Keeping children safe when you’re out and about is a full-time job and it pays to be aware of safety issues wherever you are. If you’re eating out as a family at pubs or restaurants, here are some useful tips to ensure an enjoyable, stress-free occasion.
Families with children are welcomed at many pubs and restaurants throughout the UK. Although some are superbly geared up towards children, and have activities for them to do and play areas for them to enjoy, not all establishments are perfectly child friendly. Even though those that do welcome children aren’t automatically 100% child safe, so parents have to be on their guard and look out for children while they’re there.
Pub and Restaurant Danger Zones
In the case of young children, it’s especially important to keep them under your watchful eye, as there are a multitude of potential dangers lurking in pubs and restaurants. Ideally, children should be encouraged to sit down at the table with the rest of the family, especially when you’re all eating your meals. Understandably, they may want to walk around or play a bit between courses, or at the beginning or end of the meal. Give careful thought to where you choose to sit so their play can be safer, too.
For example, avoid sitting near the kitchen or next to an aisle where waiters or waitresses are frequently walking along with hot meals or trays of plates and glasses, as this instantly poses a danger for young children. If they step into the way of a tray carrying waiter, or play in the area where waitresses need to walk, it could compromise their safety. Be aware of kitchen doors too, as so often they’re the swing variety that swing both ways – one accidental blow can easily knock a child flying.
Choose a large and quiet corner, where there’s space for children to play around near your table – and close by enough so you can keep an eye on them. Alternatively, if the weather is good and there’s an enclosed garden, then sit outside In pubs that are geared up to families. There are often swings, a slide or other play equipment outside for children to enjoy. If you have young children, also supervise them while playing and keep an eye on what they’re up to.
When you’re dining in pubs, children may be keen to explore every nook and cranny, but it’s best not to let young children wander around on their own. The doors will be frequently opened, or even propped open, making it easy for children to slip outside without you even knowing. Old pubs can have uneven floors, narrow stairs and sudden steps that children can end up tumbling down accidentally.
Encourage courtesy for the other diners or drinkers in the pub or restaurant, who may not be quite so used to children as you. Get children to walk rather than run, as there will be people walking around carrying full glasses and accidental spillages of other people’s drinks are not fun to deal with, plus it poses a danger to your child if they subsequently slip on the wet floor.
Many families happily eat out at pubs and restaurants all the time and, with a bit of care and consideration, dangers can be minimised and a good time can be had by all.