Mother-of-four blasted for sedating children on long-haul flights

‘Drugging children… really?’ Mother-of-four who admits she SEDATES her brood to help them sleep on long-haul flights is blasted as ‘irresponsible’ and ‘selfish’ by This Morning viewers

  • Shona Sibary, 46, confessed that she sedates her children during flights abroad
  • But people took offence at her actions claiming it was ‘like child abuse’
  • The journalist insisted that she wanted people to have a better flying experience 
  • Dr Ranj Singh explained that parent were taking a risk by drugging their children
  • No way to guarantee the impact or outcome of the medication, doctor said 
  • Shona said people were too concerned with a ‘parent-centric’ approach
  • Argued it was unfair for crying children to ruin a flight others had paid for

A mother-of-four has sparked controversy after admitting she sedates her children to keep them calm on long-haul flights.  

British journalist Shona Sibary, 46, explained on This Morning that she chose to give her children Phenergan Elixir, a medication which more commonly used to treat allergies or travel sickness and can cause drowsiness, to keep her children quiet.

Her remarks caused outrage among some viewers, one of whom likened the move to ‘child abuse’. 

Despite warnings from resident Dr Ranj Singh about the potential risks of such medications, Shona insisted it just helped her children to sleep through flights, and denied accusations of ‘drugging’ them.  

As the heated debate reached boiling point, viewers took to social media in their droves to blast the mother for being ‘irresponsible’ and ‘selfish’.

Journalist Shona Sibary defended her decision to sedate her children on long-haul flights to keep them quiet

It was debated whether it was ‘OK to drug your children’ on This Morning, with Dr Ranj Singh (left with Vanessa Feltz) explaining there were risks involved

Viewers took to Twitter to blast the mother for her controversial admission, saying that she was being ‘irresponsible’ and ‘selfish’

Shona denied she was ‘drugging’ her children, and explained she was simply giving them a mild sedative to ‘help them to sleep’ – and claimed that doctors had recommended the elixir to her.

Dr Ranj, who was standing in alongside Vanessa Feltz for Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, tried to explain the risks involved, but was largely drowned out during the feisty debate. 

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‘As a doctor, I would never advise any parent to do that, because technically speaking we shouldn’t,’ Ranj said. 


Phenergan Elixir is an over-the-counter medicine contains promethazine, a sedating antihistamine. 

Usually administered on the advice of a GP to treat motion sickness or discomfort from certain allergies. 

  • For short term use: to treat adults with difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • To treat allergic conditions such as hay fever or rashes
  • Travel sickness
  • For short term use: as a sedative for children aged 2 years and above

‘You are relying on what is essentially a side effect of a medication which could be unpredictable, and surely there will be people saying don’t go on that extra long-haul flight?’  

Viewers watching at home took to Twitter, with one fuming: ‘Oh my god sedating children? Really?! This is so, so wrong.’ 

Another added: ‘Its very irresponsible to drug your children on planes.

‘Yes it is a nightmare to travel with them but that does not give you the right to drug them as it could be harmful and it is very wrong just to keep them quiet.’

‘How can any parent think it’s acceptable to drug their child/children in order to have a more peaceful flight? If that’s the lengths you feel you need to go to, just stay at home!’ asked another angry viewer. 

Dr Ranj explained that there were risks involved on relying on a medication’s side effect to sedate your children as the reactions were unpredictable

Other viewers fumed over Shona’s decision with many saying it was ‘not OK’ to drug your children. One suggested it was ‘not abuse’ but a parent ‘doing what she thinks is best

Shona said that she sedated her children for the benefits of the other passengers on the flight not for selfish reasons

Shona was questioned by Vanessa over whether she was embarrassed by the noise her restless children might make on a flight abroad.

The journalist defended her actions, insisting she was not being selfish but acting for the benefit of the passengers around her.

‘I am not embarrassed, I just don’t think it is fair when somebody else who has paid an absolute fortune for an economy flight seat.

‘Why should they put up with a screaming child for 15 hours? What I struggle with is this parent-centric attitude that the whole world has to revolve around children.’

She continued: ‘Back in the day, my aunt worked in cabin crew for 30 years and they would take the dummy and stick it back in the child’s mouth.

‘Why should your child take precedent over everyone else? If I had my way they would be in a different cabin altogether, they’d be in the hold sedated!’

Fellow mother and fitness instructor disagreed with Shona arguing that using the medication was ‘tantamount to abuse’

Shona scoffed at Nilefur as she said she would rather have her child un-medicated and aware of their surroundings in case of an emergency

Fitness instructor and mother-of-twins Nilefur Atik vehemently disagreed with Shona’s actions, arguing that it was like ‘child abuse’, which her fellow mother scoffed at.

‘For me it is tantamount to abuse. Anything can happen on a plane, there could be an emergency, a crash landing, even a terrorist attack.

‘I know it’s unlikely, but it does happen and the last thing you want as a parent is your child to be comatose in a heavily sedated state.

‘If something where to go wrong and you need your child to think quickly and act quickly and their responses are not as fast as normal as they would be waking from a natural sleep, you could be putting your child’s life at risk.’

Vanessa suggested that parents should tell their children stories and comfort their children rather than turn to medication. 

Dr Ranj added: ‘I understand some people have no other option… but you are taking a risk.’ 

This Morning airs weekdays on ITV at 10.30am

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