Recently, we went to Chuck E. Cheese for my niece’s 5th birthday. This was our first Chuck E. Cheese adventure, and, surprisingly it went better than what I was expecting. My biggest complaint about the whole ordeal is their “child check.” Realistically, the concept seems like a great idea, but when you have some teenage girl manning the counter that is more interested in the boy inside the Chuck E. Cheese costume than standing by the door, I’m a bit concerned.
First of all, although I am sure that Chuck E. Cheese is a safer place than most for kids, that does not mean that parents should let their three year old little girl wonder all over the place by herself. That was an exact situation that happened while we were there and that little girl ended up falling off a carousel horse face first. She wasn’t hurt badly, but the tears began to flow and crying ensued. Places like Chuck E. Cheese are the perfect opportunity for child molesters and rapists to get a hold of your child, especially if you are just letting your 3 year old little girl run around by herself. Your child doesn’t have to leave the premises for harm to come to him or her. Someone could take them to the bathroom or into the back corner and do as they wished, then leave the child with the games once they are done. Many kids aren’t taught about “stranger danger” these days, when it seems like family places as such would be the perfect opportunity to do so. For instance, the little girl that was crying let me pick her up and wonder around with her until we found her parents. Me, a complete stranger, could have easily taken her from the restaurant in a heart beat, something that I would never to with a stranger’s child but it would have been that easy. She was even snuggled up to me while she cried with her hurting face as if I could have been her mother.
Any person that walks in with a child is required to have a stamp on their hand that matches the stamp that is on their child. Even my cousin whom is 16 was required to get a matching stamp to the one of my aunt because she was under 18. This seems well and good, but in my case specifically, when they place the stamp on his car seat instead of on him directly and he is being walked around the place to see everything, how is that going to be helpful? If someone was really interested in stealing my child, they would not be running back to grab his car seat to put him in.
Another instance of how Chuck E. Cheese’s child check does not work is this. I have a big family, a large fraction of which were at the birthday party. Two of my aunts brought their children with them. One set of my cousins are 19 and 16. The 19 year old did not have to have a stamp. The other set of my cousins are 13, 10, and 8. Although this was an instance in which this was legitimately okay, it could have been horribly wrong, none the less, this is how it went.
My aunt took her 8 year old nephew outside to put him in the car. The girl working the child check station stopped them and asked to check their stamps. My aunt told her that this was not her kid, but she was simply taking him to the car for his mother since she had her hands full. Legitimately, this was the situation. The lady asked him if it were okay that he go with her, which he said yes. Now, what would have happened if the two of them were complete strangers to each other but she had told him that if he did not say it was okay to take him to the lady that she would go back in and hurt the rest of his family? The simple matter of the fact was that she looked as if she were forcibly removing him, by grabbing his wrist and pulling him (all a staged act) but they were allowed to leave together none the less.
Now, my aunt’s two children who were 19 and 16- one with a stamp the other without. Were told to try to leave together after we were all outside. Although they are brother and sister from the same parents, they look nothing alike. They were allowed to walk out together without any questioning or even a second look from the teenage girl that was supposed to be doing the child check. Keep in mind, had she of been doing her job, she would have known that one of them came with no child but was now leaving with one.
I am pretty sure that it is not just me, but this system seems extremely flawed. Regardless of whether you know the kid, you should not be able to leave with them under any circumstance unless their parent is standing right next to you.