Dumping Children At Shops And Beaches On School Holidays: A Disturbing New Australian Trend

Dumping children at shops and beaches is becoming a very common occurrence during school holidays in Australia, and some retailers have been forced to place signs on their windows advising parents that it’s unacceptable for them to leave their children unattended. Yahoo! 7 News reports that dumping children at shopping centers and beaches while parents attend to their shopping, or even go for a coffee, has some businesses reaching breaking point.

It seems that pet stores are a common target for parents, and children are being left in these stores to be entertained by the animals, forcing pet store staff to become pseudo-babysitters for children as young as two-years-old. Some store owners in Sydney have had signs painted on their windows warning parents not to drop their children off.

“Other parents come in and say, ‘Do you mind watching our child while we pop down to the shops?’ and we have to say, ‘No, it’s very busy and we can’t do that.'”

More dangerously, many parents use the beach as free vacation care, and lifeguards have complained of children wandering the beaches unattended, with parents apparently not realizing the danger they’re placing their children in. They leave their children between the flags with the assumption that they’re in good hands!

And, of course, there are always those savvy business people who see an opportunity and take it! Some stores have seen the demand and turned their stores into Drop N Shop casual childcare centers. Monkey Mania is prepared to accept responsibility for children and, for $26.50, parents can drop their children off for three hours in a “play pit.”

“We put a yellow vest on the children that are being cared for. They are very visible. It works well for everyone.”

However, this is very much the exception and, for most store owners, the message to parents is loud and clear.

“Our staff aren’t babysitters.”

News Australia reported that a recycling facility in Canberra has almost been destroyed by children who’ve been left there by their parents.

By the end of school holidays, some parents are at the end of their tether, and it seems that some of these frustrated parents have discovered a way to entertain their children. It’s actually quite easy: simply take your children into a store and leave them there! Well, not permanently, but long enough to do your shopping or have a much-needed coffee break.

The Green Shed is a recycling facility in Canberra, and last week business co-owner Charlie Bigg-Wither had simply had enough. Bigg-Wither posted some shocking photos on Facebook and detailed the horrendous mess caused by children who’ve either been dumped in his facility or been allowed to cause havoc even while the parents are in attendance.

“The Green Shed is not a child care center. We love kids as much as the next person — in fact between our staff we have a gazillion of them — BUT we are asking (pleading) that during the busiest time of year people who visit the sheds with their children try to keep an eye on them and not let them destroy everything in sight just because they can.”

It seems that Bigg-Wither must have hit a nerve, because the comments on his social media post suggest that it’s quite common for people to leave their children unattended at all types of businesses, including animal shelters, liquor stores, pharmacies, games stores, and department stores.

“The sheds are not a place to leave your kids while you go grocery shopping! (This happens). We love to see kids having a good time but it really is just a matter of respect that they clean up after themselves and put those toys, games, and bikes back where they were.”

One Facebook comment was from a woman who works in a liquor retail outlet, saying that people leave their children in her store while doing their shopping.

“We are to the point now that we have a once call over the PA and then it’s over to the police.”

Another comment was from a woman who works at the RSPCA.

“I had a woman drop her kids off at the RSPCA Canberra for a few hours. It took me a while to realize. “Her [the customer] response, ‘What’s the problem? I was only gone three hours and you’re not busy.'”

It seems that it’s not only parents who’ll be happy to see children go back to school — retailers can also breathe a sigh of relief, and start cleaning up!

[Featured Image by Romrodphoto/Shutterstock]