More Public Places Are Designating Kid-Free Zones

Ah, the familiar sounds of summer: children free to roam, run and roar.

But not everyone is having fun.

"You come to relax, and there's a 2-year-old kid next to you or maybe five, six, seven of them, depending on how many families are around, and it's definitely a little frustrating," said Marta Baginska, who was sunning herself at a Lake Michigan beach in Illinois.

She wasn't the only adult there growing tired of noise and disturbances.

"They don't really care what they run across," said 65-year-old Bob Lundeen. "They run across you, your blanket, whatever you're on."

After listening to complaints for years, the town of Lake Forest took action this summer and designated 25 percent of its beach a kids-free zone, leaving the adults to sunbathe in peace and quiet.

Kids Invading Adults-Only Places

Although beaches have always been considered child-friendly destinations, experts say that nowadays children are being seen and heard in places that always seemed off limits -- theaters, fancy nail salons, first-class airplane cabins.

"I think that there has been a shift in terms of this generation of parents," said parenting expert Ann Pleshette Murphy. "Reality is, kids haven't changed that much, but they are being taken to places that, in my day in my childhood, we were never taken to. They are around a lot more."

So efforts to promote kid-free zones are gaining popularity.

The Wishbone restaurant in Chicago has an adults-only room, giving diners a break from the somewhat chaotic family side of the eatery.

"Some people don't want to be around squalling kids," said restaurant patron Guy Nickson.

But singling out kids can sometimes cause a stir. In a nearby suburb, when café owner Dan McCauley displayed a sign reading "Children of all ages have to behave and use their indoor voices," it made national headlines, and angered some neighbors.

"The way he's handled it is extremely offensive," said one irate neighbor. "If you don't want children, that's great, put a sign that says 'No children allowed,' not this benign sign that is subjective to what you consider to be positive behavior."

With many parents across the country juggling work and home life, they don't often have much choice about bringing the children if they want to get out of the house.

"I think there also has to be the understanding of how difficult it is to be a parent these days, how difficult it is to find child care," Murphy said.

Still, whether they have the most mild-mannered of children or the most rambunctious, many parents are willing to admit they too savor a kid-free zone every now and again.