Good Points: It’s easy to find. Well sign posted from the moment you enter the shopping centre. Clean change bench with three change bays. Nappy disposal bins at change bench. Separate sink, soap and paper towel for baby change table and food prep bench. Auto-slide push button door. One wall mounted activity centre. Extra powerpoints at food prep bench. Separate waste paper/general rubbish bin. Adult and child size toilets. Locking toilet door. Toilet door big enough to fit a pram.
Bad Points: Very bare. Plastic school chairs for feeding. No privacy in feeding area. No side tables. No additional powerpoints. Difficult to navigate feeding area with a pram. Snug fit in main door for a double side-by-side pram. No microwave or bottle warmer. Lid not sitting properly on the sanitary bin. Tap in the toilet sink is too hard to activate for little kids.
Centro Seven Hills is a nice little shopping centre. All on ground level, easy parking, and no steps to navigate with a pram. It’s just perfect for parents with prams (although I didn’t see any dedicated parents with prams parking spaces. Maybe they are in the undercover parking area?) and it seems like there’s different fun activities for kids during school holidays. On this trip there was a fabulous jumping castle in the middle of the shopping centre for kids. It cost $2 per child for about a 10-15min session, just the thing to help little ones burn off excess energy. It was there for a week during the Easter holidays, and proved very popular with all children (especially mine!). Although it wasn’t a fun task trying to get my little one off the castle when it was time to go. The joys of trying to reason/bribe a toddler.
There’s two parent rooms at Centro Seven Hills. One down the Coles end, and the other up the Woolworths end. The best thing is both are incredibly easy to find. That’s often the biggest hassle for parents, so it’s good to find parent rooms that are well sign posted and a cinch to get to.
This first parent room is at the Coles end of the shopping centre. From the moment you walk into the centre, there’s signs hanging from the ceiling directing you to all the main areas. From parent rooms to Australia post, there’s clear and regular signage so you can’t get lost.
To get to this parent room we headed left past Gloria Jeans and then right down the hallway, between the hairdresser and nail salon. We walked all the way to then end of the hall and found the doorway on the right. It’s a frosted glass auto-slide push button door – my favourite way to start a review. On this occasion, sadly, it ended up being the best feature of the whole parent room.
The doorway is going to be a snug fit for a double side-by-side pram, but once inside there’s loads of room. The website for Centro Seven Hills describes the parent rooms as being ‘pleasant’. Well if quiet and bland equal pleasant, then I guess the description is spot on. It’s a very stark, clinical white room with terrible feeding areas.
The feeding area is disgusting. It’s clean, for sure, but that’s probably because nobody wants to use it. It’s promoted as being a ‘private feeding area’ but it’s not private AT ALL!! First up, there’s no chance of fitting anything more than an umbrella stroller in there as the corners are stupidly tight to get around in order to eventually reach the chairs. Which leads me to the next ridiculous thing – the chairs!!!!!! What a joke!!! Some local school is missing a couple of chairs, because there are two hard plastic school chairs here instead. I remember how uncomfortable and plain old thoughtless!! I don’t know of any parent at all who would want to sit on one of these chairs these things were back when I was at school. I cannot imagine how any parent would be able to comfortably spend any length of time sitting on these to feed a baby. It’s just disgusting. And ‘private’???? It’s not at all private!!!!! There’s not even a single lousy curtain to give privacy, let alone a door. I don’t know how an open area with a plastic chair can be classed as ‘private’. Seriously, is there some parent room template these companies use to just copy-paste a blurb in to fill a gap in their websites. How about checking the information on the website for Centro is actually representative of your facilities?!!!
At least they haven’t said they provide a microwave, because there isn’t one. Inside the room, along the left wall, is an empty bench with a sink, soap unit, paper towel unit and additional powerpoints. Maybe there was a microwave here at some point, but I’m thinking all signs lead to No! So if you need to warm up a bottle or baby food, try your luck with one of the coffee shops in the centre.
Now in the far right side of the room is the change bench and it actually meets my expectations. Yay!! Something that’s finally decent. What a relief. It’s not stunning or anything, but it’s clean, functional and has all the essentials. There’s a couple of change bays, with the sink and soap dispenser at the end of the bench. The nappy disposal bins are placed at either end of the bench, but they’d be much better placed in the cupboards underneath the bays.
Opposite the change bench is a regular open top rubbish bin for waste other than nappies. And just next to this is an old looking wall mounted activity centre.
Finally, there’s one more adequate element to this room which is the toilets. The toilet room is big enough to fit a pram, has both adult and child size toilets, and the door can be locked shut. Maybe this is where the centre expects parents to feed if they want privacy (I am so mad about that!!!!). It’s not been overly well maintained, with the lid half falling off the sanitary bin. The tap is one of those smash-the-knob-down which produces water for about 2 seconds before needing another whack. These are hard enough for grown ups to use let alone little children.
I had pretty good hopes for this Parent Room, but I’m very sad to report it’s unimpressive. It’s definitely better than what Blacktown Hospital has to offer just up the road, but it’s not anywhere near as good as it could and should be. The least Centro should do is make sure its Parent Rooms actually match the description they offer on the website. Big fat FAIL on that part!!!