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January 15th, 2014
12:00 AM ET

Should restaurants ban babies?

The chef at the high-end Chicago restaurant Alinea is asking if babies should be banned, after a couple brought their 8-month-old and a tantrum ensued. His question has sparked a bit of an uproar. Christiane Amanpour, Dan Savage, Margaret Hoover, and Frank Bruni tackle the “baby ban” issue.

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Filed under: AC360 Later • Christiane Amanpour • Dan Savage • Frank Bruni • Margaret Hoover
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Billy John

    Children should be allowed, otherwise how will they ever learn? But, there needs to be a clear understanding by the management with the parents, that at the FIRST disruption they will be escorted from the restaurant and not allowed back. Parents with children need to take their kids to "kid friendly" restaurants first until the children learn the rudiments. But, if I'm paying high dollar for a meal and there's an unruly kid or kids making me miserable, I will complain, I will make a scene, and I will refuse to pay if it's bad enough. The best business decision for the higher end places is either to ban kids outright, or after the first or possibly second infraction.

    January 21, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
  2. Ann

    Address the parents not the child as he wasn't asked if he/she wanted to be born to parents that ignore the child's bad behavior. The PARENTS want to go out to eat without any concerns for the child ( who is overtired, not well or just spoiled ) nor do they care about other diners. It is all about the PARENTS. Find one of the following :a child friendly resaurant, a babysitter , child psychologist or counseling for the two of you.

    January 16, 2014 at 8:57 am |
  3. Sarah Hall

    Banning is a bit extreme. There certainly could be a visible policy, per restaurant discretion, about expectation for behavior ( adult and/or child)... We did take our young children out of the restaurant when the situation required, so other restaurant patrons could enjoy their meal... And, we also learned to take them to "child friendly places", which made the dinner work for everyone.... One simple policy that covers children acting up, patrons using cell phones, overly loud patrons, etc... If you are disrupting others, you need to take it outside.... Banning children does seem unreasonable.

    January 16, 2014 at 7:11 am |
  4. Harry

    The best policy on children in restaurants I had ever seen was White Fence Farm's owner Bob Hastert in Romeoville Illinois seating patrons with children in a "family dining room". If you had children in your party you sat and ate with other families with children. Hastert was a smart and practical business man a lot of his customers were middle aged to older folks so why subject them to crying kids over your quiet dinner?

    Mr. Hastert passed away some years ago the business at the restaurant isn't what it used to be so Robert Jr. Who took over the restaurant scraped that policy. When you go in there now you ask the hostess to seat you as far away as possible from the "family".

    January 16, 2014 at 3:56 am |
  5. Llora Beth Le Fevre

    Seriously?!?! 1st off 8 month old children are too young for what you are calling a "tantrum". Tantrums come during toddler phase when they understand more than they can express. An 8 month old fussy behavior is do to hunger, tired, illness or needing changed. No babies should be banded from restaurants. It's NOT the child's fault!!! Parents on the other hand should be wise and considerate first to the child and then their surroundings. Take the child to the lobby, for a walk, if the restroom has a lounge area take them there. Fix the fussiness and if it isn't "fixable" go home! Common sense.

    January 15, 2014 at 11:56 pm |
  6. Courtley

    This is an amazing panel...I wish they were discussing a better question.

    January 15, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
  7. kathy

    my husband and I were always complimented on how well our children behaved even at a young age. It all depends on how you bring them up!

    January 15, 2014 at 2:18 pm |
  8. Stanley Price

    If the person(s) can afford the dinner they certainly can afford a baby sitter!..And the resturant should consider a kids night on a week or month for parents who want their kids to experience the ultimate dining experience...

    January 15, 2014 at 2:14 pm |
  9. Silke

    Really Anderson Cooper, german parents get drunk in the beergardens while their kids play!?! I happen to be german and I can tell you, there's an enormous difference between americans and germans drinking alcohol. The parents I grew up around had their social beer or two with their "Brotzeit" and never went overboard!

    January 15, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
  10. Lisa

    Restaurants should ban PARENTS who refuse to take their screaming babies OUTSIDE!

    January 15, 2014 at 1:12 pm |

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