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More safety for children

In aftermath of Dros rape, popular family restaurants put children first

Following the much-publicised alleged rape of a seven-year-old at the Dros restaurant in Pretoria last month, a popular eatery has now increased security measures in its play area.
Little visitors to the Spur Steak Ranches throughout the country, are now required to wear wrist bands which detail their names and that of their parent, the parent’s phone number, plus the table number they are seated at before they can enter the play area.
Spokesman for the franchise Moshe Apleni said in addition to this, play areas were also equipped with security cameras, with the footage sometimes broadcast as live feed to various monitors in the restaurants, so parents can keep an eye on their children while they play.
Play areas are also manned by attendees who monitor the children. They have been trained to report any suspicious or irregular behaviour to the managers.
According to Apleni, while the wrist bands were originally introduced last year, they were enforced this year as an additional safety precaution.
“The wrist bands are an additional measure introduced last year to help with identification of the children in the play area,” said Apleni.
The Dispatch visited other child friendly restaurants around East London to investigate safety measures in their play areas.
Situated behind large glass windows at the back of the restaurant, children playing at the Gonubie Wimpy are always in full view of both their parents and other diners.
There is only one door leading into the area, with a play supervisor watching over the children on the weekends, when the eatery is at its busiest.
An unidentified employee said parents were often requested to sit right in front of the play area so they could see their children at all times.
“If they sit closer then it makes it easier for children to go to their parents’ table without any issues.
“We always urge parents to go with the children to the bathroom so that no child ever wanders around alone,” she said.
Jackie Burmeister, owner of Guido’s on the East London Esplanade, said the restaurant had a play room supervisor who watches over the children at any given time.
For additional safety, children from the ages of one to five have their own designated play area, a small area within the play room which has restricted access.
According to Burmeister, parents are usually seated at the section of the restaurant closest to the play area so they watch over their children.
Waiters have been trained not to allow any unaccompanied child to walk out of the restaurant.
“The play room supervisor moves around the area constantly watching over the kids. No adult without a child is allowed to just go in there either,” she said.
“But she is not just there for safety only. She also looks out for behavioural issues as well. Sometimes kids can get very boisterous in their play, and she’s there to keep an eye on them.”
Burmeister urged parents to always remain vigilant when it comes to children’s safety.
“It’s not enough to say there is a supervisor at that play area so my child must be safe.
“Go there from time to time just to check what’s happening. As staff at the restaurant we try our best to keep your children safe, but the rest is up to you,” she said...

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