A few years before I had my DD I spent some time working at a public pool that had no restrictions as far as age limit went for opposite sex use of changing rooms. There were no family changing rooms and the only entrance for visitors into the pool was through the changing rooms. As someone who worked there, I was very grateful for this. There were both bathroom stalls and shower stalls in each changing room, and if a mom or dad wanted to take their opposite sex child into the locker room, they could have them change in the stalls. I had a couple of moms come to me and ask what they should do because they didn't want their little boys going into the changing room themselves, and I told them to just run them to the shower stall that was the biggest and closest to the door and have them change there. It was safer for everyone.
Upthread someone mentioned that they were afraid that the kid would run through the changing room and jump into the pool when they didn't know how to swim. I actually had the opposite happen. a little boy (age 3) ran through the changing room from and booked it out the door of the facility to the parking lot. It was really scary to watch. I was behind a locked door and a chest high counter. It took me a few seconds to get out from behind the desk and chase after him. Luckily there was a long sidewalk before you reached the parking lot, and I reached him before he reached the cars. It was another five minutes or so before his mother came out.
Another time I watched a mom send her little boy (this one about 5 or 6) into the locker room. He was already in his trunks and she told him to just go through the doors and meet her on the pool side. After what felt quite awhile she came back up to the front desk and asked if her kiddo had come back out this way. When I said that he hadn't she of course wanted someone to go in and find her boy. Everyone working that shift was female. I called for a janitor, but after 10 minutes the mom is starting to freak out, so I ended up asking a patron I knew pretty well if he could go into the men's changing room and find this little boy. Turns out he got confused about the doors and was just hiding in a shower stall because he didn't know which way to go.
There was another boy (Maybe 9 or 10). I saw this family pretty regularly, and always talked with the mom and the daughter while the son took forever horsing around with the other kids who came around that time. We were getting ready to close, and they were the last ones in the lobby. The changing rooms echoed pretty loudly into the hallway, and there was no sound coming from there. The lifeguards had already taken off, and I was the last one working in the building. I went and knocked on the door, and got no response, I cracked the door and yelled and got no response. So, I rushed in there, and find him passed out against the wall in the main shower area. I called for the mom, told her to stay with him as I called paramedics and waited in the lobby with the daughter. It turns out he slipped and fell on his way to the showers, and didn't pass out until he tried to stand back up. What was unbelievable was that there must have been at least 10 other people in there when it happened and either no one saw or no one cared. I was just so glad that his head was up against the wall, because the water pools on that floor really badly.
I've probably got 10 more stories like these just from the year and a half I worked at this pool. So, I totally agree with the PPs who say it's safer just to take your kid with you and this too:
Originally Posted by zmom2010
... I think that until a kid is old enough to be home by himself, he's not old enough to go change in a locker room by himself...
Edited to add: I did also get complaints when parents did take their kids to the opposite sex's changing rooms. I reacted usually the same way as the cashier lady lady by stating that some parents were concerned about their kid's safety, and we had no rules stating age limits for children in the changing rooms because of that. If they weren't irate past the point of reasoning I'd usually tell them one of the stories about kids getting scared or hurt going in the locker rooms by themselves, and after that they "got it."
Edited by MamaInTheDesert - 4/24/12 at 9:30am