Opinion

"Planes, trains and holidays: Why we should create child-free zones"

One writer explores why we should create separate family zones

"I’m sat in The Ivy with an empty oyster shell on my head.

No, this isn’t a new fashion trend. It was thrown at me by a screaming toddler, ignoring his crooning Chanel-clad mother’s ‘soothing’ tones. Who brings a toddler to The Ivy? WHO?

Remember the old saying ‘Children should be seen and not heard’? Well that’s very much my motto.

And no I’m not a stuffy old man, all cigars and slippers.

I like to think of myself as a young Carrie Bradshaw type- investing in Jimmy Choos rather than choo choo train sets.

And restaurants aren’t the only place an expensive outing is at risk of being ruined. Holidays are another place you’re at the mercy of those little critters.

From an 8 hour plane journey plagued by the angry wails of that newborn baby, to getting caught in the crossfire of a waterfight during your romantic pool swim with your partner, it’s a minefield.

Even the daily commute isn’t sacred. And don’t get me started on wedding ceremonies blighted by a bored child’s commentary echoing around the church.

So I propose child free zones.


On trains, planes, in wedding invites and on holidays. In fact, some hotels already offer adult only resorts- and I’m not talking the seedy ones.

So why is it people look at me like some child-bashing sociopath when I suggest this?

We have smoke free zones, and mobile free zones- this seems a natural next step.

Not everyone’s dream in life is to have a white wedding, two children and a dog. Some might involve a walk-in shoe closet, a collection of bags and a wildlife sanctuary.

I don’t judge mums for their life choice, so why am I judged for mine?

My life choices don’t encroach on other people’s day to day lives, but bringing your twins to the local Italian on a Friday night does.

When Carrie’s Manolos were stolen during her umpteenth visit to a baby shower, the mum in question accused her of having the wrong priorities.


When Samantha Jones’ white suit was splattered with spaghetti at her favourite restaurant, she was 'inconsiderate for being on her mobile'.

Tolerance and consideration should go both ways.

The simple introduction of a child free carriage on a train, section of a plane and in a restaurant would do a huge amount to calm tensions and improve experiences for parents and non-parents.

In fact, even some of my parenting friends share the same view as me. They don’t want their one night off to be accompanied by the whining of someone else’s child.

And surely parents would be more comfortable surrounded by other parents, as opposed to being at the receiving end of looks-that-could-kill from nearby restaurant-goers?

Forget handbags at dawn, and baby wipes at sunset, let’s move forward in wail-free (and oyster-free) harmony."

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