Whether you're opening a new family restaurant or renovating an existing one, never forget that safety is paramount. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of compiling a menu and choosing paint colours, but you have to remember that you're doing all this for the patrons, not yourself. Parents care more about the safety and security of their children than they do about the décor or even the food. If your restaurant isn't safe for little ones, you'll alienate your entire target market. Here are 3 ways to make your restaurant a safe and happy place for kids and parents alike.

Hire a Round-the-Clock Cleaner

You can't settle for having your restaurant cleaned once a day. Any customers can spill drinks or food, but children are even more likely to spill things given their developing coordination skills. They're also likely to toddle -- or even run -- around the restaurant floor. If a spill isn't cleaned up immediately, you'll have an injured child and furious parents on your hands before you know it. Make sure you have at least one person in your restaurant whose main job is to monitor for spills, clean them quickly, and place 'wet floor' signs over the drying area. If your restaurant is large and very busy, you may need a whole team to clean up round-the-clock.

Buy Sturdy High Chairs

If you're a family restaurant, having high chairs is a must. Customers will be angry if they sit down to eat with their young child only to find out that you have nowhere for the baby or toddler to sit. However, don't opt for a bulk buy of flimsy plastic chairs to save money. It's important that your high chairs are sturdy and heavy enough to withstand knocks. Remember that children may be walking around your restaurant, and if one of them trips and pulls down a high chair, both the child and the baby in the chair could be seriously injured. In addition, high chairs should have locking straps that prevent a baby or toddler from climbing or falling out. Sanitation is also an important part of safety, and restaurant high chairs have been known to harbour 147 bacteria per square centimetre if not adequately cleaned. Make sure each chair is thoroughly disinfected with baby-safe products after every use.

Mark Your Car Park

Did you know that 51 Australian children (aged 0 to 14) were seriously injured by car collisions in parking lots between 2002 and 2010? While you may already have speed limit signs installed, have you thought about making sure your car park and the road leading up to it are clearly marked? Many parents are unaware of how dangerous a car park can be for children, given the low speeds cars usually travel at when parking. Fresh, professional road line marking can point out hazards to parents and children alike. It's a good idea to clearly mark the areas around parking spaces with brightly coloured lines (red is a great choice) so even young children who cannot read can be told to avoid those spaces. You can also mark out safe walking paths where cars don't go so everyone can move safely around the facility. If you're not solely a family restaurant but you get families in often, consider marking some parking spaces as 'Parent and Child Only' -- these spaces should be close to the entrance, so little ones can get to the restaurant quickly and safety. The road lines will also help drivers see where they're going, minimising the chances of them driving into a child. It's important that these markings are clearly visible. So even if you already have lines, it's a good idea to get worn ones re-marked.