The U.K.’s first “parent-friendly” vending machine has been launched at Sheffield’s Meadowhall Shopping Centre, stocked with all the essentials parents need for a stress-free shopping trip with baby in tow.
Best of all everything in the machine — nappies, baby wipes, age-appropriate toys, snacks and drinks — is free of charge. It’s part of a wider parent-led initiative being adopted by Meadowhall following several focus groups and a survey of parents.
When asked what would ruin a shopping trip, 8 out of 10 parents said a fear of toddler tantrums could spoil their day out and 76 out of the 100 questioned said losing items such as teddies, toys and dummies would also cause stress.
“We want Meadowhall to be a family-friendly environment but we know there are things we can do better. We have listened to our customers to find out what they both want and need and these are the first two initiatives we’re rolling out as a result,” said Meadowhall’s director Darren Pearce.
As well as the vending machine, the centre is also launching a “Mini & Me” club, for parents, grandparents and childminders to get together over monthly breakfast meetings. Each meeting will feature a guest speaker or theme, covering topics such as baby massage and baby and toddler first aid. Tumble Tots will be there to run physical play sessions to keep the kids amused while the parents get to know each other.
Sounds good, right? Let’s hope it’s a huge success at Meadowhall and other U.K. shopping centres follow suit.
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