Child Safety Organization Demands Malls Keep Kids Off Santa's Lap


New child protection services could end the tradition of sitting on Santa’s lap and taking Christmas pictures at Australian malls, thanks to one child abuse prevention organization.

According to Hetty Johnson, spokesperson for Bravehearts, the Australia-based anti-child abuse program has demanded that shopping malls update their protection policies by forbidding children to sit on Santa’s lap. Instead, Johnson suggested that children could make present requests at Santa’s side.

“The directive would be for children to stand beside Santa, unless parents or children request to sit on his knee,” Johnson said. “Shopping centers have duty of care to protect children on premises.”

A Sydney Children’s Hospital employee, who delivers singing telegrams as Santa, said that he understands why parents might be concerned over children sitting on a stranger’s lap. The unidentified employee noted that children are sometimes frightened by the act.

Charmaine Ohl, who used to work as a photographer for a Christmas experience company, said she grew up sitting on Santa’s lap and never had a bad experience. She argued that background checks are performed on all actors and none have a criminal history. In fact, anyone who works with a minor in Australia is required to pass a background check, as well as have a license to work with children.

Deputy Director of the Australian Center for Child Protection Leah Bromfield further argued that parents should assume all actors have passed the minimum legal standard for working with children, and that it’s unnecessary for child services to become involved.

“Child protection don't need to get involved, it's up to parents to decide what is best for their child,” Bromfield said. “Parent's need to be able to make decisions, and choices are being taken away in a lot of different situations.”

In response to opposition, Johnson said the organization didn’t want to turn Santa into an enemy, but simply protect the country’s children.

Source: DailyMail / Photo Credit: Flickr


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