’t evacuate us. It was chaos. I really thought my son was going to die in my arms.”

“His whole body flashed red and his eyes rolled back in his head and he was screaming,” France said. “And then he went limp in my arms. It was the worst moment of my life.”

The flight finally went back to the gate when France demanded an ambulance, and paramedics met the aircraft. Owen was having shortness of breath, and France says it took half an hour for her to finally get off the plane after having called for the ambulance.

The baby was taken to the Denver Children’s Hospital for treatment and released afterwards. He’s back home now and doing better.

There are rules about how long passengers can be kept waiting on the tarmac without being let off the plane, but France says those rules should take temperature into account, and passengers shouldn’t be kept onboard in dangerous heat.

(Image: iStockPhoto / Ivan Cholakov)