Harry and Isaac Crank hopping into their 'babycinos'. Picture: Michael O'Brien/The West Australian

Perth cafes are charging up to $3.50 for a child-friendly "babycino", raising parents' eyebrows and cementing the city's reputation for a high cost of living.

The caffeine-free milky brew has become popular in recent years, favoured by parents hoping to keep their child entertained while enjoying a coffee of their own.

Many cafes offer free baby- cinos but Perth punters can be stung for more than $3 a cup.

The recipe for the perfect babycino also varies. Some are little more than frothed milk, while others include chocolate and marshmallows.

Cimbalino cafe in Cottesloe topped the price list of cafes surveyed but Cimbalino said its $3.50 babycino - a miniature hot chocolate - came with a takeaway cup and a straw to prevent spills.

Vanessa Hondros, manager of the Tuck Shop Cafe in Perth, said they offered free baby- cinos to give customers a better experience.

"If people are struggling with their kids, we try to get a babycino to them as soon as we can so the parents can enjoy themselves," she said.

Coffee chain Gloria Jean's also offers free babycinos across its shops, while rival chain Dome charges $1.

Sydney mum and owner of website ellaslist.com.au, Yvette DuBourdieu, made headlines last year when she ran a Free the Babycino campaign.

Parents were encouraged to pay what they thought a babycino was worth and participating cafes donated the proceeds to charity, raising about $8000 for a children's hospital.

Ms DuBourdieu said most people opted to pay $1 or $1.50 and cafes charging more than that were in danger of ripping off parents.

Perth babycino drinkers Harry and Isaac Crank regularly accompany mother Jess to coffee shops. "They like it - they mostly like the marshmallows," she said. "I like to have a coffee and that way I'm sharing the experience."

The West Australian

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