Outrage of the Day: Toddler on Dad’s Shoulders “In Danger”

Hi Readers — This is less about a society than gone crazy than something that drives ME crazy: Power in the hands of people without brains.

This particular iykfkdferk
involves a family at a festival in Sydney, Australia. The dad hoisted his not-quite-2-year-old onto his shoulders to get a better look. A guard told him to put the child down — she was in too much danger. After all, WHAT IF the dad got knocked to the ground (as so many parents do at family festivals)? The child would be hurt! Then a gang of guards surrounded the dad to make him comply.

What’s great is that the organizers of the fest and everyone else in a position of authority quickly distanced themselves from the guards’ actions. It was really more of a case of the guards being busybodies than anything else. Busybodies with uniforms and an attitude.

My favorite. — L.

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61 Responses to Outrage of the Day: Toddler on Dad’s Shoulders “In Danger”

  1. Josh January 11, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    That’s absolutely ridiculous. I loved being carried down the street on my dad’s shoulders as a little kid.
    By the way, have you seen this article?
    Sounds like a really smart guy.

  2. Michelle January 11, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Thought you’d enjoy that piece. It’s not just USA that can bring the crazy.

  3. socalledauthor January 11, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    I wonder if any of the busybodies-ness of some of these people (police, guards, etc) isn’t partly fueled by a fear of litigation. One of those… IF the child was hurt because the dad was knocked down, the guard could be blamed (and sued) because he didn’t stop it. Lawsuits have and do reach that absurdly far in their scope to blame and make money.

    If not sued, at least blamed because so many people do look for someone who “should have done something.” Which, IMNHO, goes with our current cultural love of abdicating responsibility.

    Beam me up, Scotty. There’s no intelligent life down here…

  4. Quincy January 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    They do this at ball games here. My son was on my husband’s shoulders at the game, and we were told to put him down. At least at that moment, we were standing on the edge of a balcony, so it vaguely made sense, but not really.

  5. Maya January 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    This makes me crazy! Our local ballpark has ALL the guards say it over and over. Personally, I would much rather had my 2 year old happily on my shoulders in a crowd than squirming trying to get down and walk. I continue to point out that I can take care if my own child, but as soon as we get to the next guard they’re sayingthe same thing. Ugh – watch for criminals people!

  6. PJ January 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    That happened to me at a ballgame as well. Ludicrous.

  7. Verena B January 11, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Happened to us at a ball game here in AZ too. We were trying to leave after a game and were not any where near any place dangerous, as I recall. How else do you get a toddler out of a stadium? They can’t walk that far! Should we let them pass out from exhaustion instead??? Or let Dad loose his cool while waiting for them to mosey over the mile or so to the car? Or get trampled? good grief . . . I smell a lawsuit . . .

  8. This girl loves to talk January 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    I was going to send this story to you when I heard about it yesterday! I will say though it has recieved a far bit of news coverage (well yesterday before all these floods took over the news) and most news shows/debate shows said that it was rediculous, its a rite of passage to sit on your dads shoulders etc etc. So good news that very few people agreed.

    I dont know how many times I’ve been told by grocery store people, librarians, to get my kids off things (usually my 4 year old who is a climber) but last week on was on a city cat (a type of city ferry) inside and my daughter hopped up on my lap to see out the window. We got told off ‘for safety reasons’

    I swear these days no one wants to let kids be kids (in the way of standing on your parents to get a better view of something. Dont they remember what it was like to be so small????

  9. JaneW January 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    The shoulders is a normal place to carry a toddler, and perfectly safe as long as the person doing the carrying is substantially larger than the person being carried. (Most father-toddler pairs meet this criteria.)

    This sounds more like “guard on a power trip” than anything else. I remember one time I was at the doctor’s for a badly swollen foot. I propped it on the back of the chair next to me, to ease the pain during the 2 hours I spent waiting.

    Security guard insisted I sit straight with feet on the floor, even after I told him I was in a lot of pain. He was not able to give me a rational reason, but insisted I would do things his way or leave.

    Yeah, I don’t go there any more.

  10. Sarah January 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Wow, ridiculous. My husband carries our children like that all the time and when they were lighter and younger I did too. Zero injuries to report. 🙂

  11. North of 49 January 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    that guard would have gotten a taste of my tongue and the demand to see the supervisor RIGHT NOW.

    Shoulder riding is sometimes the only way we can get one of the kids out of a crowd. I guess the guard wants to deal with a code Adam instead of a happy kid on daddy’s shoulders. *eyeroll*

  12. RobynHeud January 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    I think I’d be more worried about the person running through the crowd trampling my kid rather than knocking me or my husband down. In that sense, it is definitely more safe for the child to be up than down. Had an interesting conversation with a co-worker the other day. He said I was “bad” for giving my kid a popsicle to ease his teething pain and I said I’m ok with that, cuz the way I figure it, the only way to be a good mom is to do what you think is best and screw the rest of the world.

  13. Marie January 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    RobynHeud, that was exactly my thought. A two year old is really small and easy to knock over accidentally in the crowd. Add in the random number generator most toddlers seem to use to decide where to go next, and on a parent’s shoulders is a much safer place for a little one.

  14. Frau_Mahlzahn January 11, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    I heard a guard in a museum ask a dad one time to take his toddler down — apparently they did have an incident there one time, where someone tripped and fell with a kid. Still, the father kindly ignored him… We used to carry our kids on our shoulders all the time, and they loved it.


  15. Scott January 11, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    (reads article)


    (words fail me)

  16. Trina January 11, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    Jane W – i have to ask why was there a security guard at the doctors????

  17. Tara January 11, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    Um, really? Maybe the security guards need to be focusing, I don’t know, on actual security problems???

  18. JaneW January 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    Trina – Excellent question. I think it was because it was a very large office where large numbers of people were kept waiting. And Heaven knows, people waiting for the doctor are typically a rowdy and lawless crowd, with large numbers of dangerous grandmothers.

  19. Amanda H January 11, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    off topic:
    in the same vein as your recent Sesame Street post (lost dog)… have you seen the new PBS show The Cat in the Hat? In the original book, mom is out and the kids are home alone… on the new show mom herself is in every episode.

  20. Jojo January 11, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    This sort of thing happened to me during a visit to the Museum of Natural History in NYC.

    Trying to reason with, and then ask for the guard’s supervisor was a waste of time — and just made me mad!

  21. Robin January 11, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    The art museum in Phila has a room you can rent out for parties. My cousin had an anniversary party for my Aunt and Uncle there. I was pregnant with number 2 and number 1 was about a year old. After the party was over we were allowed to tour the museum. Well, strollers are not allowed and we also found out that sitting on Dad’s shoulders was not allowed. So what do you do with a 1 year old who’s too big to carry around for hours and is too small to walk? We had to leave after a few minutes. Doesn’t anyone see how these rules actually affect the people they’re supposed to “protect”?

  22. Myriam January 11, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    The thing I hate most about incidents like this is that you never know what thing you’re innocently going to do wrong next. Personally, I often feel on edge because of this when I take my children out in public and that is not good.

    Politicians that complain about people keeping their children at home in front of the TV all day they should instead consider what a pain it can be sometimes to take children out because of this over-concern with health and safety and what can be done about it.

  23. msmama January 11, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    Amanda H – Mom is home, but the kids are always outside playing. Unsupervised.

    At the Air and Space Museum Extension by Dulles Airport in Virginia, there are signs ALL OVER the second floor telling people to not carry kids on their shoulders.

  24. Donna January 11, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    I wonder how many of these rules are for safety reasons and how many are for the enjoyment of other patrons. While toddlers on shoulders is fine for the walking around, I’d be annoyed if a toddler sitting on dad’s shoulders was obstructing my view at the ball game or museum or show. There’s basic consideration for others.

  25. Donna January 11, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

    I wonder how many of these rules are for safety reasons and how many are for the enjoyment of other patrons. While toddlers on shoulders is fine for the walking around, I’d be annoyed if a toddler sitting on dad’s shoulders was obstructing my view at the ball game or museum or show. There’s basic consideration for others. I paid to be there as well and shouldn’t have to strain to see around your toddler.

  26. Donna January 11, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    Weird not sure how that posted twice – once before I finished.

  27. EricS January 11, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    LOL! What a bunch of goons. They are totally power tripping. I did security for 12 years. The only time I was ever like that was when I first started when I was 23. Completely green, with no experience, with the power to decide who stays and who goes. Not to mention get into fights and pickup girls. Then I grew up, and learned from the older more experienced guys.

    If there was no rule or law against a father carrying his child on his shoulders, that swarming was completely unnecessary. IF there was a rule that wasn’t allowed because it blocks the view of others, they should have mentioned THAT to him. NOT lecture him about child endangerment. Not to mention swarming a father holding a child on his shoulder IS endangering a child. If I were the dad, I would have stood my ground. What were they going to do? Tackle me? Grab my child from my hands? LOL! They’d all have a serious law suit, and criminal charges slapped on them that would make them puke.

    This female guard had her own views of parenting (the helicoptering type) and decided to have the holier than thou attitude, using her authority to back her up. As well as the other male goons. I’ve seen that kind of thing many times, even with my own crew. Except we (the more experienced guys), would set our own guys straight. Apologize for the miscommunication with the patron and let it go. It’s all about assessing the situation and how it affects the establishment and other patrons. NOT the individual in question. There’s a right way and wrong way to do everything. This was dealt with the wrong way. I hope that these turds…I mean guards are reprimanded. The father should make a formal complaint to the Fair’s organizer.

  28. Donna January 11, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

    I agree that the guard in question was being an idiot – and a fair seems like a reasonable place to have a kid on your shoulders. But many were complaining about rules in museums, ball games and other places where I wouldn’t find it particularly suitable for kids on your shoulders due to bothering other patrons.

  29. pentamom January 12, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    What is the child was on the ground and got stepped on by someone who didn’t notice him — which is far more likely, in fact it’s not unusual at all.

    Solution: a miniature version of a popemobile for every toddler.

  30. Marty January 12, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    socalledauthor- I don’t think it’s a fear of litigation, I think many people are wired to be bureaucrats. ‘rules are rules’ is their mantra and if they have any authority, they will exercise it to enforce the rule. it’s just a black and white world to them.

    they may use the fear of litigation as an excuse, but they’re almost never personally liable, so I don’t see this argument. if the guy would’ve been chewing gum and the guard could order him to discard it, I think he would have.

  31. Rob O. January 12, 2011 at 12:14 am #

    Even at nearly 5, I still carry my son on my shoulders often. This is a nice way for Dads to bond with their children and ensure that the child doesn’t stray in a crowded setting.

  32. Mika January 12, 2011 at 12:26 am #

    Amanda H – I like the cat in the hat -mom’s voice is usually all that is heard -expect for a few episodes like the whale and singing one when they sing to the moms. I like that they always ask permission before they go do something.

    The original story is perplexing to me. Once when I was carrying around my toddler she decided to get down before I was ready and she was precariously balanced for a while -and I managed to get myself in ridiculous contortionist positions to keep her from falling. And she was fine – even if the kid would start to fall (somehow) the dad would probably do everything to protect his kid like I would – not to mention this is not an issue that concerns a guard!

  33. jim January 12, 2011 at 1:17 am #

    Oh, so they have out-of-control security guards in Oz, too, huh? I’ve got several friends in law enforcement and they will all tell you that jobs involving a gun, a badge, and authority does attract a fair number of wingnuts. And it’s not unheard of for a wannabe cop who couldn’t pass the screening (especially the psych eval) to wind up as security guards. This also happens with small-town police departments – there was a guy in my home town who had always dreamed of wearing a uniform and being in charge. He came home from the Army six months after he enlisted, with no explanation I ever heard give, and tried to get on with both the Highway Patrol and the nearest big-city department – both of whom declined to hire him. He wound up on our little six-man force, but after several incidents it got obvious that what he liked best about the job was that it offered opportunities to put teenage girls in handcuffs for very trivial reasons if any reason at all. Last I heard he was working as a security guard, of course.

  34. Larry Harrison January 12, 2011 at 1:19 am #

    I make my kids walk, and the youngest one is 1½ years old, but that’s my preference–and heck, even I might do the “carry on shoulders,” at least in short stretches anyway, in such a situation.

    As for his incident? What the solider in me thinks I would do (although I’m not sure I actually would), is “I’m not putting him down and I dare ANY of you 30 to do a damn thing about it!” Either that, or I would’ve put him down and said “go fight real crime, you bunch of worthless lowlifes.”

    In case you can’t tell, I have very large contempt for anyone thinking they have the right to tell another how to parent their children. Advice is fine, people like John Rosemond sharing their principles is fine, after all people seek his advice out, same with other parenting figures–but busy-bodies trying to MAKE people do as they say or lecturing when it wasn’t asked for is another thing altogether.

    Police, security guards etc often complain about “lack of respect.” Well, Barney Fife–do nonsense like that, and of course that’s going to be the outcome. The antics of one Barney Fife may make for great comedy on “The Andy Griffeth show,” but in real life it’s not welcome or appreciated at all. I dare say eventhe late Don Knotts would agree with that.


  35. Erika Evans January 12, 2011 at 1:45 am #

    No–freakin–way. No rent-a-cop tells me how to handle my child, period.

    I’d stand my ground and dare them–DARE THEM!–to touch me or my kid.

    We have to stand up to this false authority, people! Don’t take it! If we don’t stand our ground and challenge this crap, it will get worse, and worse, and worse. No one has the right to interfere with private citizens going about their business, unless we allow it!

  36. Erika Evans January 12, 2011 at 1:47 am #

    Upon reading the linked article–I am very heartened at the reactions quoted. A few goobers who got reined in; what a relief!

  37. Susan January 12, 2011 at 2:50 am #

    I had an experience during a flight to Europe. I requested this little bassinet thingy on the wall for the baby to sleep in. I flew to Europe, no problem.

    On my way back. I asked for the same deal. The flight attendent told me I would not be able to leave the child in the bassinet when the seat belt signs were on. I knew I had to take the baby in and out during starting and landing and in real danger situation, but had never heard such a thing… So, I asked why. The woman turned around and got back with her supervisor who threatened me with bad accusation of child endangerment. I was perplexed as my question was harmless, and my tone not bad.

    I basically ended up having the baby on my lap the entire flight. With the seat belt sign on for basically the entire flight with hardly any off time, I started wondering what the bassinet deal actually was.. it did not provide any help at all. As I was also not allowed to put any “movables” in. The baby gets strapped in. it is fairly securely tightened to the wall…? I do not see why my lap on a 9h flight could be that much safer.

    I always assumed it was the power rush that might these two women act that way. I never believed there was any true policy behind their request as I could not find any. And other airlines never requested the same thing…

  38. Robin January 12, 2011 at 3:34 am #

    Donna – I can see your point about kids blocking the view at a baseball game if the seats are assigned, but at a museum? This was not a seated lecture, this was just patrons roaming around and looking at stuff. I’m 5’4″ and MY view is often blocked by taller people. Should they have to get down on their knees for me? Or do we do what comes naturally, wait a minute for them to move on and then move closer.

  39. Matt January 12, 2011 at 3:59 am #

    Same thing for me as stated above at the AMNH in NYC and at Yankee Stadium. Ridiculous.

  40. Sky January 12, 2011 at 4:14 am #

    “At the Air and Space Museum Extension by Dulles Airport in Virginia, there are signs ALL OVER the second floor telling people to not carry kids on their shoulders.”

    This is probably because the second floor is pretty much a viewing balcony, with a long drop to the first floor.

  41. Babs January 12, 2011 at 4:44 am #

    Pretty ridiculous, if you ask me. How many of us were carried on our dad’s (or other adults’) shoulders and didn’t fall off? Unless someone has a seizure/heart attack, what is the incidence of something bad happening, really?

    OTOH, my big pet peeve with regard to falls are parents who let their kids ride ON shopping carts, similar to when kids of yesteryear would hitch rides on the bumpers of buses. Or am I just paranoid?

  42. HSmom January 12, 2011 at 4:51 am #

    When I was little (maybe four or five), my dad was carrying me on his shoulders while we were going down the street on a busy Minneapolis day. The sidewalk was crowded and I’m sure he thought it was safest for me, since he couldn’t lose me. However, it was winter and the sidewalks were slippery and, lo and behold, my dad DID slip and fall and threw me *almost* into the busy downtown street. Fortunately, the cars were at a stop. My brother and other by-standers jumped to my rescue (Dad ended up with a twisted ankle) and I was fine. Of course, it could have ended much worse. BUT! It was sort of a freak accident. I wouldn’t say Dad was negligent for having done that. I don’t think anyone thought anything like that.

    Now… my husband carries my son the same way, and I flinch because of the accident I was in. But as long as he’s not carrying him up and down the stairs or on a slippery sidewalk, I try to keep my feelings to myself.

    Being critical of a dad lifting a child up so he can see is crazy!

  43. Donna January 12, 2011 at 5:14 am #

    @ Robin – Personally, I’d prefer toddlers not be in museums at all unless it’s a children’s museum. They’re not interested in it and are often poorly behaved because they’re bored. I could support a museum banning shoulder carrying children to cater to the other patrons of the museum. I’m simply not of the school of thought that children need to be welcome/catered too everywhere.

  44. KLY January 12, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    The whole article thing – has the decline of Metal made there be a Huge Rush of security guards who see any crowd as “potential mosh pit?”
    Yeah… about that “raising a stink” thing… if someone had told me I could not have a child on my shoulders, there would probably end up being a whole lot of people afraid to ever talk to someone carrying a child, ever again.
    Could be knocked over? Oh… well… what about all the “child carrying” parents who have their children *strapped* to them in a sling (up to age four, according to most sling-selling sites)?” They cannot move them out to the way in a split second! Oh No! That means everyone carrying a child in a crowd is endangering them!
    [/sarcasm and commence with eye-rolling. ]

    @Babs… how is riding a shopping cart even near bus-surfing? Having done some pretty irresponsible stuff with shopping carts *and* moving vehicles in my time (forgive me, it was long ago), I can tell you that carts do not get up to much speed at all. Buses… yeah. Different story.

    Now, I did not let my daughter climb all over shopping carts because I was trying to teach her civilized-public-behavior vs. wild-monkey-antics. However, as soon as she was large enough, she occasionally did the “hang on and step on the bar” cart riding thing. It kept her out of stuff and entertained, especially when I had to cross back over to another aisle quickly.
    So… I am not sure what you problem with that is.

  45. KLY January 12, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    Oh and @Myriam –
    Well said.
    The Go out and do more! message vs. the “Walk On Eggshells for Safety!” thing is maddening.

  46. meghann January 12, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    I get nervous when my husband puts my two-year-old on his shoulders. But that’s only because she thinks it is *high-larious* to randomly throw herself backward to the ground & occasionally tries to do it when one of us is carrying her – in arms, on shoulders, or otherwise – and the very real possibility of her taking a six-foot head-first fall to the ground bugs me a smidge.

    That said, I don’t think other people should have to parent their children based on my odd child’s little quirks. Which I think is at the root of all the “you know, *something* could happen” hysteria, anyway.

  47. Free-range Teen January 12, 2011 at 10:10 am #

    If a kid is in ‘danger’ by sitting on his dad’s shoulders then why am I alive? And why aren’t my parents in jail?

  48. Scott January 12, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    “Personally, I’d prefer toddlers not be in museums at all unless it’s a children’s museum.”

    Well, fortunately it’s none of your business whether they are or not.

  49. Larry Harrison January 12, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    @Scott While I am free-range, and I do basically agree with the “it’s none of your business” bit, I do have to agree with Donna a little bit here.

    That is, while I am of the school of thought that how someone parents their child is no one’s business, when it regards how much freedom parents give their child in their own yard, the park etc–it IS people’s business if the children are doing annoying things which destroys the other person’s right to experience their life in peace & quiet somewhat.

    To wit: just today, we witnessed restaurant patrons not controlling their children whining in the restaurant. That annoyed me, because they were noisy and it bothered me–and it’s fixable. I can tell you–my children whine in the restaurant, I deal with them QUICKLY. My son, barely 15 months old at the time, was whining in an Arby’s–hardly a fancy place by any means–but in barely 10 seconds, I was in the men’s room with him, I spanked him (yes, I spanked him), he cried, I pointed my finger in his face and lectured him along the lines of “cut it out, you will NOT create a noisy experience for other people who couldn’t give a damn less”–and he, guessed what, cut it out.

    Sometime later, at a public picnic at the park, he started whining with mommy just because she wasn’t fixing his hot dog fast enough to suit him, I showed up (I had been walking around) and with that loud voice went “STOP THAT WHINING RIGHT NOW!!”–he immediately stopped, much to the amazement of the others around him.

    My point?

    It CAN be controlled, and I think parents are obligated to do so out of respect for other people around them. I have no right telling others how to parent their children in general, but when parents are too busy excusing their child’s behavior in such situations and it results in a bunch of screaming I could do without, I think it’s right for someone to call them on it.

    And if kids in a museum are noisy and ruin it for the others there who are trying to soak in the experience, yes–the others have the right to tell the parent to do something about it.

    Free-range does not imply freedom from respect of others who don’t want to hear your whiny brat.


  50. KLY January 12, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    @Donna – Yeah… in regards to the “Personally, I’d prefer toddlers not be in museums at all unless it’s a children’s museum” bit…

    I am sorry if your experiences with toddler in museums has been unpleasant, but for my daughter they were enriching, even when she was just-barely a toddler. Children’s museums do not offer the exposure to colour and line and variety, in general, that regular museums do.

    I have used museum visits, from before my child was two, as a way to expose her to more *and* to teach her how to behave appropriately in differnt places. I would have been *very* upset if someone suggested to me that it was somehow not okay to bring my child into such a setting. The impact of what she saw and absorbed, even at a young age, was obvious when we got home and pulled out the crayons.

    @ Larry… removing yourself and your whiny child (to fix the situation and not impact those around you) from a museum is no different from doing so in a restaurant, grocery-store, library, etc. Saying that people should take care of the ruckus their child is causing and make sure they do not impinge upon the enjoyment of others is very different, though, from saying you should not take younger children to places like museums. Kids cause fusses in stores and restaurants, but that doesn’t mean they should never be there… it just means parents should handle *any* situation with consideration when in public.

    Someone getting upset because my child was throwing a fit and ruining their experience of a museum = totally understandable. (There are procedures for this, btw. If you tell a manager/security guard/whatever-is-appropriate that it is bothering you, they will generally speak with the parents and ask them to remove themselves and the child from the situation until it is resolved.)

    But someone saying I should not bring my young child to a museum, just because there *might* be a problem = interference we could all do better without.

  51. Steve January 12, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    I completely agree with you Lenore! Absolutely rediculas!

  52. maaaty January 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm #


    Isn’t there an “anti-breeder” blog you should be haunting?

    Anti-kids in museums. Wow. Just wow.

  53. Bob Davis January 12, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    Many years ago I worked at a plant that worked on aerospace contracts, and had ID badges and door guards. It seemed like every six months we’d get a new “security” firm. Rumor had it that whoever did the best job of wining and dining the corporate security director (who was said to be a crony of the company president and was just about useless) got the contract. There were two common types of guards: A) Retired military personnel–they were just trying to eke out their pensions and were usually OK guys, B) Wannabe cops, young jerks on a power trip, many of whom only the most desperate, shorthanded small town police dept. would consider–they were a pain in the neck (or lower down) and got more contempt than respect from the workers. (why do some TSA screeners come to mind?)

    Regarding kids in museums: it all depends on the child. Parents should be smart enough to know just how much “culture” their youngsters can absorb before becoming saturated (the mind as sponge). Things that move and make noise are likely to keep their attention much longer than static displays–time to encourage a visit to your local railroad or trolley museum!

  54. Donna January 12, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    I never said that toddlers should be banned from museums, just that I’m okay with museums having rules that are geared towards towards the main patrons and don’t necessarily cater to toddlers or parents with toddlers in toe. Just as I’m okay with pubs, fancy restaurants and other adult-oriented places doing the same. I simply don’t believe that every place in the world needs to be child-centered. Just as I wouldn’t expect a park to be a quiet-zone, I hope to be able to enjoy certain places without yelling, temper tantrums and parents chasing after toddlers. If your child is well-behaved enough to go to a museum (pub, restaurant, etc) at 18 months, take him but don’t expect the place to cater to his needs over those of the target customer. Call me anti-breeder if you wish.

    I also said toddlers, not children. By the time my daughter was 4, I took her to museums. By then she had a decent attention span and knew how to behave in public. But toddlers have short attention spans and move, touch and manipulate to learn. None of which are suitable for non-children’s museums. While I’m sure they exist somewhere, I’ve yet to meet a toddler who enjoyed a museum for more than 10 minutes. Sat still? Sure. Didn’t fuss? Sure. But seemed to be enjoying themselves? No. Studies have shown that children’s exposure to culture at a young age does not in any way impact their intelligence or appreciation of those items later. So I’m not sure what the point of taking them is.

  55. Larry Harrison January 12, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

    @Donna Exactly. I understand & agree. The funny thing is, I used to say these things when I was single & had no children, but I still say those things now, as the parent of a 1½ and 3½ year-old.

    As much as I believe in free-range and letting kids be kids etc, and believe me I do, I also make a point of remembering that people around me like the quiet and aren’t as enamored with my children as I am. I’ve always said I respect, if begrudgingly at times, the Mr Wilsons of the world who simply want to be left alone in their own quiet zone as it were. And yes, even in public, that’s not always an unreasonable expectation.

    Places like nice restaurants and museums come to mind too. I also would list churches, especially during the sermon–I want to hear the sermon, not an upset child throwing a fit. I tend to be a bit judgmental, I have to admit, of parents who INSIST on having their children in their with them, vs in the nursery, because they can’t bear to be away from their little tike for 5 seconds–and then they expect me to be okay with the noise when the kiddos become restless. I resent that. In such cases, how one parents their child is somewhat my business, vs whether or not they let them play outside or not etc, because it effects my ability to enjoy what I’m there to enjoy without the disruptions.

    Things like weddings, graduations, movies–yes, let’s not leave out movies either–come to mind, also. Even if it’s a Disney movie, I don’t want to hear anything but the movie as much as possible–I sure don’t want to hear a whiny brat in a more adult-themed movie.

    Yet you’re supposed to tolerate it because of adults who don’t believe in discipline because they’re too busy being their child’s friend. Not me: I never forget I’m their father, and will come down on them like a cement mixer in the blink of an eye if they start misbehaving.

    Keep your kiddos quiet!


  56. dweeb January 14, 2011 at 1:36 am #

    remember, most private security guards are people who couldn’t pass the psych screening to be police officers, and a good percentage of those who DO pass still chose law enforcement because they get off on the power differential.

  57. pentamom January 17, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    Donna, in general I agree with your views on small children and museums, but…

    “So I’m not sure what the point of taking them is.”

    So your older kids get to go? The point is frequently that it’s a family outing (or even part of a vacation) and you can’t leave the two year old home alone. 😉

  58. pentamom January 17, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    “I tend to be a bit judgmental, I have to admit, of parents who INSIST on having their children in their with them, vs in the nursery, because they can’t bear to be away from their little tike for 5 seconds–and then they expect me to be okay with the noise when the kiddos become restless.”

    If the child is being disruptive, there’s no excuse for not taking them out. If they’re not being disruptive, there’s no excuse for not welcoming them. Besides other considerations I don’t want to go into here, how are they supposed to learn to sit through a church service by never being in one?

  59. toddler toys for boys October 14, 2011 at 12:48 am #

    Again, at the same time, they assist the mental development of the child

  60. Alan August 26, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    Just because you all had a safe time with it, doesn’t mean accidents don’t happen. Its rather unfortunate to watch toddlers tumble from their fathers’ shoulders, but as a park ranger I see it happen a few times each season. Some of the children sustain injuries, and the parents carry the guilt for a long time. Those busy-bodies were busy looking out for that family. Good form, I say.


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