Can You Ask Someone With A Noisy Baby To Leave The Quiet Carriage?

Can You Ask Someone With A Noisy Baby To Leave The Quiet Carriage?

So I was on a train on Sunday, and I’d deliberately chosen to sit in the quiet carriage at the front. About 30 minutes into the journey, a woman with a clearly unhappy baby came into the vestibule. The baby screamed its head off, she sang to try and soothe it, much noise was made. This made me contemplate: would it be OK to politely ask her to move?

I totally judge those people who glare at parents with noisy babies on planes and suggest they go elsewhere. The kid has no idea what’s going on, after all. But on a plane you can’t move — you’re stuck where you are seated. On a train you can sometimes easily move, especially on a Sunday morning when there are lots of vacant seats and you’re not carrying a pram or other gear.

It was an eight-car train, which means the first, last and middle two cars are quiet carriages (and have signs everywhere telling you so). For the mother to move into the adjacent regular carriage would require no more than passing through the automatic doors. If I decided to say nothing but move to another quiet carriage, I’d have to go three carriages down.

But that’s probably not enough reason to ask. It’s easy to go overboard when asking someone to be quiet, as Lifehacker’s own Chris Jager can attest. Plus, looking after kids brings hassles enough without strangers asking you for silence, and I fully appreciate that. Parents have to follow the same rules on public transport as everyone else, but — again, like everyone else — deserve to be cut some slack.

When I threw the question out there on Twitter and Facebook, the consensus was definitely and unequivocally that you shouldn’t intervene. But a small part of me thinks that a simple, polite request might have been OK, if you were sure that the presence of the parent was the result of genuine ignorance of the train rules. What do readers think?


  • She obviously came in to a quiet place for the sake of her baby, but ruined the place for everyone else. She was definitely in the wrong.

    It’s like me going into the quite carriage to tune my new drum kit, cos you need somewhere quiet to get it right.

    • She may have been in the wrong but can you blame her? She’s looking to calm an obviously distressed child and when that’s been going on for some time, you tend to put others needs to the back for a bit.

      • As a parent of a young child myself, I can totally sympathise. But, in my opinion, if you have a young child with you, you shouldn’t be getting onto a quiet carriage in the first place. You know they are likely to make noise, so you are probably better off saving yourself any potential further embarrassment by making sure you’re not in a quiet car.

        Whenever I get on a train with my daughter I deliberately don’t get in a quiet car, as much as I’d like to. She’s a young child, she makes noise. That’s what kids do. I shouldn’t be surprised if she decides to make noise on a train and neither should any other parent of young children.

        • This. It’s like taking a baby to the movies, in terms of being an utterly inconsiderate act. Jesus, just… get a sitter, or resign yourself to not being able to do that anymore. One of the many, many sacrifices you’ll be making in your decision to care for a child. There was a pretty extended period of time I was looking after a 2yr old and by god that opens your eyes to just what you cannot do anymore.

          If you take a known disruption into a place where there is an implied (and sometimes outright written on a godamn sign) social contract to avoid disruptions, then you need to examine why you’re doing that.

          If you do this, you are doing it for one or two people. You, and/or your child. To be very clear:
          You are, through your actions, telling the dozens of people in that space that you think your comfort and convenience and more important than theirs.
          It really is as simple as that.

          If you actually believe that your comfort and convenience is more important than everyone else’s, then you quite rightly deserve to be told to go fuck yourself just how inconsiderate and self-centered you are. You want to ignore social contracts and niceties? Be prepared for others to do the same. You don’t deserve their benefit anymore.

          Oh, what’s that? These guys can put up with a little noise for an hour’s commute and it won’t do them any harm? Newsflash: So can you. A kid can cry for an hour’s commute and it won’t do them any harm, either. So don’t go violating a social contract, keep them in the places where people aren’t going out of their way to avoid that noise. Trying to make some kind of severity-based judgement call is bullshit, a red-herring to divert from the fact that you’re so selfish as to prioritize your comfort over dozens of other peoples’. It really is that simple.

          • What utter BS! Get a life and maybe some perspective. Perhaps, just perhaps the needs of a small child, who you can’t reason with, come before yours!
            This mother was doing her best to soothe her child and that is an admirable and often difficult task. After having a child recently I have only the utmost respect for all other parents out there, doing the hardest job in the world the best way they can!

          • Are you kidding me? A mothers’ ‘wants’ (not NEEDS – the baby does not NEED to stop crying, it won’t die from it, they kinda do it all the time) are more important than a carriage full of other people? That is such a self-centered, overblown opinion on how important one person is because they’re a parent. What exact benefit are they bringing to society by selfishly putting their own wants above everyone else’s? I’d argue that that kind of person shouldn’t be raising a child in the first place if they’re going to instill that kind of antisocial, “Fuck you, got mine,” attitude.

            The ‘hardest job in the world’ wouldn’t be any harder to do in a regular carriage away from the people who went out of their way to avoid noise.

            There is nothing more important than the dubious chance that a quiet carriage is somehow better for your precious little darling who is not only the center of your world, but the center of everyone else’s as well? Christ almighty, get some perspective yourself.

          • Have you seen a child that cries for an hour straight? Especially in an environment where they are being wound up. My son when he got over-agitated and I couldn’t calm him started vomiting everywhere from crying for about 45 minutes. We were in an environment where he was over-stimulated and I couldn’t easily leave it.

            Mother moves from a carriage which may have been overstimulating to child in effort to calm it is reasonable.
            Crying for extended times *IS* harmful to a child. Not emotionally, like abandonment issues, but physical healthwise. If a child has reflux, it is possible for extended crying to causing vomiting of blood. (Friend experienced this with their child).

            So take your “Mothers WANT” and go elsewhere. It was the Baby’s NEED.

          • I love that you know this was totally one of those ultra-rare occasions where it was a need.

            If you are one of the rare exceptions for whom taking your baby on public transport for an hour actually damages their health, you a) have a problem with your baby which needs to be checked out, and b) need to strongly re-think taking public transport. (Edit: It is an appalling demonstration of irresponsibility in knowingly subjecting an infant to that kind of ‘harm’ by placing them in an environment they cant handle, in which it is very clearly proven you cannot guarantee that ‘quiet’ space thanks to people like you.)

            Even a cursory google search will provide ample results debunking the myth that letting a baby ‘cry it out’ over a period of several hours is harmful – even long-term, let alone an isolated incident – with the exception of some very specific conditions. Especially if it’s something they can acclimatize to. And if this is your kid? Get them away from the agitations, or better yet – off the damn train full-stop. But maybe try to do that in such a way that doesn’t directly violate the space that commuters have lobbied for, and moved to, precisely and specifically as their only means to avoid you and your problem.

          • Hey Transient. After reading your responses, I gotta say.

            You are not a cool guy man.

            If anyone here needs a chill pill it’s you. In this hypothetical situation, your attitude is about 50% of the problem. Because there’s no tolerance at all.

            if everyone was like you, every drive would end in road rage because someone broke a rule and the person who saw it couldn’t let it go.

          • There’s also a pretty big difference between arguing on the internet and face-to-face interaction. In person, I’m pretty much the definition of relaxed.
            And certainly nowhere do I exhort others to make confrontation nasty or unpleasant – consideration can be afforded, certainly, while politely requesting someone respect the desires of a carriage full of people to seek out some solace from noise.

            However, my language here is definitely strong, and it’s because of the attitude of the people who were so blindly defending a mother’s willing choice to disrupt a carriage full of people for her own sake. The evocative fury you’re picking up on is targeted at people who think that parenting is some kind of holy duty which should have them regarded as paragons of patience, worthy of all forgiveness.

            THAT is what rustles my jimmies. The assumption that these life choices are somehow more valuable than others, and that they should be entitled to impose on others without consent.

            To clarify: I have tolerance for a crying baby. I have no tolerance for idiots on the internet who think that it’s wrong to ask someone noisy to leave a quiet space. There’s quite a difference there. If everyone was like me, there wouldn’t have been a problem in the first place. The world would, in fact, be a MUCH better place.

          • @transient mind

            Good reply dude! I take it back. I well understand how the msg boards seem to amplify every emotion by 1000%

          • Consideration is one of first things a parent should have and should teach their kids. Adopting this “i’m the most important person to me” attitude creates more harm in the long run. The more people and parents are thinking like this, the closer we have headed towards a dysfunctional society.

            I have seen so many good people turn selfish and self centered when they have a family that its one of the reason i simply don’t want to raise a family in Australia.

          • Consideration is one of first things EVERYONE should have!

            I have seen many people BE selfish and self centered……. Regardless of whether they are a parent or not!! Regardless of where they are in public or not. The issue isn’t with “parents” or teenagers, or any other group you want to “blame” for them, the issues are clearly within us ALL.

            It’s these exact attitudes and traits you claim are so reprehensible in our society, but you have exhibited here, as many posters have! You and others are trying to blame sections of society, and then give yourselves a pat on the back and halo for how amazing you are for putting up with the rest of society, but then doing the same things and claiming perfection in yourself, and expect perfection from everyone else. It’s double standard hypocrisy.

            I think the over-all self entitlement attitude all people have today is ridiculously arrogant and bigoted. It’s this “WHAT ABOUT MY NEEDS!” – “YOU ARE BOTHERING ME IN A PUBLIC SPACE” mentality that leads to aggression and resentment between classes and boxes of blame we see labelled to “parents” or “teens” or “young people these days” which then feeds everyones insatiable desires wayward justice and slacktivism, and makes people feel that “I NEED TO MAKE A STAND!!!”

            That’s CRAP. You’re not making a stand against any societal behavior, You’re just being a douchebag!! But you are trying to pull it off as equality and justice? That’s outrageous!.

            End of the day, if you are really going to get that peeved at a baby crying, you need to look at your own issues and how your reactions have been.

            How would YOU feel in the position. Is there really a need to act like a douchebag to a mother and child, in the name of ??? some society justice you decided to wield against an unknowing citizen just trying to get by. What will this combat yield for you? Make you feel like a bigger better person for degrading another human being?

            THAT is more worrisome than a woman going into the wrong carriage and having her child cry!!

          • Yeah man. You said it. A lot of the people here seem to be a big part of the problem. There’s a lot to be said for just letting things go. At the end of the day, if everything goes really well in your confrontation of a mother and child, what do you gain? A 20mins of a quieter journey on a train.

            Big whoop.

            People are so angry about little things these days, and they blame it on others having no manners?!?

            Manners start at home guys. You don’t need to be warriors for public decency, that just makes things worse.

          • You would have your family in a different culture? Like what? India? US? Britain. They all have their problems. Nothing’s perfect in this world.

          • Perhaps, just perhaps the needs of a small child, who you can’t reason with, come before yours!

            Exactly, “yours”, not mine. The parent(s) are the only ones required to make sacrifices for their children, as opposed to the rest of the world.

            I abhor your “Something is inconveniencing MY children so EVERYBODY ELSE must change to make them happy!” attitude. It’s a designated quiet carriage. Deal with it.

            Violate the social code by going in to one, then you’ve only got yourself to blame if someone else violates it as well by telling you to go fuck yourself.

          • To a parent, the needs of their child will always be more important that the needs of a stranger. Why would someone care about you when their child is distressed?

          • I have already received a kidney transplant, so I don’t know if all of my organs are harvestable. But regardless, organ donation is written in to my power of attorney and will.

            How about you? Have you ever had personal experience with organ donation, or do you just talk shit all day long?

            Oh but yeah, having kids makes your point valid. Totally. Idiot.

          • Your comment is not only idiotic, but offensive. Clearly you don’t understand parenting, transplantation, or being a human being. Basically, fuck off, you cum-guzzling thundercunt.

          • I guess I was confused. I presumed that the right to gushing self-righteousness came with being the person who gave away an organ, not being the person who needed one.

          • It’s reserved for people who actually have firsthand experience, or at least know what they’re talking about. So wipe your dog’s shit off your dick and stick it in a wall somewhere else.

          • Don’t take this the wrong way: I’ve very sorry that you had a defective kidney and had to have it replaced. I imagine that must have been very traumatic for you, especially if you didn’t know if and when you would get an organ. It imagine it is difficult to put your feelings aside when a comment is made that seems somehow to relate to your experience, especially if it seems to diminish your experience.
            However, my comment has nothing to do with your experience. I didn’t know you’d had a kidney transplant – how would I? – but the fact is that when it comes to this particular argument it is inconsequential that you had a kidney transplant. Maybe if your brother had died because he couldn’t get a kidney in time then I would feel a little bad, despite the obvious fact that I would have had no way of knowing. However, that isn’t what happened (presumably, unless your family has been really unlucky with kidneys). So with some luck, you’ll be able to move past being indignant and actually try to understand the point of my response.
            What I was referring to was a ‘organ harvesting’ example used historically against utilitarianism. In case you’re not familiar with it, utilitarianism is itself often trivially described as ‘the greatest good for the greatest number’. The statement ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few’ carries an approximately equivalent meaning.
            The example is roughly: Person X goes to the doctor, and the doctor finds them to be in perfect health. However, person X is also tissue compatible with N other patients who need organ transplants and will die otherwise. In the setting of ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few’, N lives can be saved by intentionally terminating only one and thus killing person X for his/her organs is the right thing to do.
            It only holds for very simple examples of utilitarianism, but ultimately that is what your comment was:
            Needs of the many > needs of the few.

      • Yes we can blame her. Nobody forced her to have a baby and nobody is obliged to cut breeders any slack. I’m so tired of people crapping on about how difficult child rearing is. Don’t have babies if it’s too hard and if you do have them you need to quit whining and quit letting your loud brats violate other people’s right for peace and quiet.

    • As a parent of 4 young children, I would never get into the quiet carriage. And my children are super well-behaved too. But kids are kids; they make noise. And if I had a baby that was crying and wouldn’t stop, I’d probably just leave the train. No reason others should suffer because of me. Unless all the other seats in the normal carriages are taken, of course, in which case I think the mother should be able to take a seat in the quiet carriage.

      Should you ask them to leave? No, I think that’s a breach of etiquette too, because, well, you know… vulnerable mothers and all. But still, she’s being pretty inconsiderate.

      Let’s be honest though; this is an extreme example; most inconsiderate behavior in the quiet carriages are not crying babies, it’s people with music blaring out of their headphones, or people having conversations. Please, people, you may have headphones on, but we can all hear it! 🙂

  • Having dealt with screaming and clearly distressed children before I have a few things to say to this.

    Parents are trying their utmost to calm the child. They, like you, find it distressing and annoying and would do anything to change the situation.

    Moving from place to place can set of the kid even more and so sometimes the best thing to do is simply sit there and try to calm them down in an environment that itself is constant, calm and quiet.

    From the other side of the fence I can totally sympathize. It’s so frustrating having a screaming child around you. But reality check, it’s only for a couple of hours out of your life out of an estimated 745,000 if you live to 85. 🙂 That helps me get through these rare occurrences.

      • It’s society, if you can’t show empathy for people in difficult situations – you should not be there.

        • I don’t understand the relevance. Having a kid is being in a “difficult situation”? If you think so – then you should not have kids!

          And now to flip your sentence to actually make sense – Where is your empathy for those that tried to escape the noise by entering the quiet carriage to have a mother/father disregard the rules and bring a screaming kid? Huh?

          • This really amounts to nothing more than a whinge to a “first world” problem that affects you only for a very short amount of time.

            We can talk about empathy till the cows come home, but in essence this sort of issue has absolutely zero bearing on your life in general.

            And down voting? Really? Like that makes some sort of social statement.

            And you freely admit that you don’t have the mental fortitude to ask her to leave but you are OK with sprouting your vitriol anonymously online? I think there is a word that describes that sort of behavior.

          • There are courtesies that parents have to afford on a daily basis. There are places you can’t take a baby or child, and places you shouldn’t take a baby or child. As @whitepointer mentions above, a quiet carriage on public transport should be a no-brainer.

            Empathy is well and good, but if as a parent you’re expecting 80 people in a quiet carriage to put up with a screaming child instead of just moving 5 metres through the doors into a normal carriage, I’m sorry but you’re the one with the courtesy problem, not all the other passengers.

          • I think my second sentence covered both of those, no? My first sentence doesn’t confuse the two either, there are plenty of places babies and children aren’t allowed – their parents have to respect that requirement, or be removed themselves.

          • And you freely admit that you don’t have the mental fortitude to ask her to leave but you are OK with sprouting your vitriol anonymously online?
            And you respond anonymously online.
            Get off your high horse.

          • Respect is kind of a two-way street.

            Why the hell would anyone afford any empathy or respect to someone who very clearly doesn’t give two shits about others by willingly putting their own wants above the majority?

          • Mate, I was with you until your last paragraph. Angus isn’t sprouting (spouting?) vitriol, he was asking a genuine etiquette question.

        • Sure, we’ll just kill ourselves. Problem solved.

          You’re making an idiotic oversimplification. More than that, have a think about when and where empathy is required, necessary and/or appropriate. If somebody robs you, are you supposed to show empathy by holding the door open for them?

  • I agree with everything you’ve said, Angus. I think you’re in the right, but at the same time, I don’t think anyone would suggest saying something to her. It’s a weird situation. I’m really interested to hear what other people have to say.

    • I think the likely answer is probably just as simultaneously right/wrong as your feelings.

      By which I mean… I reckon he would be totally right and justified in making the morally-sound call to go over and have a quiet, polite word, requesting the parent move… and even though it’s totally unfair, I reckon he would also have to expect to be silently judged as an asshole for doing so.

  • I probably wouldnt say anything but i wonder if she purposely went into the quiet carriage, or just move to the next one because the one she was in was distressing the child.

    Speaking as someone who has no kids, its a bit selfish for someone with a screaming child to go into a quiet carriage (knowing that it is one) and disturb 20+ people who may have been having a shitty day and just wanted some peace and quiet.

  • Again another reason why quiet carriages just don’t work. They put these stickers on both sides of the train now explaining it is a quiet carriage. But I have been on trains where the displayed sticker is not present. So you have no idea if this a quiet carriage or not?
    Turned up my volume on my not even audible inner earphones once.
    Boy did I get some nasty looks from people.

    In this case, maybe her baby was so fussy (poor little thing) she forgot all about the quiet carriage and just boarded without checking. A lot of responsibility of “being quiet in a quiet carriage” has to do with the individual. This was a mother and her baby.

    Asking people to be quiet or to move just makes things worse. You get full abuse, or sometimes even the other way around when you yourself get asked to be quiet by some thug with an attitude.

    When I lived in the UK. A friend and I boarded a train and sat in an empty quiet carriage.
    On the other end of the carriage, a guy with a book. 30 mins in, he walked the entire length of the empty car to us, and pointed to the ‘Be quiet’ sticker and told us to be quiet or he’d call the cops. I am very certain he couldn’t have heard us at all, unless he was freaking Clark Kent or something. Also, I find that very brave of him. What if we turned out to be chavs with knives?

    • Quiet carriages would work if they used the same technology as noise cancelling headphones to make everyone quiet. Make it cancel every detected noise except for the driver’s announcements.

      • That’s just switching the onus of responsibility to technology rather than the people in the carriage. What the hell have we become when simply being in a quiet carriage isn’t sufficient to make people quiet?

        • … You could apply the same mythical logic to anything.

          Why do assholes have to be assholes? Can’t they just stop when someone calls them an asshole?
          Why can’t teachers control class rooms, can’t the kids just respect their teacher enough to be silent when she asks them to be?

          In the end, it’s not a perfect world. Deal with it.

          I also find the idea of a quiet carriage quite stupid though. Public transport realistically isn’t about a nice quiet ride, it’s about economical and fast mass transport available to everyone. Once you start imposing arbitrary social status to ‘everyone’ is exactly how issues like this arise.

          Public transport sucks. Everyone knows this. They should stop trying to make it into something it’s not and focus on providing adequate trains as to not be packed like sardines during peak hours.

      • That’s dangerous in itself, for much the same reason that mobile phones are required to allow emergency calls when off-plan.

        If you’re cancelling all noise, what do you do when there’s an emergency that requires that people talk to each other (or make a mobile call) to get it addressed? Technological solutions to social problems are almost always a bad idea, as the technology has little or no judgement.

        Re: the original question… IMO unless the carriage has very few people (5?) the mother should have the sense to avoid the quiet carriage in the first place. The question is one of balancing the convenience of mother and child vs. that of all the other people in the carriage who thought they were entering a quiet environment. It’s fair to weight the child’s needs to their advantage, but the needs of the child cannot and should not be absolutely privileged above those of the adults present.

        It’s reasonable to politely ask the mother to move.

        I think you would find that the mother will look daggers at you but the other people on the carriage will be more appreciative than otherwise. If the mother refuses there isn’t a lot you can do about it. Accept that some people are selfish and cope with it.

        It’s my experience that some mothers with children automatically assume that they have absolute priority over anybody else sharing their environment. (Not all mothers are like this, I hasten to add, but I’ve been nearly run over by megastrollers often enough to recognise the breed.)

    • it isn’t working because inconsiderate people don’t want it to work. Every train i have been in that offers quiet carriages have big signs informing people this.

      The guy in the UK prob didn’t hear you but all he was doing was trying to remind you that you are a breaking a rule, if he didn’t you would have walked away thinking that even tiny whispering in a quiet carriage is ok and then we get to a point where the whole system fails.

  • Personally I think it would be ok to ask her to move. It’s a quiet carriage – sure I appreciate the difficulties of parenting, and how distressing it is to have a child in that situation. But if it’s ok to ask someone to leave the carriage for talking on their phone, or watching a movie on their laptop with no speakers, it should be o to ask someone to leave the quiet carriage irrespective of the reason for them causing noise.

    Again I appreciate that the child was in distress, but frankly it’s not a medical emergency. She should not have been in there.

    Picture it from another point of view; how would you feel if someone else approached her and asked her to leave the carriage?

  • To me the quiet carriage signifies a place where you shouldn’t deliberately make noise. As this lady wasn’t making her child cry on purpose, I think its just one of those times you have to accept these things, and not be selfish.

  • You cannot say anything. Because parents are crazy.

    For those saying that the parents are doing their best to calm the child. I rarely see any parents do anything to quiet their children, like they have completely checked out on parenting, and are happy to let everyone else suffer something that is now white noise to them.

        • Not really. The comment was spot-on, as only a non-parent would say something that ridiculous.

          There may well be some parents who have “checked out”, but you can be sure that most parents with crying children on public transport are finding the whole experience incredibly stressful and trying their best to stop it.

          EDIT: And on topic, I don’t know that I could bring myself to ask the person to leave; but if I was the parent, I’d get out of there straight away to avoid any awkwardness. Though I probably would have avoided that carriage in the first place.

          • To be honest, as a parent in that situation, I don’t know how I’d react if someone asked me to leave the carriage. Burst into tears? Screaming rage? A quiet “fuck you”?

            But it wouldn’t be great. I know the kid is making noise. I’m sorry. I’m doing everything I can to shut it up. But people telling me to leave is not going to help anything.

            I just hope all the people saying they would say ‘move’ would say the same thing to the scary, tattooed young men with their feet on the seats who are swearing at others. Otherwise they’re just picking the easy targets.

          • So true, Rowan!

            I have witnessed this several times on my public transport rounds.

            Douchebags happy to say snide remarks to easy targets, but when there is a real issue where someone really should step in, No One would say a thing!

            Gutless wimps on a power trip, is what I believe most complainers, are.

          • But people telling me to leave is not going to help anything.

            It would do a lot, just not for you. I’m sure there are times when people put up with your kid(s) out of politeness, so why not move away from the quiet carriage out of politeness? There are plenty of other carriages on the train that don’t have that restriction.

          • Just to be clear, I haven’t done this. I don’t even know if there are quiet carriages in Brisbane. But I have been in situations where people have been obviously angered that I’ve even brought my kids. I take them out to dinner at least once a month. But my kids aren’t screamers. They’re not even shouters. They behave pretty well most of the time.

  • She’s already feeling stressed and embarassed, everyone else is aware of the baby’s noise. Most likely by bringing it to a head, you’ll bring the collective bane of everyone upon yourself.

    Just suck it up. It’s just a crying baby. You’re not the most important person in the world. You’re not even the most important person in the carriage. Parenting is hard. Leave her alone and practise not getting upset over the little things. You’ll live longer.

    I agree that these people shouldn’t be in restaurants or movies though. But this is public transport. It’s different.

    • It was selfish for the mother/father to bring the kid into a quiet carriage. Nothing wrong with letting them know for next time if its too much of a hassle to move to another carriage.

      Should they suck it up? They shouldn’t have to if people thought of others before acting.

      Maybe I’m just too considerate, hell… I stand on the train to let others sit.

      • You’re calling yourself considerate, when your opinion would be to tell the parent to go elsewhere? This guy hasn’t had kids…

        • Why are you pulling the typical parent card? I’m talking about common decency! Yeah you have a kid, so what? Think of others before you act.

          Waits for the……”Would someone PLEEEEASE think of the children!!!”

          • Do you think kids have a volume control? Or a manual? Being in the quiet carriage may be the difference between the kid yelling for a couple of minutes, and yelling the whole trip home because of the noise in another carriage.

            Or she may not know it’s a quiet carriage because she’s trying to get her yelling kid home. You can tell her it’s a quiet carriage, but you’ll probably just make her feel even more like shit, in which case, congratulations?

            It’s not about ‘someone please think of the children’ as you so hilariously put it. It’s about understanding that parenting is super fucking hard most of the time. You stand on the train to let others sit? How magnanimous. Extend that consideration to this poor woman, and understand that she’s in a situation that is mostly beyond her control, and she’s likely doing her best, and cut her a bit of slack.

          • People in quiet carriages do not care about your personal problems – they only care about quiet.

            If you or your family can’t keep quiet – then get the hell out.

            Don’t like it, bring it up with Sydney Trains.

            End of story.

          • You’re comments are so full of ignorance and arrogance, and most of all hate – it’s just disgusting to me.

            If the child was being deliberately annoying, irritating say skipping up and down the isles, howling and squealing for fun, being an all around brat and not being told to stop – then yes you would have cause to say – Politely – something about it.

            But when it is just a Mother trying to comfort her child, who are both distressed and probably only left the previous carriage because of the other evil looks and comments by those passengers; I don’t see why you would need to say anything!

            Babies and small children cry. End of Story.

            Get out of your own heads for a while, and as another said – this isn’t a dramatic deal, or anything worth worrying about in the big scheme of things going on in the world!

            Seriously, how do you negative people get along in the world if you over-react this badly to the simplest things that happen in your day-to-day lives!?!

            It must be exhausting to be so hate-filled, arrogant and bigoted about how perfect you are, and can do no wrong and also have all the answers to give – compared to a *GASP* baby that’s just doing what it’s evolutionarily supposed to do!

          • Yeah, inconveniencing other people for no good reason when you’re distressed is totally OK? I really have to call bullshit.

            Yes: Babies and small children cry. End of story. Agreed. Don’t take them to places where other people are trying to get away from that. It’s kind of a no-brainer.

            Any hostility I feel for people in this situation isn’t for the hapless parent who’s had their wits addled by stress to the point that they don’t know right from wrong, it’s from the self-righteous sanctimonious assholes who think that being a parent makes you exempt from common decency or consideration for your fellow man because your precious child is the most important thing in the entire world, and any incredibly long-shot chance at giving you (and it is definitely about you, no the baby – babies cry, it’s kinda what they do, it doesn’t bother them; it’s the underlying reason for crying that’s bothering them, and ‘being grumpy about noisy strangers’ is hardly harmful) some kind of comfort is far more important than the guaranteed discomfort of dozens of other people, because you are very clearly the centre of the world because of your oh-so-noble self-sacrifice of undertaking the holy duty of being a parent.

          • What about the self important parents that think everyone should move out of their way because they are pushing their precious little bundle around in their bugaboo and everyone else should watch out for them? I don’t know how many times I have been pram- rammed and to be honest, while babies are important to society, the narcissistic, helicopter parents really aren’t. We childless folks have feelings too you know.

          • “It must be exhausting to be so hate-filled, arrogant and bigoted about how perfect you are, and can do no wrong and also have all the answers to give – compared to a *GASP* baby that’s just doing what it’s evolutionarily supposed to do!”

            How to devalue any argument you might have had (not that you did anyway) 101

            Deadset ridiculous.

          • No, and we KNOW that kids don’t have a volume control, and that’s probably why you shouldn’t take them to places where people want the volume to be controlled. This really seems like such a no-brainer.

            What if your MP3 player didn’t have a volume control, and would randomly burst into noise – and you knew this. Would you take it into a designated quiet place? Doing that would make you kind of a dick.

          • Because a baby is the same as an mp3 player. Really glad I don’t subscribe to your idea of ‘common decency or consideration’ which only appears to matter as long as it’s directed at you.

          • Or at a train carriage of people compared to one parent.

            How is this so difficult to grasp? Since when did one parent’s wants outweigh a couple dozen other peoples’ wants?

          • We’ve all been there. But it’s difficult to see how providing a little compassion and understanding to someone having a rough day is a bad thing.

          • Really glad I don’t subscribe to your idea of ‘common decency or consideration’ which only appears to matter as long as it’s directed at you.

            That is the bottom line and biggest issue here. Everyone is so self entitled and bigoted they feel they all deserve special snowflake status because they are “XYZ”.

            No one makes any allowances or considerations for anyone else, and wants everyone else to bow before them and THEIR ideals. And all magically without asking, just ESP that info from their snide looks, or sarcastic groans!

            I’ve been in Cunstomer Service long enough to know, people love to put their issues onto everyone else.

            Guess what? Everyones got shit going on in their lives. Deal with it, be positive, and move on!

    • Everybody is already feeling stressed and embarassed from listening to a screaming baby, and the parent is aware of the baby’s noise. Most likely by bringing it to a head, the parent will bring the collective bane of everyone upon themselves.

      Just suck it up and leave the quiet carriage. It’s just a crying baby. Parents are not the most important people in the world. They’re not even the most important person in the carriage. Working is hard. Leave the commuters alone and practise not getting upset over the little things. You’ll live longer.

      I agree that screaming babies shouldn’t be in restaurants or movies and this is public transport. It’s no different.

  • Last year I had just gotten off a plane, headed to Central Station and boarded a train to head home.

    It was around 11:00AM on a Tuesday. I had a headache, I was tired and hungry and I just wanted to sit in the quiet carriage, rest my head on the putrid CityRail train windows and have it gently rocked by the clacking of the train going along the tracks in silence for the 45 minutes it would take to reach my stop.

    Barely 10 minutes into the trip two women with three clearly bored children waltzed into the quiet carriage and sat down.

    The kids ran about, argued with each other, shouted to be heard over one another and complained about having to be on a train incessantly. I could not believe the complete lack of regard for everyone else who had chosen to sit in the quiet carriage.

    I tolerated them patiently for about 5 minutes but when it became clear that the children would not be quiet and the women had no intention of moving the only thing keeping me from lunging across the aisle and strangling one of them was all the luggage in my way.

    If someone needs to sit in the quiet carriage for a few minute to settle down their child that’s fine. . . as long as they have enough decency to let the passengers around them know that they are trying to settle their child down and hopefully won’t be too long and maybe even apologise for the inconvenience.

    I can empathise with a parent struggling to calm their child, even if it means they have to apologetically annoy everyone else to do so. I cannot empathise with someone who belligerently walks into the middle of a quiet carriage, bringing with them as much noise as they possibly can, and expecting everyone else to deal with it.

    • See, that’s the difference right there. A parent with a baby is one thing. A parent with three kids of walking/talking age who won’t calm down? The quiet carriage isn’t the place for them.

    • This is my stance on it. If it’s clear the mother has brought the child into the quiet carriage (by addressing everyone) to calm the child down, 5-10 minutes later and the screamings have ceased then no problem. She took the measures to mitigate distress and considered others. Otherwise, if she’s ignorant then she wont respond well to criticism (not counting those that didn’t notice, or weren’t otherwise of the quiet car), so there’s a catch-22.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. I get that kids make noise, but both examples are completely different things. I think it’s ok for a mother to try to calm her baby in the quiet carriage because at least she’s trying to do something and is probably well aware of the noise and annoyance to other people. Saying something to her would only make things worse for an already stressed parent who is actually trying to do the right thing. Meanwhile the women you mentioned should not have been anywhere near the quiet carriage if they weren’t prepared to keep their kids quiet and under control. Letting their kids run amok in the quiet carriage was inconsiderate and disrespectful to other commuters, and it’s perfectly ok in that situation to say something to them (if you don’t mind the risk of getting punched in the face).

    • You should be glad you were too lazy to “strangle” one of them. If you put your hands on someone else’s kids, no matter what the situation, you should expect a punch in the face or a kick in the nuts.

      Grow up! What a pathetic existence you must lead if this is your biggest hassle in life.

      • There’s a certain hypocrisy to telling someone else to grow up in the same line you tell them they have a pathetic existence because they’re annoyed by things differently to the way you’re annoyed by things. You’d think, as an apparently ‘grown up’ person yourself, that you’d have realised different things affect different people in different ways by now.

      • I don’t understand why you have put the word strangle in quotation marks.

        It would suggest that you have understood that the phrase wasn’t literal and was merely an expression of the irritation I felt.

        However the rest of your comment suggests you don’t have the mental capacity to understand something as nuanced and “subtle” as exaggeration.

        Perhaps comprehension is your failing here as I never mentioned strangling any children, given that in the sentence in question the last people I mentioned before the word “strangle” was the mothers, nor did I mention at any stage that this was the biggest hassle I have encountered in my life.

        To avoid any further embarassment on your behalf here is a link to the Australian Reading and Writing Hotline’s website –

        It also seems like you might have some anger issues. Here’s a link to some more information on that if you want it –

        If you do decide to utilise either of these resources I wish you luck with your self improvement.

  • You can, but it makes you the guy who’s asking a mother to take her kid and move, because of something she has little control over.

    I’d feel like an absolute prick myself, but that’s just me.

  • Perhaps she didn’t realise it was a quiet carriage, dealing with a screaming child and all, but I have to disagree with the comment that perhaps she brought the child in there to calm it down … What arrogance!

    As A parent i am always on the lookout to ensure I am not inconveniencing others … for this reason I refuse to allow the use of the ‘kids’ trolleys at supermarkets (having had my ankles rammed into so many times in the past) and I will never take kids into a quiet carriage, simply because kids are kids and will make noise!

  • 1. There are no laws of physics that says you can’t or shouldn’t do this.

    2. There may or may not be regulations on the train that says this quiet concept does or does not apply to noisy infants. You can check easily with the transport authority.

    3. Assuming the quiet rule does apply to noisy infants, this mother has breached the rule.

    4. Breaching the rule does not mean she or the infant breached it wilfully. A lack of thought and premeditation are not the same. So nobody would “blame” her for having done this.

    5. But people who do observe rules would say the onus is on her to fix her unintended mistake. And I am in this camp personally.

    6. But social convention also has a degree of tolerance, forgiveness and empathy built into it. This is useful for lots of situations which you yourself may take advantage of from time to time. Like that time when someone held a lift door open for you when you would have otherwise missed it.

    7. The question is, how badly disturbed were you by the crying infant? It may well be a lot – if you have supersensitive hearing from an acute medical condition, for example. In which case, you can justifiably ask the mother to leave with her infant.

    8. The reaction of the passengers should not be relevant, if you have personal just cause.

    9. But the passengers will judge, like it or not.

    10. The judgement of the passengers will be difficult to predict. This situation is not clear cut, and it’s a matter of luck what opinion predominates on the day, in that carriage. I wouldn’t be surprised if people would think what you would do was reasonable, given that this was a quiet carriage and passengers came here for the quietness.

    11. It may not be so, and you will get stares and even get told off by passengers for being “heartless” or other variations on such. All of them incorrect and irrelevant, but nonetheless would make your stay in the carriage even more uncomfortable than before, thus defeating the purpose of the original action.

    12. It may be easier to just say, this had a good chance of being an unwinnable situation to start with, and do nothing.

    13. Thinking about other unwinnable situations make make this feel easier to swallow: your wife/girlfriend is clearly in the wrong, but you relent to preserve the peace and this is ultimately beneficial for intimacy and more important than being right.

  • If no one tells her to leave, she will get the idea that it’s perfectly fine – which it’s not.

    Unfortunately, this has already happened in Australia. Everyone is disregarding the rights of other people; no one tells them off; they continue doing it.

  • Wow, there are some selfish people on this site. I’m really quite disappointed.

    Seriously, you would have had to move 3!!! carriages. Really, that is such an inconvenience. /sarcasm

    I think you would have to be a real jerk to tell her to move.

    I would hope that most people would try and be understanding and realise that she’s not trying to make noise, and a screaming baby would probably be annoying for people on any of the carriages. But the responses here prove me wrong.

    • Everyone understands that she/he can’t help it. But what she/he are doing is WRONG and SELFISH. There is a whole carriage which caters for 100+ people. She is breaking the rules and ruining everyone else’s trip. He/she with the kid is clearly the jerk.

      P.S. She would have to move through 1 door.

    • Wow, there are some selfish people on this site. I’m really quite disappointed. I think you would have to be a real jerk to tell her to move.

      Selfish and a jerk for daring to ask someone who is breaking certain specific rules to reconsider their actions?

      I would hope that most people would try and be understanding and realise that she’s not trying to make noise, and a screaming baby would probably be annoying for people on any of the carriages. But the responses here prove me wrong.

      What? She is bringing a screaming child into a specially designed quiet area. The kids noise is going to be amplified a lot more in these areas than in areas that are nosier hence making it worst for everyone, including herself.

      Why should people in non quiet carriages be inconvenienced and those who need or want peace who these carriages were specific designed for have to put up with it. What a flawed self entitled way to think.

      You need your social norms re-calibrated, they are out of wack.

    • Yes, he would have to move down 3 carriages, while the mother only has to move to the next one over. Who’s the one being selfish again?

  • I probably wouldn’t have the guts to tell her to leave or be more considerate next time. But would totally think the person who did would be a hero as I’d be thinking negative thoughts about that person the whole train trip.

  • We are discussing if a person with a loud baby or kid has the right to be in an area where it clearly states its a designated quiet carriage? And we wonder why there are no manners or consideration in society at present when we allow or normalise inconsiderate behavior!

    I don’t care if she had a kid, don’t use it as an emotional guilt trip to make me conform to someones rude manners, but rules are rules and there is a reason why they were put there in the first place. If you need to calm your kid down then get off at the next station and wait for the next train while calming down your kid.

    Its the same as parents at restaurants who think they are entitled to bring their kids along and ruin everyones experience because their little unique snowflakes are going crazy from the amount of soft drink they have just drunk. Its selfish and inconsiderate and as a society we are losing two basically things that make a society function as it should.

    And please can we stop making parents and their unique little snowflakes the single most important thing in australian society, there are many of us who dont want kids or can’t have them and we are treated as third world citizens by mainstream society.

      • No, they aren’t equal.

        And them being equal or not it utterly irrelevant. Because the principle is exactly the same. You can’t control it, move somewhere appropriate with that in mind.

        • Woah, don’t speak with reason – he is a parent! You must talk to him as if you were a kid!

        • So the mother and child don’t have the same rights to enjoy a quiet carriage as other commuters?

          • Yes, they have exactly the same rights. Until they start violating those rights. No special treatment for anyone. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few – being a parent does not make you some rare and special exception who can’t go leave the carriage when their uncontrollable child starts violating everyone else’s rights to quiet.
            How is this so hard to understand?

          • So, to be clear, you would treat her less favourably entirely as a result of her parental status? Congratulations, you’re actively engaging in discrimination.

          • No, equally. EQUALLY. No special treatment. That means: If you’re going to drag something noisy into the quiet carriage, don’t. No matter who you are. Just like anyone else.

            No discrimination. The exact opposite in fact. YOU’RE the one arguing in favour of special exemptions.

          • How is anyone treating her less favourably?? If anything, they’re treating her MORE favourably by allowing her to remain on the QUIET carriage even though her child is being anything but! Asking her to leave would only place her on equal footing to everyone else who has to be quiet or leave. Let’s be absolutely clear here, the mother is not the victim in the situation, the victim(s) is everyone else in the carriage!

            EDIT: transientmind pretty much posted the exact same reply as I did at the same time 😛

          • How did you even get that ‘less favourably’ conclusion? He’s pretty clearly saying that he treats everyone the same in the quiet carriage whether they’re parents or not – if you make noise, you’ll be asked to move.

          • It’s a general principle of discrimination, where you’re failing to allow for individual circumstances prescribed for under anti discrimination legislation, and that to require completely equal treatment imposes a burden upon the recipient of said treatment, that person is being treated less favourably and is effectively being discriminated against.

          • @finaldelerium The legislation you’re referring to is probably this section:

            This section says that discrimination against someone with carer responsibilities has taken place if:
            1) The carer is expected to do something the perpetrator would not expect of people who don’t have carer responsibilities, or
            2) The carer is expected to do something that substantially more people who aren’t carers would comply with, and that is unreasonable.

            So my questions to you:
            1) Do you think someone politely asking the carer of a child making a lot of noise in a quiet carriage to move to another carriage is putting an expectation on the carer to do something non-carers wouldn’t be asked to do?

            2) Do you think someone politely asking the carer of a child making a lot of noise in a quiet carriage to move to another carriage is asking for something that substantially more non-carers than carers can or would comply with, and that is specifically an unreasonable request to make?

          • Keeping a screaming baby out of the quiet carriage is NOT an unfair or unreasonable burden such that it could be considered discrimination.

    • I am very happy that other people have this opinion. Thank you sir, +karma cookies for you today. :’)

  • It’s unfortunate the question even has to be asked, it’s a quiet carriage. Regardless of the cause of the noise (phone call to your pregnant wife, distressed child, noisy pacemaker), you should have consideration for the people who are in the quiet carriage obeying the rules and move on.

    Coming up with any sort of excuse for why the rules shouldn’t apply to you is the height of selfishness.

    Similar to people cutting in queue, or racing up the inside of a soon-to-close lane in traffic because you want to be ahead of other people, thinking your time is more valuable than everyone else.

    Or people who jaywalk against the lights in the CBD, allowing only 2-3 cars to get through an intersection before the lights change. I don’t’ think enough thought is given to this when the comments come from Clover’s office that CBD congestion is caused by too many cars. We should probably get rid of parking spaces and fill the city with Rangers who can book people parking in the limited spaces available, that’ll fix traffic congestion (?). Surely more revenue could be raised by the 1,000’s of $70 jaywalking fines that could be issue daily.

    And what’s with all this loud music and boat people?

    Society is just going to hell!

    With the exception of the music and boat people, these things actually do irk me, but I accept I’m becoming a wowser earlier than I had expected and probably just need to relax a bit. I think we could all do with a deep breath. If a screaming baby is the worst thing that happens to us in our day, life is pretty awesome.

    There’s no way I’d want to be the one to tell her to move, a 3 carriage move sounds much better to me. If it’s that much of an issue, attach a fine to making noise in the carriage and stick revenue collection officers back on the trains. People pay slightly more attention to the rules when it can affect you financially.

  • No sympathy. No one cares about your baby or your problems. Please quietly pack your shit up and get out of the clearly marked “quiet carriage”.

  • I absolutely detest taking public transport but if this were the case I would have told the parent to politely move. It would have made no difference to the baby if it were in the normal area or quiet area. A train is still noisy the motor, the screeching etc… and speaking from experience you can still calm a child/baby in a noisy area.

    The parent was inconsiderate.

  • Me too. “It’s a child, it’s not completely under my control” works only if someone FORCED the person taking care of the child onto the train and into that particular carriage. The choice of where you sit IS under your control, so OWN the problem you created by a bad choice of carriage, and fix it. Period.

  • She has PLENTY of control over the fact that she brought an infant into a quiet carriage. Unless, you know, she was somehow born yesterday and had never seen a baby before and didn’t know that babies sometimes randomly cry for little or no reason, she simply made a bad choice. And she should correct it as soon as it’s obvious her action disturbed the peace of the carriage.

    • There can be exceptions! ….like yelling “YES!!” while listening to the Aussie’s get a wicket, or the audible moan you might let out while your hand’s sneakily down your pants, but crying babies are NOT an exception. You chose to have a baby, you chose to bring it on the train, either put it to sleep, or i will put it to sleep.

        • Who said anything about knocking it out? I never said that i was going to use violence against a child, and i never would. I could just as easily put it to sleep by singing it a lullaby or reading from the financial papers in a dull monotone voice.
          I assume because you have children, you can visualize a stranger smacking your child to shut it up and that hits a nerve, right?
          Relax, no one else wants to smack your kids.. but if they’re being little shits on a train, they’re probably hoping that you do.

  • Sure Princess. You can tell anyone you want that they’re not living up to the high expectations you’ve decided upon in YOUR world. I don’t normally advocate violence, but if someone came to me with the gold standard in first-world problems I would happily offer an exchange program of facial injury for their “pain and discomfort” of hearing a baby cry. Do you not remember that we were all children? We are biologically programmed to cry for a large portion of our early lives. Let’s reconvene in 10 or 15 years when you’ve gotten over your awkward stage and understand at least 5% of the world you live in.

    • Yes, we were all children once, and yes, babies naturally cry. That still doesn’t mean a crying baby should have to be tolerated in a quiet carriage. Get your condescending head out of your arse.

    • Nobody’s saying babies shouldn’t cry. They’re saying don’t take crying babies into a carriage that is specifically marked to be quiet. It’s really not that hard to follow, you know.

  • My strategy (if it was bothering me enough) would be to go to the lady and say “Just a heads-up – while I sympathise with your current situation, you’re in a quiet carriage and that the noise may be an annoyance to other commuters.” The key would be to not imply that it was annoying me and make it optional for her to mover to the adjacent carriage. I’d wager that she was probably too distracted by her baby to notice the signage.

    The other thing that the OP doesn’t mention is that if the mother had a stroller or pram and got on at the front set of doors on the first carriage of the set, or the rear set of doors on the last carriage of the set (note I said set – not train – the train was probably an OSCAR – an eight car OSCAR is made up of two 4-carriage sets) she may not have been able to easily move to a non-quiet carriage without disembarking from the train as a drivers compartment would have been on one side of the vestibule area and stairs on the other side. There’s a 50% chance that this was the case.

    • And if it was an OSCAR train it is INCREDIBLY easy to move between carriages (possibly the easiest of all Sydney Trains trains) if its not at the end. There isn’t as much room at the end of the carriage and due to layouts of platforms, its not as common to see prams etc (something I’ve noticed over the years).

    • If it’s not bothering you, why would you not just ignore it and mind your own business?

      Honestly, the attitude of some people in these comments is appalling. Are these people adults, children with nothing better to do than troll, or spam bots?

      • Let me guess, are father? It seems the general gist is those with kids cannot understand why this is an issue while the rest of us without can.

  • as old el paso once suggested, “why not have both?”

    what if she doesn’t know it was a quiet carriage? what if she knows it says quiet carriage but doesn’t understand the degree to which quiet is expected from other passengers? what if she wants to move but can’t because she has her hands full, is flustered, etc?

    am i really the first person to suggest approaching and having a compassionate conversation and an offer to help might be the way to go? :/

  • I am very impressed with the commenters on this thread. On any other website there would have already been someone condescendingly replying with #firstworldproblems.

    As for my opinion on this issue, if she did not have a pram or any other gear, I think that it would have been better for the mother to calmly move to another carriage, but I am meek and would not have made any mention of this to her. I can not read her baby’s expressions; to her it may have appeared at first that her baby was about to calm down. Having never had kids I would also feel that I was not in a position to empathise with her.

    • I’m really unimpressed with some of the commenters on this thread, because they have only looked at the issue from one perspective.

      From the perspective of the people on the quiet carriage, having a crying child on there is going to be an imposition. There’s that. Obviously, they’d prefer not to have a crying child on the carriage.

      If someone with a crying baby (i.e. the baby is crying when they get on) gets on a quiet carriage, then there are a few possibilities:
      1. They hope the quiet of the carriage will make it possible to calm the baby. Whether you think that is OK depends will depend on how self-centred you are, how much you sympathise with others on the quiet carriage (not the baby or mother), and maybe how much you think it makes a difference to the baby.
      2. The parent was distracted by the crying baby, so didn’t realise that it was a quiet carriage.
      3. The parent realised when the train stopped that the carriage that she was right next to was a quiet carriage, but for whatever reason didn’t feel comfortable trying to get to another carriage before the train left. (Didn’t want to get left behind? Worried about a stroller getting caught in the doors? It has happened in Melbourne).
      4. They don’t care that it is a quiet carriage

      So given these possibilities, you have to consider:
      a. What is the impact on me of the baby crying?
      b. What is the impact on others around me of the baby crying?
      c. What is the impact on the woman and baby of being on a quiet carriage?
      d. What will the impact be of me asking the woman to leave the quiet carriage?
      e. What will the impact be of me telling the woman that it is a quiet carriage?
      f. How easy is it to move to another carriage from the quiet carriage?

      Your specific choice of action should (if you want to behave like an adult) take these possibilities into consideration and use the information available to discern answers to some of these questions. If the woman is looking really embarrassed, maybe it is #3: she realises she is on a quiet carriage, but she doesn’t particularly want to be on a quiet carriage.
      Maybe (a) the baby is having a big impact on me and (b) the people around me. We’re all looking a bit frustrated. (c) The baby is crying, so doesn’t really seem to be getting any benefit from being on the carriage (or I don’t care if it is; whichever, really). (d) I think the woman will be a bit upset by me asking her to leave the carriage (because, you know, she’s dealing with a crying baby). To make (f) easier I’ll offer to help her move her stroller etc to the next carriage to ease the difficulty.

      On the other hand, if it is #4 (the person looked directly at the sign and shrugged before getting on with the crying baby), then even if (a) (b) (c) and (d) are the same you may respond differently because of the attitude of the parent.

      Ultimately I think that knowingly getting onto a quiet carriage with a quiet baby is the wrong course of action, but the question of Can I ask them to leave the carriage is a touch more complicated than the question of whether it was the wrong thing for them to do.

      Answers like the one by @mortal

      It’s a quiet carriage, if you have a kid that likes to scream – you should not be there.

      Alex Grey (a guest)

      We are discussing if a person with a loud baby or kid has the right to be in an area where it clearly states its a designated quiet carriage? And we wonder why there are no manners or consideration in society at present when we allow or normalise inconsiderate behavior!

      I don’t care if she had a kid, don’t use it as an emotional guilt trip to make me conform to someones rude manners, but rules are rules and there is a reason why they were put there in the first place. If you need to calm your kid down then get off at the next station and wait for the next train while calming down your kid.


      No sympathy. No one cares about your baby or your problems. Please quietly pack your shit up and get out of the clearly marked “quiet carriage”.

      and @barb

      Me too. “It’s a child, it’s not completely under my control” works only if someone FORCED the person taking care of the child onto the train and into that particular carriage. The choice of where you sit IS under your control, so OWN the problem you created by a bad choice of carriage, and fix it. Period.

      reflect a simplified view of the situation.

      However, some other comments acknowledge the complexity: e.g. those by @gaz, @drcollossus, and @rowan (and others).

      In summary: two people can come to the same conclusions as the appropriate course of action, but one can get there because they are self-centred and the other because they considered the context. If you’re in the former group, you should consider trying to move to the latter.
      (Note: not all of the listed comments necessarily reflect self-centred views).

      Edit: as @zombiejesus pointed out, my saying that people’s comments were ‘self-centred’ I was arguably overreaching the available information.

      • I’m a little perplexed by your post. On one hand you advocate not coming to a hard conclusion without looking at all the facts, but then you specifically single out some comments and declare them ‘simplified’ and ‘self-centred’. Shouldn’t you be following your own advice with respect to those comments and not assuming these people haven’t considered all the possibilities before they posted?

        Where is the evidence in their posts that supports your claim that they’re concerned only for themselves (ie. self-centred) and not the agitation levels of the other passengers on the train?

        • Fair point. I’ve removed the ‘self centred part’. I still hold that the comments portray a simplified view of the situation.

          I’ll also hold myself up here as an example of how difficult it can be to actually consider the various facets when you’re a bit annoyed.

          • No worries. I thought your post was largely well considered, and up to singling out replies I was with you. There just seem to be assumptions being made on both sides, assuming the other side hasn’t considered all the facts.

            People have a hard time accepting that given all the same information, others might come to a different conclusion and that they’re not wrong or stupid for it. It’s something that happens in every part of life, just look at the way console fanboys argue.

            I’m more disturbed by the hypocrisy on display across the comments here. So many posts basically consist of “You all should be better people like me, you worthless scum-sucking lowlifes”. It completely undermines the high ground they were supposedly trying to take when they attack the character of other people in the very same post.

          • There are assumptions based on all sides, I agree, but the reason I singled out particular examples was to contrast the “If you think X you’re always wrong!” and completely unsympathetic comments from the ‘I might/would ask her to leave but…’ which just reflected more nuanced thinking (in my opinion).

            I agree people come to different conclusions from the same information, and I think that’s heavily based on the pre-existing cognitive frame. People (often) tend to consider information consistent with their views to be more trustworthy; they don’t expose themselves to views which don’t match theirs or do it with such a biased eye that they can’t see the content; etc. As I imagine you know, there is a lot of research on that area.

            Re: hypocricy – yeah, that is a fair point and I think I was overreaching in saying it is “some people make simplified decisions, some make nuanced decisions; if you’re the first kind then you should be the second kind”. In reality, I think it is more the case that “some decisions are made in a simplified way and some decisions are made in a nuanced way; if you find yourself doing the former, then you should try to do the latter”.
            I think there are some people who systematically tend to draw conclusions based on simplified rather than nuanced assessment of the situation and context, but I think that is probably mainly a matter of habit. Also, people tend to become worse at nuanced thinking when angry or fearful. (I don’t have a sufficient sample from the authors of the posts I quoted to conclude anything broader than that single comment, so I wouldn’t say they systematically engage in simplified thinking).

          • I didn’t mean to give you the impression my hypocrisy comment was targeting you. Like I said, I thought your post was pretty good in general. There are other comments that are just mind-bogglingly hypocritical though.

      • Try this:

        1: Ask yourself is my baby crying in the quiet carriage?
        2: Assess that in fact, yes, it is crying in the quiet carriage
        3: Move to regular carriage

        Pretty freaking simple.

  • As a Tasmanian, I have to ask…

    “Quiet carriages”? On public transport? Could you mainlanders get any softer?! =P

  • If you let one asshole shit up the quiet carriages, every other asshole is going to try it as well. Be polite, but firm.

    To parents like that: Quiet the crotch dropping, or GTFO. You made the decision to spawn that thing, not us.

    • I don’t like how you wrote it but i agree with the general premise of your comment. I am one who has decided not pursue kids for my own reasons but i am constantly been given the guilt trip for my decision by parents who i am sure just spit vitriol at me because i have the freedom at my age to do what i want. Irresponsible “manchild” or “kidault” they call me.

      While having kids is a great achievement for many people to me it is not and you shouldn’t look down on me for not conforming to what you think i should be living my life.

      Am i selfish for not replacing life with another life? Maybe? But that’s my choice and as much as you feel i should respect you, Mr and Mrs Sanctimonious parent for you choice, respect mine.

      This includes not bringing nosey kids into quiet carriages.

  • I needed to read the opening paragraph a few times to check. Even then I looked for tell-tail signs like “A reader asks:” or more precisely, quoting the great Monty Python ” Mrs B.J. Smegma of 13, The Crescent, Belmont writes”.

    Surprisingly though, these are Angus’ own words, he isn’t relaying the poor literary skills of another this time. He who has given us multitudes of grammar posts, spelling posts, and acronym clarification posts – started his article with “So”.

    Of course this type of inanity normally needs to the brilliant ending position “Discuss”. In this regard Angus is not as lazy and uses the phrase “What do readers think?”.

  • The answer to the question should be obvious: yes. Of course you can, assuming you are capable of speaking in coherent sentences.

    Whether or not you *should*, is a different story. Right or wrong, there’s a lot to be said about minding your own business, even if someone is breaking the rules (accidently, in this case.)

  • And HOW, tell me, do you move a fully laden stroller from one carriage to another with a screaming baby? It’s hard enough getting onto a damn train or bus in the first place, given that there can be almost a foot in height difference between train and platform.

    If you wanted her to move, you can always ask nicely – just remember that mums with babies are almost certainly operating with sleep deprivation – just getting the right train was probably a victory for her, let alone remembering which carriages are the quite ones.

    Ask nicely and OFFER TO HELP – then you are being a nice person, and not a jerk. Empathy is always the solution – how would you feel and react if the roles were reversed.

    • Yep, I agree with your approach.

      She should move. And we should help her, if she needs such help. This way, she rights her own mistake, and we display an appropriate degree of tolerance. This assumes she does not claim to have special privilege for having an infant with her.

      Any concession to her behaviour must be a result of tolerance of the society, which there is; and not considered a right to claim on her part. I think most people here who want her to move feel that she is righteously claiming our tolerance as her entitlement. Although feeling this way also involves assumptions on our part. It would be quite impossible to delineate whether she feels apologetic or righteous in the matter.

  • I’d probably just move to the other quiet carriage and hope for the best.

    I think it should be equally as acceptable to ask her to move as to choose to just suck it up – triumphing or prioritising one individual’s needs over another’s rarely ends well. But anything to do with children in public is polarising. Parent’s do have implicit and explicit “extra rights” over other individuals, and as a society, civilisation and species, that is just a given. The alternative is to take up a hermit’s life.

    On the other hand, I’d ask parents to keep in mind is that there are numerous studies that have concluded that the sound of a crying baby is literally the most distracting and annoying noise in the world for human beings. The survival of our species in its early days relied on us hearing and stopping that noise above anything else, for obvious reasons. We are actually designed to hear the cry of a baby over every other noise we encounter – whether it’s our own child or not, and whether we want to or not – and to want the crying to stop ASAP. Expecting other people to ignore it is pretty unrealistic.

  • Chris Jager, how can I put this more clearly. If the entire train doesn’t consist solely of quiet carriages, and if other members of the human race use quiet carriages to get peace and quiet, then being caretaker of a crying baby is not an exception to the quiet carriages rule. The caretaker should pick their tired arse, pram and 75 shopping bags up and head to the door to the rest of the train. There will likely be plenty of passengers who’ll volunteer to help her carry her stuff out of their hearing range.

  • the people saying she should move are the same self-centered as#h#oles that would ask to be moved during a flight if they sat next to a disabled child…it’s a freaking train trip, you people must also be the same people if they see someone getting hurt will just continue to move on or not give assistance, its people like you that make me ashamed to be Australian, sure i wouldn’t like it but i would think the mother is already embarrassed enough. I really feel sorry for you and hope one day something truly bad happens to you and people just keep moving and say oh well to bad…

    • Telling other people they’re arseholes that make you ashamed to be Australian in the same paragraph as saying you hope something bad happens to them and nobody helps. Good job, you are exactly what you hate.

      Get some perspective and don’t be so melodramatic. There’s a world of difference between politely asking someone making a disturbance to move, and ignoring someone who is hurt and needs help.

  • Quiet means just that – quiet. How hard is it to understand? The mother should have moved to another carriage, even though the noise wasn’t intentional – it was still noise, and still disturbing the other passengers.

  • Every article I have seen on quiet carriages (and children!) has led to the most hateful arguments I’ve seen on Lifehacker. Nobody gets this angry about trains in Perth. Maybe the carriages are more trouble than they’re worth.

    • It’s not really the carriages that spark this kind of discussion. It’s the “I’m an exception to the rules because…” mentality that some people have about these sorts of things. As someone pointed out in an earlier comment, it’s the same as people driving up turning lanes and then trying to merge back into main traffic at the intersection, or people trying to cut into the front of the line at a bank or post office.

      • Even so, when someone cuts in front of you in a merging lane do you think “he’s a jerk” for four seconds and get on with your day, or spend hours thinking about how THIS is what’s wrong with the world and how NOTHING WILL EVER GET BETTER until people stop having babies they can’t control?

        I rationally understand the argument you’re making, but I can’t wrap my mind around the anger from either side over something that really doesn’t matter that much in the grand scheme. Anger without action only causes suffering for us as individuals and has no impact on the mother who wronged Angus… ya know?

  • This brings to mind the biblical situation where “let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Obviously the woman is disrupting the other passengers, against the purpose and intent of the quiet carriage, but nobody will actually voluntarily be the douchebag that gives the poor, suffering woman the what-for.

    It speaks very well of our society that this is even a thing.

  • The carriage was made a quiet zone for a reason. How about you try to wear an hearing aid and stand next to a screaming child. Geez. I’d like to ban children in LOTS of places. Running amok and toppling the oldies over. Todays parents need to start taking responsibility for THEIR children and not make life difficult for others. Behaviours are getting out of hand. We do not owe you anything!!!

  • These social requests and nothing more! Requests, they are not enforceable. If people do not wish to abide by those city rail requests then there is not a damn thing anyone can do about it. Harrassing someone to move or shut up is intimidation and a crime. So if you dont like it, all you can do is deal with it or move.

    So let me tell my story. As a person who rarely catches the train and un acustom to train etiquette, I caught the train from Central a couple of days ago and sat down in the 4th carriage of a Blue Mountains service. A Quiet carriage? I am assuming so judging by the barage of harrassment that ensured upon me for a 60 second quiet phone call.
    Soon after I sat down my phone rang with an important call from our work IT guy. I was in the very back part of the carriage where there were 2, 2 seaters and 2, 1 seaters. There were many seats upstairs and downstairs as the train had 5 minutes before it was due to pull out. I was almost finished my phone call when this young teenager sat down beside me and proceeded to yell in my ear, its a quiet carriage, get off the phone! If she yelled this once she yelled it 20 times until I had completed my call. She then went on to abuse me for being inconsiderate of others. Funny at that point I just knew where she was intending to alight lol. The amount of noice this person made was 10 times the noise I made yet she felt she was justified in harrassing me rather than simply not sit down beside me. I was speaking very low and there was no disruption to any other passengers. I had no idea about this city rail social request until I got home and checked it out. There were not anouncements from the time I got on the train till the time I got off.

    The short of it is that a) these requests or not enforceable so if someone is ignorant or simply doesnt want to play so be it.
    b)you dont have any right to harrass someone to move or shut up.
    and c) I have learned this week that if someone dares try harrassing me to shut up when I need to take a call then I will call the guard for harrassment and have that right to do so. Who has the right of it in the end??? Abusive peace keepers are worse than the so called offenders in my view and guess what people? You are on public transport, yes its noisey, its crowded and its smelly and unpleasant. Thats what you get with an over populated world. Deal with it precious

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