When Natasha Young brought her six-week-old baby to Cosmo – a popular British restaurant chain – earlier this month, she was charged an extra $5 (what the media is calling a “baby tax“). She asked the staff to remove the charge from her bill but they refused to do so because they felt her stroller was taking up too much real estate in the 800-seat, 22,000-square-foot space (also known as the UK’s largest restaurant).
Cosmo has since apologized to Young, but the incident has sparked an international debate over children’s role in the dining-out experience. Some restaurants, like McDain’s in Monroeville, PA, have gone so far as to ban children under six altogether. Others encourage family dining and offer up everything from complementary crayons and coloring books to special kids’ menus and treats. Parents are equally as torn; comments on various sites range from “This baby tax is a great idea. Why shouldn’t you pay more if you’re the kind of careless person who makes everyone put up with your stroller hogging extra space?” to “Boycott the blood sucking restaurant!!!!!!!!”
I think that most parents would agree there’s a happy medium. Personally, I believe that children belong in restaurants but that parents have a responsibility to keep them respectful. Here are our top 5 tips for dining out with your children in peace.
(Photo: Polka Dot Images)