Babies in Arms at Sports Grounds
Ground management are ultimately responsible for the safety of all spectators at their sports ground. The local authority is responsible for issuing a safety certificate for the ground and ensuring the agreed safety procedures are being adhered to.
Ground management are responsible for determining the safe capacity of the ground. A risk assessment is carried out to establish the safe number of people that the ground can hold. In determining that safe capacity it will consider the number of seats in the ground, the physical condition of the ground, the safety management procedures, the entry, exit and evacuation systems.
Everyone who is admitted to an all-seated sports ground must have a seat. We recognise that in the case of babies, their ‘seat’ is likely to be in a parents lap, rather than a stadium seat.
A safety certificate states the capacity of the ground which must not be exceeded. Unless otherwise stated, babies in arms count towards the total number of people in the stadium and therefore they would need a seat. In all-seater stadia, where the number of seats will match the safe capacity of the ground, this would mean a seat somewhere in the stadium would have to remain empty to ensure compliance with the capacity set in the safety certificate is not exceeded.
It is open to ground management to seek an amendment to the safety certificate, which could include a clause to allow a specific number of babies on laps. This would follow a ground specific risk assessment and agreement between the certifying authority and ground management.
Ultimately the decision on whether or not to allow babies to sit on parents laps, and whether it is necessary to leave a vacant seat for each baby is a matter to be risk assessed and agreed between the certifying authority and ground management.
Ticketing policies, including whether to charge for babies to attend an event, are determined by the event organisers.