As most of our clients will know by now from our website, emails, phone calls and social media, we are no longer allowing children on the show floor or in the sessions at Natural Products East and West. Specifically, no attendees under the age of 16 will be allowed to attend and no exhibitor staff under the age of 18 will be allowed to work the show.
As show director, I'd like to take a moment to address recent concerns we've received regarding this new policy.
This decision was not made lightly and was influenced by the overwhelming amount of feedback we receive each year from attendees and exhibitors asking us to address children on the show floor. For the past two years, we implemented a one child per parent policy and gave those kids badges with their parents’ cell phone numbers on them in case they became lost. While this helped some with the situation, we ultimately still dealt with several lost children or children who found themselves in dangerous situations while on the show floor. This ultimately created a negative experience for all involved in our expos.
Considering the comments we receive every year from our attendee and exhibitor surveys, and with the endorsement of our exhibitor advisory board, we made the decision to disallow kids on the show floor. While we realize this creates some logistical challenges for parents, we are offering very affordable daycare onsite and a nursing room in the convention center. And, depending on participation this year, we will look at creating a kids-focused area that allows them to engage with products and education in 2013.
Please understand that this decision was not made in a vacuum. We greatly understand how this new policy may affect your planning for Expo West and Expo East. However, given the need to ensure the safety of children and to promote a business–to-business environment for attendees and exhibitors, we feel this is the right decision. While, the response from everyone in our industry has brought up a wide breadth of opinions, ultimately feedback has been very positive and supportive, and we thank you for that!
Please let us know how you feel in the comments below. We appreciate your feedback and read every comment we receive, whether through Twitter, our website or a phone call.