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Mall play area rant.

Written on October 5, 2006 by Kevin.

We have been taking Rylan to the mall frequently over the past couple of months so that he could get plenty of walking time. As mentioned in the past, we feel that this has helped him significantly. He now roams the area by himself at his own pace.

The play are is designated for children under 42" tall but my wife and I are always commenting on the fact that there are older children as well. Some of these kids were atleast 10-13 years old, definitely surpassing the maximum height. These kids likely weighting more than 3 times Rylan's weight running around and jumping off of things. Call it old age kicking in but this is a disaster waiting to happen. My wife and I are always confused on how this type of play area would be fun for such older kids. We don't understand that the parents themselves don't understand that the area was made for babies/toddlers and not their over-energized kids.

Yesterday, we took Rylan back to the mall during the afternoon and we were surprised at how many children where there. One thing we noticed was that there were numerous kids ranging from 10-13 running around. These kids just didn't fit in here and I noticed multiple other people starring at them likely thinking the same thing.

I decided to stand up for all of the little kiddos and when one of the girls tried to push me out of the way, I decided to stand firm and let her run into me at which time I told her that this play area was not for her and that she was taller than the sign says she can be. She acknowledged me and said she knew. Soon after, her and her friends took off making noise in other parts of the mall. I felt a bit of accomplishment getting her to leave and being the only parent willing to stand up for my kid's safety. Why did all of the other parents just sit there? More importantly is why were those kids not in school at the time?

Rylan finished up our mall trip with alot of interaction with other kids. Normally he sits back as other kids come up to him but this last time he was chasing after other kids. He saw a young girl holding a sippy cup and went after it. The look on her face was priceless.

Comments

What is the difference between allowing Rylan to play in a germ-infested mall play area and placing him in a shopping cart without a BuggyBagg?

Written by Aly on Oct 5, 2006

Bloody meat.

When at the play area, he is too distracted playing instead of putting things in his mouth. Sitting in a shopping cart limits him and he ends up touching things and then into his mouth.

The mall area is cleaned multiple times per day, during times that we have been there. What are the odds that the shopping carts have ever been cleaned?

The play area is similar to daycare except we get to help control his exposure to things such as a sick kid.

Written by Kevin on Oct 5, 2006

Way to go Dad! I would've done the same thing, but before that I would've asks the general crowd of onlooking parents if they owned any of the older ones.

I had an incident when my son, Joe was about four. We were at the local grammar school's playground when a couple of kids probably 14-16 began climbing and basically just going wild.

I was helping my (at the time) two year old daughter, Bridget get on the slide when, in the blink of an eye, I watched as my son was catapulted into the air like a ragdoll by way of seesaw. He was sitting on the one end and launched when one of the older kids, without hesitation (or time for me to intervene) leapt off the fulcrum bar and onto the other end.

As I watched my son land headfirst onto the seesaw handle and ultimately the ground, I had to keep reminding myself to not strangle the impulsive little bastard who may have just killed my son.

Don't sit around and wait for a disaster to happen, go with your gut and protect your child (even if the conventional wisdom is complacent to the situation).

Written by phil on Oct 10, 2006

Phil, that is definitely the type of situation that I was trying to prevent. The older children run by him and obviously don't know where he is going to walk. A quick knee to the face certainly isn't going to lead to a good situation.

Written by Kevin on Oct 10, 2006

I'm a chicken I'd just call mall security or something, not for the parents to get into trouble, but so I wouldn't be the one telling them they shouldn't be there. I also think like most indoor private company play places the malls should have someone monitoring the area because it's clear that parents aren't abiding by the rules which is setting a negative example for their older children and potentially endangering the 'age appropriate' children for the area.

I feel sorry for parents with older kids who want to play or need to burn energy with no real place in the mall to do so when babies have a play place. It's always that way, many outdoor parks are just for big kids, indoor ones are for little kids. There usually isn't a place for both age ranges even though there are a ton of different age ranges in families. As a bit of an extreme example of birth control failure/multiple age range siblings: I have siblings that I am 1 and 2 years apart from to 16 and 17 years apart from.

Written by Jessica on Oct 11, 2006

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