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Opposite sex locker room: age limit? - Page 3

post #41 of 69
We went to a water park last Sunday, and they had a posted rule that if you're over 2 you must use the locker room of the appropriate gender OR use the family changing room (there's ONE family changing room). I was shocked.

I'm pretty liberal about nakedness, so the 7yo thing wouldn't bother me though, unless he was acting out or anything. *shrug*. For us, naked is naked.
post #42 of 69
Originally Posted by SubliminalDarkness View Post
There were family changing rooms, but they were usually busy with people who were overly modest and wanted the privacy of an enclosed place with no one else around. I don't think that's right, but the gym had no enforcement policy when it came to those areas.
I don't think thats entirely fair. There are any number of reasons why a normal looking person might want to use a private changing room. Perhaps they have some sort of private medical issue they would prefer not to display to a locker room full of folks. Perhaps they have some sort of abuse history that makes them extremely uncomfortable changing in front of others. Maybe they have some sort of mobility issue that the private rooms can accommodate better.

My gym teacher in middle school told us a story once. We had double sided gym shirts, so when we chose teams, half would flip their shirts inside out to the other color. She used to have the girls change in the locker room, and the boys stay in the gym to change. One day, a few boys headed for their locker room. She was about to tell them they had to stay and change in the gym, when she remembered, one of the boys had a heart condition, and a huge scar down his chest. She let them go, and has let the boys choose ever since.

Personally, I have a medical condition. My doctor has been encouraging me to join the local Y and has offered to write a note to allow me to use the private change rooms if that would make me more comfortable. I'm not sure a note is actually required, I'm pretty sure they're open to anyone, but he offers anyway. I'd like to think I look pretty normal to most people.

I think, if the family locker rooms are always full, maybe its a sign they need more family locker rooms. I wouldn't assume anyones reasons for wanting to change in private.
post #43 of 69

At my gym, there is no rule.  We rely on people to use good judgement.  Of course, some boys are tall at a very young age.  I try to change privately (turning my back, etc).  I don't like when I see a boy staring at my chest, but it has happened a few times.  I certainly would prefer not to see them naked, and don't want a naked boy even seeing my underwear.  But, I understand Moms don't want them in the Men's locker room alone.

post #44 of 69
Our community center.. like a Y has large and several family changing rooms. I like that because I have been stared at by a ten year old boy in another locker room setting. I realize he was probably dragged in there by an over protective mom.. but I think that's too old. He had a definite interest in breasts. I found it disconcerting to say the least. And I don't have nudity "issues". I take my family to outdoor hot springs in the national forests here and everyone strips down in front of the sky and hot water and gorgeous scenery.
post #45 of 69

There are times that we just have to shrug and say well, that wasn't best for me at the moment but that must be what the other person needed.  I would let it go for now; if it becomes a pattern maybe ask the other mom if her son can change in a closed toilet stall.


What's silly to me is the idea that we shouldn't bring our pre-pubescent boys into a regular public ladies' room.  If you're not in the US, all toileting in public ladies' rooms is done in a lockable stall.  What EXACTLY they might see that would be inappropriate if they went in there is a great mystery.  Mascara application?  It's not like the men's rooms where they are whipping it out in the open air. 

post #46 of 69

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 View Post

... 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
post #47 of 69
Our local gym has an age limit of 5 but I don't pay any attention to it because when I am there alone with two children I am not going to send my 5 year old son into a mens locker room alone. I have no idea who is in there or what they are capable of.

He is a private person by choice, so he goes in a stall and changes by himself.

If we were to see a 7-8 year old boy child in the womans locker room I would not care. We are not offended by innocent nudity.

post #48 of 69

Other women frequently give me dirty looks when I'm in a locker room or restroom with my DD and DS. They sometimes even say things aloud to their children for me to hear... "Yes, honey, it is very strange that there's a boy in here." My DS is 3.5 y/o and DD is 1. DH works midnights which leaves me alone with the kids everyday. So, how exactly is my DS supposed to use the restroom/get changed at the pool/etc? I should send him - alone - to a room of grown, naked men? The only restroom DS goes into alone is a port a potty! And still with me at the door. DS is quite tall and mature looking, as an outsider looking in I'd place him around 5. The age limit at our gym IS 5, which is fine because when the time comes, there are family restrooms available.  I pay no mind to boys with their mothers in the women's locker room. The boys almost certainly don't want to be there  (as DS tells me EVERY time - "but Mom! I am a BOY. This is the GIRLS one!).. and the mothers almost certainly wish they had another option. But they don't. 


FWIW, we have a family history of molestation, so my DS' private parts are only for him to see and him to touch, bottom line. So he's always in a private stall when changing or using the restroom, and never visibly naked to other children. But overall, I would be more concerned to see a child 7 or 8, alone in a locker room, than a child 7 or 8, of the opposite sex with their parent.



post #49 of 69

My main concern is when you have a school-aged child in an opposite-sex change room, who might see one of his friends naked. I bet they would be embarrassed.


In my experience, 3-4 year olds don't care if they are naked or not. But my 7 y/o would be mortified to come with me in the women's dressing room, especially if one of his girl classmates could see him naked.

post #50 of 69
I don't mind 3 to 4 year olds, but I have a 10-year-old dd, and she has a right to not change in front of boys she knows from school. I live in a small town so if there's a 10-year-old boy in there, she probably knows him. There does have to be an upper limit IMO. I don't know what it is. This is a tricky issue and I do understand why moms want to bring their boys with them, but an adult man could trip in the men's room if he's in there alone too. At some point the boys belong in their own changing room.

I'm much more relaxed in bathrooms where there are private stalls anyway.
post #51 of 69
Double post
post #52 of 69


Originally Posted by zmom2010 View Post
But, IMO, 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.
I know you are worried about your DS, but in my mind the risk of what could happen to him alone in an adult male locker room is much more serious that a 7yo possibly seeing each other naked. Plus, it sounds as if the mother and the boy were being respectful with him facing the wall and all.



post #53 of 69

Luckily every pool we go to has a large family change room.  This is it's own change room that has more than enough stalls for everyone to change in.  These change rooms are reserved for anyone who has children 3 and over of the opposite sex with them.  I have 2 daughters so we have only used them a couple times when my husband was with us and we wanted to stay together.   What does irk me is a few times there have been 8-9 year old boys in the women's change room with their mom's.  I don't understand that because they have access to the family change rooms which are actually newer and better equiped. A couple times when this has happened I have seen other mom's say something.  Both times they have been mom's with daughters who look to be 10-12.  The daughters look pretty awkward about trying to change in front of a 9 year old boy.  It's too bad all pools aren't required to have an adequate family change room.  At least here there is an option... Personally I think parent's should use their best judgement.  


I do agree that 5 is very young to be going into a change room alone.  My DD is just about to turn 5 and is very independent but I could see her getting confused or lost in a change room on her own.


Not sure who said it but I agree about boys in the women's washroom.  I mean everyone is in a stall... I could care-a-less who is in there as long as they aren't in the stall with me.  :P





post #54 of 69
Huh--we always just dry off as best we can and get in the car in our damp suits with towels under us! is that weird? I've just never wanted to mess with it. Our pool does not have family locker rooms. I've never seen any signs regarding age.

I guess I should add that the pool is very close to our house so it's not like we ever have to go from the pool to another stop. Never really paused to appreciate this before!
post #55 of 69

This is a tough one. MY DD is 9 and she is MORTIFIED when she sees a boy 5 or older in the changing room. I think it's because if they're old enough to be in her school, they feel like a peer. she's had sex ed and is starting puberty, but is still little. She is very uncomfortable seeing naked boys, and is horrified to even be in the room with them when she is getting ready to change! Plus, there is often not an open family changing room or stall for her.


As a mom though, I probably would not let a young son of mine go alone into a boys locker room, no way. But it always bothers me when this happens and I wish that moms would send boys into a stall to change - or more importantly, we need to have stalls and family changing rooms in abundance.

post #56 of 69

I have boys, but I don't want a 7 year old boy in my locker room when I'm changing.  That's way too old to be changing with women. And I am modest. Fine if you're not, but I am and it's a ladies locker room.  Boys who are seven are capable of dressing themselves, so I do think the child could go to the men's locker to change.  But if there's a concern, the boy should come in his suit, and leave in his suit.  Or he could go with his mom to a ladies restroom after she checks that no one is in there and change in a stall.  I don't think it's the responsibility of every other woman and girl at the pool to have to deal with the boy. 

post #57 of 69

I wish they'd just put a bunch of stalls in places like this. I don't want to change in front of a bunch of strange women either!

post #58 of 69

I came across this problem just yesterday in a private hotel complex. We walked in and an elderly woman asked my sister if she knew the rules and pointed at her 5 year old son. She said no she didnt, and the woman said ..well he shouldnt be in here he has to go next door to the gents. This woman was fully dressed...the only person in there..and just leaving...she had no reason to worry or question us. There are 2 cubicles which my sister makes her son use. The hotel has no family sharing facility.

I would NEVER put a 5 year old into a changing room with strange men without his father or family member with him, its opening him to to anything !!! You never know who is in there !!!   Would you leave your 5 yr old son???? ok ..you may want to protect your daughter from seeing an 8 yr old naked, thats fair enough...but that 8 yr old should have been in the cubicle, you could have pointed that out to him, but id never insist anyone put a little boy in with strange men to strip naked to go swimming, and i dont think any other mother would. I think if the facility doesnt have a family room you should be able to take your child in up to primary school age, as long as they change in the cubicle. And if any woman are worried about little boys checking them out, show a bit of decorum yourselves and change in the cubicles, i can change outside the cubicle using a towel and not show an inch of skin !! (im good at that at home too) :-)

post #59 of 69

Well I guess I don't believe there are child molesters waiting around every corner in gym locker rooms, just waiting for a child changing in order to hurt them. At the gym we went to when my oldest was 5, they had a rule where 5 and over had to use the same sex locker rooms. I'm not sure if it was actually enforced, but my son had no problem going in the locker room, changing, and coming out. All the boys did this and I can't remember any of them having a problem. There was a sign posted saying that they would send in a same sex employee of the gym to supervise or w/e if you wanted.


At the gym we use currently, a ymca, they have a nice set up. I'm not sure the actual age restrictions, but they have an adult men, adult women, boy, and girl locker rooms. So 4 separate locker rooms. I guess this is so you can send your opposite sex child into their own locker room and not worry about adults? I'm not sure. Then they also have about 6 family changing rooms. Those do tend to get crowded after swim lessons. The child locker rooms only have one exit, and while roomy, are not as large and maze like as the adult ones. All 3 of my boys have used the boy changing room without a single problem, except maybe being too slow. They are 9, 6, and 4. 

post #60 of 69
Originally Posted by mkksmom View Post

To me, the solution is to have stalls with curtains or doors for people to change. That's what we have at our pool. Who knows who a little boy might encounter in a men's locker room. I only have girls, so it's easy for me, but I think it would help if there were private changing areas for those who want privacy.


A little boy would encounter men changing to get ready to go swimming...that's it. 

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