Family travel: Readers respond to 'toddler discrimination'

2016-06-20 11:01 - Selene Brophy
Post a comment 0

Cape Town – It’s no secret some parents find the Toddler Discrimination struggle is real when travelling and dining out.

The heated debate was stoked recently by a piece written by Washington Post journalist Whitney Pipkin, when an Airbnb host, after noticing that she would be checking in with her daughter who is just two months shy of two, told Pipkin and her husband that they had better be “excessively diligent”. Airbnb’s discrimination clause makes it illegal for a host to refuse a reservation because of age - but Pipkin says it is but one instance of hospitality establishments subtly sending messages that children under a certain age are 'not always welcome'.

Pipkin responded on Twitter to Traveller24’s piece on the issue saying “Thanks so much for this reaction to my piece. Glad for the perspective of a 2-boy mom!”

According to Pipkin's tweet responses to her initial piece have not all been kind.

We also asked you what your thoughts were on this and if the adage 'children be seen and not heard?' always applies. As well as how parents have managed the transition of singledom to family travel and outings, if at all - still want to share your view, email

Here are a few of the choice response we’ve received, take a look.

‘Good manners are not negotiable’

Louise Swift wrote, “My experience as a host at our self-catering place is that kids are always welcome but parents must remember that you must teach your children respect for every public places. You as a family must always remember that you are not at home. Good manners are not negotiable.”

‘Know what they want, when they want it and how’

Angelique Julies, from Grahamstown wrote, “I have 3 kids... One is 5 years, girl is 3 years and last boy is 1 year old... I get a lot of moments in shops, malls or wherever I go... People would look at me and offer help or look at me and ask me how I cope...

"I simply tell them I have control over my kids because I teach them independence... They know how to help themselves (older 2) and so my attention is on my little boy. I love my kids!

"I don't go to places that don’t allow my kids to be kids.... We play together a lot... And so I know what they want... When they want it and how...

"When I don't feel comfortable being at a place... Where... Let's say... A sign for No climbing... But there's a big wall (designed for climbing)...or toys in a room... But the room is locked or "out of order" PERMANENTLY OR”Just for recreation" MY FEELING....? Get going!!! They don't want them kids there....

"I ALSO THINK some companies want to create quality time alone without kids...if u have... But please.... Make it easier on us as parents to decide a venue!”

‘Shocking lack of input and discipline by parents’

Kobus Badenhorst from Pretoria wrote, “I have two daughters, luckily both way past the where can we take them / will they be allowed stage by now. From a very early age my wife and I made sure they were well behaved and considerate to other people in any establishment.

"We were also upset when we were shown the door due to the presence of our youngsters, but as time went by we realized the problem that establishments face are not the kids per se, but the shocking lack of input and discipline shown by some parents. I even saw a young boy, around 4 years old, running around a restaurant hitting the waiters in their private area - with no reprimand from the parents!

"I believe if a finger is to be pointed, it should be towards parents who seem to think their brats / little monsters can do what they will in public, and that the rest of us, including establishments, must just live with it.”

‘Don’t go to restaurants if you cannot control your child’

William H Harper, from Centurion wrote, ”What utter bull! If you cannot control your child, don't go to a restaurant!! Why ruin every single other patron's evening/outing? 

“We are creating a world overflowing with kids with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement! Don't over compensate as a parent because you are operating from guilt because of the hours you work.  Rather stay at home, spend time with your kid and teach them manners through proper discipline!”  

‘Having age restriction is not discrimination’  

Michael Lawton from Cape Town wrote,” I would never like to think that having age restriction is a discrimination (think movies).

"I do think that restaurants and hotels etc, places where adults are paying to have a certain level of service peace and quiet, should not allow their paying guests to be affected by children. I know the argument that will come that parents of kids have every right to bring their kids but it's a bit like the smoking rule.

"Smoke if you want but don't let it affect me because then you're infringing on my space.”

What to read next on Traveller24

Toddler discrimination - the struggle is real 

SA school holidays: ALL the fun you need to know about

Your survival guide to #NAF2016