Most parents have had to deal with their children getting too noisy on a trip to the shops, but a shopping mall in Australia has banned screaming toddlers altogether.
In a move that has outraged many parents, the Dee Why Grand shopping complex north of Sydney has told customers screaming children “will not be tolerated”.
After complaints about children being too loud near the centre’s play area, a notice has been put up saying, “Stop. Parents please be considerate of other customers using the food court. Screaming children will not be tolerated in the centre”.
Centre manager Brenda Mulcahy said staff and customers had complained about children “running amok” in the food court and said children were sometimes so loud she could hear their screams in her office, which was “miles away”.
“People deserve the quiet enjoyment of their cup of tea,” Mulcahy told The Manly Daily newspaper.
“Mothers have to be more responsible. We have had so many complaints.”
She said some staff avoided the food court because the noise was “unbearable”.
The ban has sparked a huge debate in the parenting community, with Australian internet forums and newspaper websites inundated with comments.
“Parents and children need to know that they must be considerate of other people. It is not all about them,” said one correspondent on the news.com.au website.
Another said: “So how does centre management expect to enforce this? Will security physically evict a mother and child because the child is crying hysterically.”
Child psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg said: “I do think we are becoming increasingly selfish and intolerant… this shopping centre needs to watch itself because I’m not sure legally it has much of a leg to stand on. This could be a violation of the UN rights of the child.” – Sapa-AP