I don't feel it is safe. I suppose you can debate all day whether or not our culture is unfriendly to children or whether parents have a right to eat out at a nice place sometimes. Really I think both those issues are trumped by the fact that a 3-foot tall person can be easily missed from view by someone carrying a tray of food. It's not safe for the child or for the wait person or for the other diners. We like to go out to eat as much as the next family, I'm sure, but we choose restaurants that have a high noise level and one of us takes DS out on the sidewalk if necessary until the food comes. We also bring a lot of little toys and snacks he doesn't usually get. He is 20 months old and IMO not at all developmentally ready for the concept of sitting quietly.