Should malls ban noisy children?
Sydneysiders tell us what they think of Dee Why shopping centre's move to encourage parents to control screaming and tantrums in the food court.PT1M15S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2eqxp 620 349 February 20, 2013
A Dee Why shopping centre says it has not "banned" noisy children from the facility but is taking measures to prevent parents from letting their children run amok in the food court and "scream at the highest decibels".
The Dee Why Grand Shopping Centre on Sydney's northern beaches has put up a sign following complaints from shoppers that out-of-control children were ruining their experience.
The sign, from centre management, reads: "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 a more softly worded sign was put up in the shopping centre last year, but did not have the desired effect.
"Children don't have to be silent. We've got music playing, it's a shopping centre, and we expect children to play and we expect children to be noisy," Ms Mulcahy said.
"But I'm not talking play noise [that is causing complaints]. I'm talking screaming, decibel noise."
She said in one incident on Tuesday, a woman was ignoring her child who was throwing a tantrum in the play centre, which is located near the food court.
"I'm not talking mildly noisy, I'm talking a screaming tantrum, and she was ignoring him. I heard it from the other end of the shopping centre," she said.
Ms Mulcahy said she went to the play centre and asked the mother if it was possible to comfort her child, which she did, and the child quietened down.
She denied a report that the centre had "banned" noisy children.
"Can I just say categorically, we have never banned a child from this centre. That is absolute rubbish," she said.
"I would never do it. That's just totally a miscarriage of justice as far as I am concerned. But I do think that from a safety issue and from a quiet enjoyment issue for everybody in the centre, there is a level at which people need to be considerate and I think that's what it comes down do, consideration."
Ms Mulcahy said the free play centre had been at the rear of the food court since the shopping centre's inception in 2010, and parents or guardians had to supervise their children in the centre.
But in the past year complaints about noise had risen, and children were also leaving the play centre to run through the food court.
"You've got coffee, hot soups, other hot food, you've got tables that are permanent fixtures. It's a safety issue as well," she said.
"As a shopping centre manager it is my job to provide a secure, safe and enjoyable experience for everybody, not just some people. Given this is a free facility, there is some due consideration for other people."