Play centre's ban on sugar drinks for diabetic kids

6 February 2014  A PLAY centre banned mums from bringing in sugary drinks for their diabetic children.
Lucy Marsh was told she couldn’t take in a carton of apple juice for her five-year-old son Luke, who has type one diabetes and wears an insulin pump 24 hours a day.  
He needs to have sugary drinks on hand in case he goes into hypoglycaemia, a medical emergency which requires immediate treatment and which can be brought on by physical activity.
Staff at Play Factore, at Trafford Park, Greater Manchester, said she’d have to buy another drink for Luke or give him the juice outside the premises – claiming it was a health and safety issue.
Friends Jane Fletcher, with her seven-year-old son Sam, and Joanne Taylor, mum of 10-year-old Josh, were also told they could not enter with drinks brought from home.
Ms Marsh, 28, of Whalley Road, Bury, Greater Manchester, said: “This drink is medical equipment and is no different from insulin. It is the tried-and-tested process we have used to raise Luke’s blood sugar levels for the past two years and contains the exact amount of carbohydrate needed.
“We have visited restaurants, cinemas, soft play areas and arenas and there has never been a problem.
“I explained that Luke is registered disabled and that the attitude of Play Factore staff was obstructing access, a breach of the Disability Act.
“I received no apology, no understanding, no change of attitude and was left appalled and dumfounded at Play Factore’s ignorance towards children with disabilities.
“Would they deny access to an asthma sufferer or someone in a wheelchair? Because that it was it comes down to, discrimination.
“I hope to achieve policy changes within the Play Factore company and some extra training about disabilities for the staff who work there.”
The three mums, who run a support group for children in Bury with type one diabetes, have now lodged a formal complaint with Play Factore.
Ms Fletcher added: “All these young children are classed as disabled and they may face life-threatening consequences if immediate treatment is not given.”
Play Factore defended its decision to ban customer-purchased food and drink and said it offers a wide range of products to cater to serious dietary requirements.
Alex Riley, deputy general manager at Play Factore, said: “Our receptionist explained to Ms Marsh the food and drinks policy and the offering of equivalent drinks available.
“The customer recognised this was a purchase issue, not a discrimination issue and paid to enter Play Factore under these terms and conditions.
“At Play Factore we gladly appreciate customer feedback. However, on this occasion, we feel barraged by social media posts including misinformation that implies our operation is discriminating when we have actively facilitated to these serious dietary requirements with alternative food and drink.
“We appreciate that the customer is a supporter of those suffering with diabetes and we fully respect her opinions.”
Karen Addington, chief executive of type one diabetes charity JDRF, said: “More than 400,000 people, including 29,000 children, live with type one diabetes in the UK alone.
“Management of the condition is a challenge each and every day and when this is not appreciated and understood, it can put extra pressure on those with the condition and their families.”