Eat out with infants at your infants’ peril

I have a 12-month-old baby. Now that she can sit and eat somewhat civilized on her own, we’ve been taking her out to lunch with the grownups more often. It’s great fun, she enjoys people watching tremendously and we enjoy feeding her different things and finding out what she likes and what she doesn’t like.

However, there’s one thing that really, really bugs me about taking her to restaurants.

It seems as though almost all restaurants completely avoid maintaining their high chairs. You know, it shouldn’t be that f***ing hard to replace broken safety straps, but apparently it is. I think we have about a 50/50 chance on getting a defective (and unsafe) high chair for her when we ask for one.

Earlier today we went for lunch to a bbq restaurant in Manhattan. Great place, good food, very nice service. But the high chairs were goddamn death traps. The first one had the usual safety strap problems…the plastic clips were completely shot, so we asked for another one. The replacement wasn’t any better, the safety strap was broken the same way as the first one. Whatever, I’ll just tie it in a tight knot and be done with I thought. And it worked, she was strapped on the seat safely. It would’ve been ok, too, if that was all that was wrong with the high chair.

Towards the end of our meal, she started getting a little restless, like she usually does when she’s had her food and she’s bored with playing with the napkins and utensils. So she started turning about in the high chair. What happened next caught us completely by surprise. The high chair’s left side railing broke under her weight, and she lurched forward about to fall down head first 3 feet onto the ground.

Thankfully the knotted strap held and she was held in her seat.

I took another look at the high chair, and the side railing was completely busted. There was a crack on both ends of it, and the railing itself had come completely off and fallen to the ground. There was no way in hell our baby broke it. It was already broken when the chair was given to us.

This is the last time I will be polite about broken high chairs. From now on, I’ll inspect every single one of them with a goddamn microscope to find out how badly the restaurant has been failing to maintain them. And I’ll be damned if I ever let my daughter sit in a broken one again.

I am getting increasingly pissed when writing this. These fuckers are putting my daughter and every other child sitting on their crappy chairs in danger. With the amount of broken chairs I see, it’s absolutely clear restaurants, by and large, don’t really give a fuck about their smallest and most vulnerable customers’ safety.


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