Had a visit from the Sheriff tonight

I guess I haven’t introduced myself. I’ve been lurking on the forums since about Feb and finally registered a couple of months ago. We’ve been open for a little over two years, and I really wish I knew about this place before we opened. I’ve found a lot of valuable information here and would have done a lot of things differently from the beginning.

Now on with my vent…

So we were closing up shop this evening and a deputy from the county Sheriff (we’re located outside city limits) pulls up. He comes in and looks at my wife and says that he had a call that she was carrying a baby while making pizza and the person was concerned for the child’s safety. It was more of a “I really don’t know why I’m here but I have to make the trip since someone called” type of visit.

My wife wraps our 11 month old up on her back, not just at the store, but everywhere we go. She’s done it with both of our girls and they like the comfort of being close to mommy as opposed to being stuck in a playpen or stroller or, in the case of the youngest, even with a babysitter. It’s completely safe and has been done for thousands of years all over the world. When she’s at the restaurant, we try to have enough staff were she can just run the register and visit with costumers and take care of the girls as needed. Unfortunately business is not yet strong enough were she can just stay at home, and she is still needed to help the server when we get that “everyone shows up at exactly the same time” rush. So here she is, cutting pizzas and serving customers with a baby on her back, trying to make sure they are having an enjoyable dinning experience when she’d rather be home playing with the baby. And in return she gets a visit from the Sheriff’s department because some goof hasn’t got the sense to keep their nose out of other people’s business, or at least get their facts straight before getting all offended and “concerned”. At no time was she making pizzas and most certainly at no time was our daughter even close to being in any sort of danger. I just don’t understand some people. :evil:

No babies or children behind the counter. Only employees and staff permitted behind the counter and in operational areas. Your insurance company would cancel your policy if they knew what was happening. The Department of Labor probably wouldn’t like it. Its a liability thing. Personally, I find it unprofessional.

Im gonna walk around for a while and clear my head. I hope when I get back someone tells me I’m getting punked and this thread is a joke.

My 3 year old son can walk me through the dough making process, braiding process, and can make a pizza on his own. Although the pictures show he may need a stool to reach toppings and he needs coaching about spreading sauce and cheese, the kid’s good. However, once our doors open for business, during the rare times they have to stay in the store with me, I don’t allow much rope for them to come behind the counter. No matter how much I love having them around.

This thread must be a joke, I would walk out of any business that was doing this.

I have to agree with the other posters… baby in thye kitchen? Not a good idea for a variety of reasons. Time for grandma to help out by watching the kid for a few hours if you need help during the rush and mom is the one the needs to cover it.

Starting out in business is tough and I understand the need to keep it in the family when cash is tight but I think you should try to find another way to do it.

I would feel differently about a kid in a bouncy chair in the office while mom was there paying bills or something.

i have to agree with the other people.

If i was a customer and saw this, i probably wouldn’t return.

It may be cute at first, but not professional.

My youngest son spent a lot if his pre-school years beside me at work (in my pizza days)…Back then I thought that if I did not get any complaints, it was not a problem…Years later I learned that many folks do not complain, they just go away…

Sorry Adagio but I think everyone is going to be on the same page here. Everyone understands the reasoning behind what you are doing but the safety point and the law will prevail here. You are lucky she and you did not get charged with something when the sheriff arrived. You mention your wife was just cutting pizzas and serving them. That says she is right near the oven where the pizzas are coming out of…right? Yes the child is protected from the front but what if she feel backwards, tripped, or got pushed by accident? Think of all the potential ways the child would or could be harmed if any of the above happened. Your insurance carrier will drop you if they hear or see this going on. I am 100% sure of that one. OSHA will fine you and shut you down if they knew. The sheriff that showed up might have seemed a bit bewilldered as too what action too take at that moment but I would not be surprised if the Dept of Human Services or Child Protective Services shows up to check out the complaint. We all feel for you trying to get the business going…but this is one thing you need to adjust sooner than later.

This topic actually hits close to home. If we ever get our restaurant up and running, kids are going to be a very definite part of the equation. My 8 year old has already told me that she’s the manager and she will be making up all the recipes. Yeah, I squelched that quickly. However, there will be times when the kids will be in the restaurant. I would love nothing more than for the school bus to drop off my kids (currently 8 and 4, but obviously, the 4 year old isnt in kindergarten yet) after school and hang out for a couple of hours. The plan is to build them a room, complete with TV, toys and a place to do homework. Short of locking the kids in there, I fully understand that they’re going to come ask silly questions and want to get into things. Fortunately, at 3pm, it’ll be quiet (possibly closed at first, as we’ll start doing just supper). But when “work” is being done, the kitchen is off limits.

I live in a very rural community where frankly, families run lots of businesses. 30 years ago, of course, things were much looser than they are today (I washed dishes, bussed tables, all that jazz at 7 or 8 years old).

An infant riding in a carrier on mom’s back is a simple no-no. Taking a child on deliveries is a huge no-no. You don’t leave an infant in a car and you don’t carry an infant to the door. For one thing, delivery driving is fairly dangerous (compared to working in an office). Delivery drivers get robbed, work at night, and any slip or fall could be fatal to a child strapped on the back.

Yeah, I think we all just got punked. But hey, it’s a good topic overall (kids in restaurants).

Most of the legal objections to the baby-on-the-back scenario are groundless. (OSHA can’t say sht about the child of an owner - she/he is not an employee - and Child Protective Services can’t do sht, as it is not overtly endangered). But it is still horribly unprofessional, and there are health dept type objections.

Really Smeagol8… If there was an injury to some other employee or the baby itself… OSHA would investigate and I have no doubt that fines would fly and the shut down would happen. Lets say another employee gets burnt…goes too the hospital and tells the dr’s they had two choices…either fall against the oven or knock over the employee with the BABY on their back. Also, the child is not “overtly” endangered. You have introduced a BABY into a commercial kitchen. WTF! If this were only a punked thread…but I think it is legit. I feel for the original poster and understand the need to have his wife there to work and help grow the business but they are putting that child into a dangerous situation and I also stand by what I said about CPS or DHS stepping in if they knew of the exposure the child was being placed in.

It’s good to see this from a different point of view.

Just a side note about the child’s safety and health issues - our 3 year old is never allowed into the kitchen during business hours, the baby has never been in a position where she would be able to come in contact with any equipment or food. Due to space and kitchen layout our cutting station is no where near the ovens and for that matter the ovens are built into the wall so there are no exposed hot surfaces in the kitchen other than the oven doors (helps tremendously with keeping the kitchen much cooler. The ovens are actually in separate room outside the building, when I move I’m going to find a way to keep that same design).

Up to this point we’ve pretty much had the same thoughts as Royster … our place is designed for families and children. We have a section of the dinning room blocked off with a Thomas the Train table and toys for little children and a separate small game room for older children. Of all of the comments my wife has received, not one has ever been negative. Prime example… when she made a comment about this on her facebook page, she received over 50 comments from people stating that it was absurd that someone would complain about the baby and call the sheriff. While we never thought it to be a great option, we had never had a negative comment about it until now.

Like I said, it’s good to finally get input from the other point of view.

However, I’m still pretty ticked that someone would call the sheriff and not say anything to either of us. If they were really concerned about the child’s safety, something should have been said while they were in the store.

Adagio, Like I said… I think everyone understands and yeah it was pretty crappy to call the sheriff on you. The other side… I think you have gotten off lucky so far as not too have it investigated further or worse. Not too mention there is no doubt your insurance would drop you in a second if they knew it was happening. I would take the visit as an eye-opener and take a step back too see how you can make things work without your wife in the kitchen at all with the baby.

The baby on her back is a fine way to truly bond children which must be commended especially in this day and gae where work and leisure comes before the family unit. But at work ???
Outside of the insurance issues I would be concerned about the Health aspect. There are chances the baby could puke, either over Mums back or worst case over food that is ready to serve. What about baby soiling the nappy - don’t even go there with the smell coming off the back of a staff (owner or not).
And is it really worth risking the health and well being of the child to save a few dollars in wages?
Sorry, but sometimes you have t draw the line in the sand and this is one case that says “don’t cross the line”.
I understand where you are at with not being able to afford extra staff - been there done that - but what price is your child?
All the same pretty gutless of the person who called the sherrif. Just hope they don’t live in a glass house.


I have to comment again. I have a crib and a toddler bed in my office for my 1 year old and 3 year old to take naps occasionally. It’s a great way to trim down payroll in our small store, but it’s less than ideal. If I get stuck with my youngest not wanting to nap, I gut it out and apologize to customers for having a child on my hip while I ring them up and try to spin it as “we’re what you would call a Mom 'n Pop Shop, the last of a dieing breed”. It’s a worst case scenario, but I think it’s better than paying someone else to raise my children.

At the same time, calling the Sheriff or Child Services is more than okay in my book. It’s a really awkward situation and I would never feel comfortable approaching a parent about their parenting methods, but if I had a concern about the welfare of the child, I couldn’t in good conscience let it go.