The parents brought their son, 10, and daughter, 8, to Ikea on Sunday, and decided to bring the kids to the play area, they told KSL-TV.
When their mom tried to sign the kids into the Smaland play area, she said workers told her they couldn’t allow her son inside.
“(The employee) said, ‘Well, she’ll pass [pointing to the daughter], but I don’t know if he will [pointing to her son],'” she said.
Her son uses a wheelchair and a reverse walker to help him get around, which shouldn’t have been a problem, his mom said, adding that he isn’t medically fragile and can transfer out of his wheelchair to crawl around and play.
After talking to a manager, the IKEA worker told the mom that her son wouldn’t be allowed in, because they couldn’t provide “one-on-one care,” she said. Though she explained that she didn’t need that kind of attention, just some help getting out of his wheelchair, she says the employee didn’t budge. When his parents offered to take him out of the chair themselves, they say workers told them it’s against IKEA policy to allow parents in the play area.
Instead, the family left in tears, and said they won’t return.
“They’re obviously making us feel unwelcome there, so I don’t want to go where I’m not welcome,” the dad told the station.
IKEA issued the following statement to KSL-TV regarding the incident, which doesn’t really address what happened in this case:
IKEA wants to make shopping fun and safe for the many people; and this includes the children’s play areas in each of our stores. Providing a safe and secure environment is of upmost importance so that all individuals and families can thoroughly enjoy the IKEA shopping experience.
As all IKEA co-workers are carefully screened, it’s our policy that only authorized IKEA co-workers are allowed in the Smaland/playroom. This policy protects the well-being and safety of all children in Smaland. However, there are situations in which a parent is granted access to retrieve their child.
As for Smaland requirements, IKEA has chosen to use toilet training and height as a criterion for admission in an effort to ensure safety and security.*
*Note children with disabilities are exempt from the toilet training requirement and may enter with a diaper or pull-up.