Babies in Restaurants

I know this debate is as old as the hills, but since the issue still arises daily, it seems to deserve another airing.

Why do people bring screaming babies to restaurants? Yes, I feel bad for parents when they are stuck at home with the children all the time and yes, they deserve a nice night out too. However, remember the old saying from high school history class (or maybe law school) when debating rights: “The right to swing your arms stops where my nose begins.”

Couldn’t that theory extend to sound? In fact it does in some instances since there is a concept of disturbing the peace. You have a right to listen to music at any audio level you like until that sounds reaches someone else’s ears at an offensive audio level, especially after a certain time of day.

Can we apply that to dining out? If a baby several tables away is screaming so loudly that someone at your own table can’t hear you, there is a problem. In contracts, it would be called “the right to quiet enjoyment” as in nothing else is interfering in your right to use the purchased item. What about the right to quiet enjoyment of a meal at a restaurant?

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