Waterparks and the Breast-Feeding Controversy

Here is an issue that, for park operators in the US, has all the ingredients of a made-for-TV news story - for all the wrong reasons.

By Greg Van Gompel

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If you’re not prepared ahead of time with your public relations person and your legal counsel, you may have bought yourself a “feeding” frenzy for all the news outlets in your area. Big Splash Water Park in Tulsa was the latest property to get hit with this issue, as evidenced in this June 15 story from News Channel 8 (KTUL).  

 

Speaking from first-hand experience, most, if not all of your outside assistance (i.e. your legal and P.R. help) will be frozen if you call them on the spot, should this issue arise. So how do you get prepared? First of all, there are a number of competing legal and societal boundaries that accompany this issue. Legally, you want to pursue whether your state has a statute on breast-feeding. You need to know what does it say, what doesn’t it say and what it allows and how it may have been judicially interpreted.

Park operators may wish to look at some of the comments posted by the general public to these types of news stories to get a feel for the strongly polarized views that people have, for pointers on what to address should the situation occur on their property. It may be wishful thinking to imagine it won’t come at your facility, for the Tulsa incident is the second one I am personally aware of occurring in the past 8 months.

Blooloop Note:  From a UK perspective we were really suprised by this item (and by the comments to the news story!).  Breastfeeding is actively promoted by the UK Government because it is medically proven to be best for babies, in fact by coincidence this week is National Breastfeeding Awareness Week.  A mother breastfeeding in a park in the UK wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.  Any thoughts?