Child's Strobing Light-Up Costume On An Overnight Flight Sparks Backlash — 'The Problem Is The Parents'

Keeping a child calm and happy on a long flight is no small task, but shouldn't there be some limits?

screenshot of kid's strobe light costume on an overnight flight @sarcasm_only / Instagram; SB Arts Media, Stokkete, Alena Gan / Shutterstock

There's no doubt about it — flying with little kids is no picnic. The noise and discomfort of air travel is a lot to handle for even older kids, and oftentimes the minute a kid makes a peep on a plane, other passengers are ready to tell the parents off.

But even those who feel for the plight of parents battling to keep their kids happy on planes have been left outraged by what a passenger recently captured on video on a flight.


A video showed a child dressed in a strobe light costume on an overnight flight disturbing other passengers. 

The costume was surely lots of fun for the little tyke, who looks to be about four years old or so. And sure, when it comes to keeping a kid meltdown-free onboard a plane, any port in a storm, right? But shouldn't there be some limits?



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The video, captured by a passenger onboard, shows the child in furry light-up costume, the head and big floppy ears of which contain a series of colored flashing lights which blink so fast it gives a stroke effect. 

The light fills the entirety of the cabin near the child, which had been darkened because the flight was overnight. The man beside the child looks over at the person filming with an expression that seems half embarrassed and half annoyed.

For their part, the child simply smiles, clearly enjoying the moment, as any kid would. But shouldn't their parents, you know...  do something

Passengers and people online couldn't believe the child was permitted to wear the costume in the first place. 

Being the internet, many people verbally attacked the kid in the video. But the kid's just being a kid, after all. It's up to a child's parents to regulate what they do and do not do in any situation, plane or otherwise. 


And many people had absolutely no patience for the parents that allowed this. As several pointed out, the flashing lights are so disruptive that not even looking away remedies the disruption. It's hard to imagine a parent thinking that this is okay at any time of day, let alone in a darkened cabin. 

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People were downright shocked by the lack of consideration — though, given the constant stories of people's bizarre behavior on planes nowadays, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising. Still, as Jeff Schroeder, one of the hosts of NewsNation's "Daily Blast Live," jokingly (let's hope so, at least) put it, "If I were in charge, that person would be in jail."


He certainly wasn't alone in that sentiment. As one TikTok commenter put it, "People get so mad when we push for adult-only flights & restaurants but THIS crap is exactly why," and many theorized that this might be a classic case of an indulgent parent giving in to a kid's demands to keep them placated — at the expense of everyone else on board. 

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Others were outraged because a strobe light could create a legitimate safety concern.

There's a reason that live performances, movies, and TV shows sometimes come with warnings about strobe effects. Strobe lights can trigger all sorts of medical conditions, especially for those with epilepsy.

According to the Epilepsy Foundation, around 3% of people with epilepsy can be triggered into a seizure by things like flashing lights. And having a seizure tens of thousands of feet in the air, possibly over water with nowhere to land? That's a potentially deadly situation. 

Others pointed out that the kid's costume could trigger migraines, many sufferers of which are also triggered by bright or flashing lights. People recovering from a recent concussion or brain injury could also be endangered by the kid's costume.

Sure, those are extreme examples. But still, a lot of people nowadays seem to be unbothered by the fact that everyone around them on a plane is literally trapped and cannot escape whatever it is they're doing, whether it's eating something smelly, putting their stinky feet places they don't belong, or making all kinds of noise.


"People don’t care about anyone else," on TikTok commenter wrote, "and there is no accountability or social pressure to be just basic polite."

So, yeah, it's hard having a kid on a plane, and a lot of parents say it's equally mortifying for them when their kids act up while flying. But... well, there are about a million better ways to keep your kid occupied while flying than this. Here's hoping this kid's parents choose one of them next time.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.