Three Babies Suffer Broken Spines After Severe Turbulence on Flight

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Turbulence on airplanes is common, but it varies wildly in severity. During extreme turbulence, heavy objects and unsecured people can be thrown around the cabin, and that’s why three babies have suffered broken spines and severe injuries after being ripped out of their parents’ arms during extreme turbulence on a flight from Moscow to Bangkok yesterday.

The flight was a 777 flying from Moscow to Bangkok, and it was about an hour away from landing when it hit an extreme pocket of turbulence and air pockets. The weather problem had not been predicted, and the plane’s Fasten Seatbelt sign was not illuminated.

When the plane suddenly dropped, at least three babies were ripped out of their parents’ arms and injured in the fall. According to Yahoo, three babies suffered broken spines.

A shocked passenger filmed the aftermath, and it is a disaster. Bottles and service carts are overturned in the aisles, injured people are lying on the ground between the seats. Nobody seems to know what to do.

Twenty-five people were injured in the turbulence, and 19 of them were hospitalized. Several suffered broken noses, fractures, internal injuries, and even broken spines. Most of the adults injured were reportedly not wearing their seat belts. The seat belt sign was not on at the time, but because turbulence sometimes comes up suddenly, airlines advise people to keep their seat belts buckled unless they’re actually moving about the cabin and visiting the bathroom or getting something out of an overhead bin.

The injured babies were reportedly being carried as lap infants, and they were being held by their parents when the turbulence started.

Airlines allow passengers to travel with babies under the age of two in their laps, instead of buying the  kids seats, but nobody is strong enough to hold onto a baby when this kind of turbulence hits. That’s why the FAA says the safest way to travel with a baby or small child is for the child to have their own seat and ride there in a car seat. That has its own issues, of course. It’s a lot more expensive to buy an extra seat than to take the baby on a lap, for starters. Babies don’t necessarily like to sit in their car seats when they could sit on a lap, and they object loudly when the pressure makes their ears pop. Giving bottles and pacifiers for the baby to suck on during takeoff and landing can sometimes help a little bit with that. In a lot of ways, traveling with a baby in a car seat is less convenient than traveling with a lap baby, but the FAA says it is a lot safer.

Extreme turbulence like this is not common, but when it happens an unsecured baby can be seriously injured or killed.

(Image: iStockPhoto / Nadezhda1906)