Boy scalded by hot chocolate on Ryanair flight awarded €25,000

An eight-year-old boy who who was scalded when hot chocolate spilled over him on a Ryanair flight has been awarded damages of €25,000 in the Circuit Civil Court.

Judge James O’Donohoe heard that James Lawlor had been travelling on a Ryanair flight from Faro Airport, Portugal, to Dublin when the incident occurred.

Barrister Clare O’ Shea, counsel for James, told the court the child had been scalded and suffered severe pain to his abdomen when the hot chocolate spilled onto his lap. She said James’s father had immediately pulled his son’s T-shirt off.

Ms O’ Shea, who appeared with Dónall Johnston of Johnston Solicitors, said burns and blisters had begun to develop on James’s stomach. She said James’s father had alerted a member of the cabin crew and the child was brought to the back of the plane for first aid.

The court heard that James, who sued through his mother Karen Lawlor, had anti-burn lotion applied to his stomach. Ms O’Shea said there had been no cold packs and a cold bottle of sparkling wine had been used on James’s wounds to cool them down.

She said the child’s pain had increased and he had become very distressed. A doctor on board had administered a burns ointment.

Judge O’Donohoe heard that there had been no suitable pain medication in the aeroplane’s first-aid kit, but that a passenger has handed over Calpol during the incident on on April 23, 2017

He heard that on arrival to Dublin Airport, James – of Holmwood, Brennanstown Road, Cabinteely, Dublin 18 – had been taken to the Paediatric Emergency Department at Tallaght Hospital where some cold gel had been applied to his wounds.

It had also been noted that James had suffered superficial burns to his abdomen. He had a small burn on his right side and some peeling of the skin.

Ms O’ Shea said that James had attended the dressing clinic in Tallaght Hospital six times for follow-up treatment. While attending for review in April 2018, photos taken by James’s mother had shown a 20cm burn to her son’s abdomen.

This had improved over time and had healed by December 2017. The burn had taken eight months to heal and had left no scarring.

Ms O’ Shea recommended acceptance of a settlement offer from Ryanair of €25,000, which was approved by the court.