Thoondal: Banning kids in restaurants? Who’s next?

CTYA’s Blog has started a new feature every Thursday called ‘Thoondal’, meaning inspiration, stimulation, or inducement. Through these weekly features, the author hopes to inspire you, stimulate your senses and induce you to think deeply about the topics she addresses and finally, to use those thoughts to inspire many more wonderful youth like you.

Written By: Shayanika Suresh


For years now, there has been an ongoing discussion in the media about restaurants banning kids in restaurants, with a few American restaurants implementing a ‘child ban’ after certain hours. In Canada, however, it seems the matter has been brought to an undeclared end.

Taylor’s Wine and Food Bar, in Ottawa, hit the headlines a couple of years ago when it refused to allow a four-month-old baby to attend the mother’s birthday party, claiming that it had a no ‘small children’ policy. The baby’s mother, Trieste Rathwell, made a Human Rights complaint against the resto-bar, which was brought to a conclusion in 2012, with a settlement. Taylor’s Wine and Food Bar went on to announce that it has revoked its child ban policy and that it will continue to welcome children if their parents wish to bring them along. What a relief to the parents who frequent Taylor’s.

Restaurants in the U.S., on the other hand, have continued with their bans, as is clear with a recent decision by a restaurant in Houston, to ban kids from its premises after 7 p.m. It is clear from the media that it is the notion of discrimination that makes this subject so controversial, especially in the midst of arguments supporting the ban.

First, is it healthy for kids to be taken to resto-bars such as Taylor’s Wine and Food Bar, where alcoholic beverages are sold? The argument is that kids shouldn’t be in those places anyway, so maybe the ban is a good thing. But, shouldn’t that be a decision that the parents of the respective children make? Maybe restaurants can stay open late into the night, so that those who wish to dine in ‘peace’ can choose to come at a later time, when kids are less likely to be in the restaurant, and more likely to be fast asleep at home?

Secondly, do having kids present limit the enjoyment of adults who visit the premises? It is argued that kids are ‘noisy’, ‘unruly’ and, when not controlled properly by their parents, are likely to push things over and ‘make a mess’. Again, isn’t it better to consider cautioning parents to take care of their children when attending such restaurants? And, aren’t there many ‘adult-only’ premises, such as bars and clubs, that already entertain a ‘no kids’ policy?

Finally, the key question, if restaurants are allowed to ban children, because kids can be ‘noisy’, ‘unruly’ and ‘extremely hard to control’, then what about other groups of people who may have various physical and mental challenges that allow them to be described in the same manner, but who by definition are adults? Would there eventually be a ban to keep them away from such restaurants too? Does allowing a ‘no kids’ policy to be applied by restaurants influence the owners to consider applying other policies to discriminate more groups of people? The Canadian courts seem to think so and perhaps they are right.

About the Author:

Shayanika Suresh is a Law Graduate currently working on establishing her legal career. She is also a passionate writer and has self-published a collection of short stories, “Lips no longer sealed”. Shayanika’s passion to raise awareness of various social issues that affect individuals and society as a whole is evident in her work, leaving a message for the reader to take home.

Check out other work by Shayanika!

Thoondal: Unhealthy Blame





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