PIPERS By The Lake owner Jamie Winton has defended asking parents to keep children seated in his venue.
Mr Winton said he had witnessed staff and other patrons trip over children who were not seated in the Wendouree Parade restaurant, which he said was not marketed to families with young children.
His response follows a Facebook post on the Ballarat Mums site which criticised a Pipers staff member for recently asking four children to be seated in high chairs.
The post said the children, aged between one and two, were seated either on the ground or on their parent's laps.
But Mr Winton said he had often been forced to refund customers unhappy with children's behaviour around them and had seen toddlers running through the restaurant holding sharp knives and forks or playing with the front door, which could have caused an injury.
"Parents should be responsible for their children in venues like this. They should be sitting in their seats," Mr Winton said.
"We've had staff trip over kids, we've had elderly people trip over kids and kids have nearly had hot drinks poured all over them.
"We have big problems with kids, mainly because a minority of parents don't want to take any responsibility for their kids and how they behave."
Mr Winton said his venue did have an outdoor area, which would allow for children to play outside safely on the grass.
"It (the Facebook post) gives a really unbalanced view.
"Businesses are just trying to protect their business. We have 70,000 people through here a year and it is just the minority of parents."
'Our children were far from in the way'
THE Facebook post that started the controversy criticised Pipers By The Lake staff for asking for four children to be seated in high chairs.
The anonymous post on the Ballarat Mums page said the children, aged one to two, were all sitting either on the floor or on their mother's knees and playing happily.
"A lady working there came over and asked if we wanted high chairs for them, when we said no she said they had a 'policy' that children had to remain in high chairs so they were not crawling around and getting under their feet," the posting read.
"There were literally two other tables of people and our children were far from in the way.
"Can they actually ask you to keep your children confined to a high chair? Fair enough if they are being disruptive but they were not doing anything."
The post attracted dozens of comments, with most supporting the author.
Carly Mills-Blunden said: "Would like them to try and keep an 18-month-old sit still in a high chair full time."
Megan Summerhayes agreed: "They'd love it if I put my son in a high chair – he would scream the place down!"
However, a few backed the restaurant instead.
Holli Bourke-Finn wrote: "I think you'd have a different opinion if a staff member tripped and spilled boiling hot coffee on your child."
Rachel Zuidland added: "You have to choose age and stage appropriate places. Their policy isn't the problem. It's to keep everyone safe."
The Courier posted a message on the Ballarat Mums site but the author did not respond to a request to contact us.