Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Useful Tool For Parents Of Young Children: Kid-Friendly Places

Have you ever decided to go to a cafe, maybe somewhere new, then discovered when your newborn's diaper exploded that there's no change table in their bathroom?  Or maybe you wanted to grab a quick bite at a restaurant with a friend or two when you were all hungry, only to discover that they don't have even one single high chair for your squirmy one-year-old? Going out to anywhere new with little kids requires an advance reconnaissance mission, I find, so I end up going to the same places again & again when I know they're kid-friendly.

When Melissa Nunes' friend had a baby, they too found themselves in the dark trying to find places to go. Her family lived back East & she didn't have any friends with babies yet. Melissa was inspired to help out after an outing one day:

"One time I was hanging out with her and a new mom friend she had made who insisted on showing us the nursing lounge in the Granville Island Public Market. It was a quite nice private room with a couple of chairs, a sink, & a change table. They fed their babies away from the hustle & bustle of the rest of the market & shared information about other kid-friendly places that they had discovered around the city, & I thought, someone should put this on a map!”

I'm sure a lot of us have had ideas like that, but Melissa has the know-how to make it happen. As a geographic information analyst & programmer, she has experience with developing mapping applications like the Cycle Vancouver website (back before Google Maps offered cycling directions). She created Kid-Friendly Places, an interactive map of places that are good to go with children, in her spare time.

Kid Friendly Places shows cafes, restaurants, accommodations, stores, activities, parks & other places that are rated as child-friendly by members. The application shows spots that are good for breastfeeding, where the change tables are & other details that you need to know when out on the town with a baby or a toddler.

Melissa lives in East Vancouver in the Dickens neighbourhood, near me, so that's where a lot of the information is. So far. But that's where you come in, my dear readers. Melissa isn't making any money from the site & has done all the work on her own in between full-time contracts--Kid-Friendly Places needs you. Anyone can sign up for free & enter information on the map, so you can share your knowledge of your neighbourhood. You can also up-vote places that already exist on the map, or add notes about your experience there.

Please visit Kid-Friendly Places & add a place or two that you know, & share this with your friends!

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  1. This is AMAZING!! What a fantastic idea!! There are even some places already on the map of Charlotte, NC! I'm going to add a few more and tell my friends. Thanks so much!

    1. Add away! The more people that do, the better it works, right? :)


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