WASHINGTON - No strollers near the Capitol. No tents on the National Mall. None of that Silly String on the parade route.
That's just a sample of the items forbidden from President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration for security reasons. And while many people say the inconvenience is a small price to pay to witness the swearing-in of the nation's first African American president, others are scratching their heads, trying to figure out how they will sit, snack, carry diapers, or transport tired tots.
Some older people are backing out of their inaugural plans, partly because of a no-chair rule for the parade route. Parenting blogs are abuzz with complaints about the less-than-child-friendly restrictions. Thermoses, coolers and backpacks are out at both the Capitol and the parade route.
"Of course, they're not going to say, 'no children,' " said Sunny Chanel, a San Francisco-based contributor to Babble.com, a parenting Web site. "But they're definitely not making it easy for parents with smaller children to go."
The tightest rules are reserved for the lucky 240,000 ticket-holders, who get to sit closest to the Jan. 20 swearing-in ceremony on the West Front of the Capitol. There are understandable prohibitions on weapons and pepper spray. But you also cannot carry an umbrella. And do not think about holding up any "Yes We Did" signs - posters also are not allowed.
It could get tricky as people congregate along the parade route, where many items allowed on the Mall will be off-limits. That list includes bicycles, backpacks, aerosols (which could include Silly String), coolers, thermal containers and chairs.
Signs or placards can be brought to the parade - but only if they are made of cardboard, poster board or cloth and are not more than 3 feet by 20 feet.
Antron Johnson, who is organizing an inauguration trip with three busloads of Obama supporters from Georgia, said he had had about a dozen people, mostly elderly, drop out after learning about the parade's no-chair policy.
"It's truly scaring people," Johnson said. "The news is becoming more and more bleak."