Southwest attendant takes baby after slap from mother
By Ben Mutzabaugh, USA TODAY, August 18, 2010

A Southwest flight attendant is in the news today for taking a baby from her parents after the mother allegedly slapped the 13-month-old-child for crying on a Dallas-to-Albuquerque flight, The Associated Press reports. AP adds the attendant intervened "after she saw the mother slap the girl and passengers complained."

CNN also picks up the story, writing the attendant "told police she saw the woman 'strike the child with an open hand on the face in an attempt to get the child to stop crying,' a police report states. The flight attendant also said she saw the mother slapping the child on her legs."

New York's Daily News writes Southwest spokeswoman Whitney Eichinger "confirmed that an incident had taken place on the flight, but denied that [the attendant] had taken custody of the child in flight."

"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 Daily News quotes Eichinger as saying to ABC. "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."

In its report, ABC News says "when the plane landed in Albuquerque, the family was met by police. A Southwest Airlines spokeswoman told ABC News the local authorities were called 'out of precaution for the child.' "

Authorities eventually allowed the family to board a connecting flight.

"We felt it was an isolated incident," Albuquerque International Sunport police chief Marshall Katz says to Albuquerue's KRQE TV.

Whether it was an intervention or a simple gesture of help, Katz tells KRQE: "I think it was a solid move [on] the part of the flight attendant to take custody of the child. It neutralized the situation. It calmed everybody down."


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