Police officers asked a mother who was carrying her 4-month-old baby in a Brad Paisley concert pit in California on Thursday to leave, in fear her baby could have been crushed from a potential crowd surge or could have incurred ear damage from the high volumes coming from the loud speakers.
“I need you to come outside because you’re putting your child in danger of getting crushed by the loud music. I already called the district attorney’s office and spoke to them,” the officer says in the video below, then asking her to leave the crowd with him to explain it further. The mother, Megan Christopherson, who began videotaping the whole situation with her phone, then faced the camera to herself and said into the lens, “I didn’t know it was illegal to have a baby at a concert.”
According to the state of California Child Protective Services, existing laws provide services for children who are abused or neglected by their families. The goal is to keep the child safe while under the supervision of a legal guardian, “and when the child is at risk, to develop an alternate plan as quickly as possible.”
Ear damage is very easy and hearing loss can occur after a one-time exposure at 120 decibels, or continuous exposure to dangerous levels at 85 decibels for adults. Rock concerts, such as country artist Brad Paisley’s, can cause 110 to 140 decibels of noise, which is comparable to a jet engine, firecracker, or ambulance siren. Just one minute of exposure to these noise levels can result in permanent hearing loss in adults' fully developed eardrums, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“You should use earplugs at every type of musical concert, regardless of your distance to the stage,” according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. “When a child accompanies a parent to any activity or location with excessive noise, ear protection should be worn by the entire family.”
The officer explains to her the gravity of the situation and how a child could be harmed while at a concert in a pit at the front. She insisted the baby was fine even without ear protection.
“Your child doesn’t have hearing protection on. The crowd is going to start surging forward. Where you’re at, your child could get crushed,” a security officer told the mother in the video. “We’re afraid of your child’s eardrums being hurt. That is borderline child endangerment.”
The officer then offers her two options: to either be reseated somewhere else further away from the crowds and speakers to put the baby out of harm’s way, or to be fully refunded by the concert venue. Instead of choosing, she tells the officer that she was at a Tim McGraw concert at the same venue with her infant and was not escorted off the premises.
The mother is persistent on staying and continues to argue. She tells the security officer that other security personnel had allegedly told her to stop breastfeeding her child and was photographed by security as she breastfed.
The officer insisted, “This has nothing to do with breastfeeding. It’s your child getting crushed with everyone pushing forward.”
The mother finally conceded and asks for a refund and all of the officers’ badge numbers. She berated the officers and said she did nothing wrong while her other 8-year-old daughter cried. The mother asked for the officers to apologize to her older daughter.
“Just to let everyone know this is going completely public,” Christopherson said. “Because I’m being child endangerment to my child.”
The officer reminds her that they gave her the choice to be reseated safely away from the crowds and loud speakers to protect the baby, and they never told her leaving was her only option. After arguments continued, the officer offered to file an official Child Protection Agency report in order for the mother to be properly evaluated.