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 UK show This Morning that she chose to give her children Phenergan Elixir to keep her children quiet, reports the Daily Mail.

The medication is more commonly used to treat allergies or travel sickness and can cause drowsiness.

Her remarks caused outrage among some viewers, one who likened the move to "child abuse".

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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".

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.

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

"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!" raged another angry viewer.

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!"

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."