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Please read for your children's safety.

927 Views 11 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  supercrunch
I copied and pasted my response from another thread but wanted to make sure as many moms could see it as possible. Thanks, Jenny.

Please never send your son into a men's restroom alone. I have heard this tragic happening before but it happened a few years back in my little town. Dad let son (not sure of age) go to the potty by himself, his son was taking a while so dad went to get him and found his son in the act of being molested by a man. The dad caught the man and he was prosecuted. I am so glad because so many sexual assault victims predators are not caught in the act and the children often go for years and into adulthood before anyone knows. Also, a predator that has had consequences helps so much in the healing proccess for those abused.
I know this is just to discusting to even think about but there are perverts who look for ways to rape innocent boys and girls. Sorry to be the voice of doom but as fellow mom's I thought you want to know.
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You know to say, "Please never send your son into a men's restroom alone" is probably alarminst of me. Sorry Mamas. Just thought I would pass on something I was very glad to be informed about myself.
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Child molestation isn't limited to men sexually assaulting young boys. The very same thing can (and I'm sure has) happen sending your daughter into the women's restroom alone. I think the moral of the story is to never let ANY child of yours go alone ANYWHERE if it can be avoided (not just bathrooms).
As a younger child this starts with you escorting your dc, then the "buddy up/go in groups" rule as they start to get older.
Personally, I can't see myself ever being a 'wait-outside' kind of parent while my dc is still so young, although I have been told numerous times I am too overprotective (whatever that means
). I always have an eagle eye on my dc, it's part of my job as a mother.
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At some point in life a boy is going to have to use the restroom alone. What age would that be? I just can't see making any potential son I have go into the woman's restroom at 12. (and from what I recall of my brothers I don't think they would have been keen on my mom following them in there)

So what age is right? 8? older? what if the child is not comforable in a woman's bathroom and there is no family bathroom?

Frankly, I am more concerned about school bathrooms where often older students are left unsupervised with younger students and a parent is not waiting outside of the door.

What are the odds that an older child is going to be molested in a bathroom if the parent is outside the door and gives them under 2 minutes before coming in?

Maybe I am odd but there are MANY times in a child's life that a potential molestor could "get" them regardless of the many precautions parents take. Sadly most children are molested by family members or people entrusted to take care of them, I spend most of my time monitering the people who have the most access to my daughter.

I am not discounting this story, it is tragic and I am glad the father caught the man. (honestly I can't believe the perpetrator is still alive because if I caught someone doing that to my child...) I just don't know how to best handle this situation. I guess I would instruct my son that I was outside the door, he had 2 minutes or I was definately checking out the situation and teach him to yell loudly if anything is odd. My friends had their children sing loudly while going to the bathroom so the parents would know they were ok, but once again how long is a kid going to do that without resisting?

Honestly, my biggest fear is not what to do if my potential son had to go to the bathroom but what to do if I had to use the restroom. Do I just leave him outside the door? At what age is that ok?
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It is important to be aware of this possibility, just as it is important to be aware that you should avoid using a telephone during a thunderstorm because if a telephone pole near you gets struck by lightning you might get electrocuted. The risk of either thing happening is small, but it is a risk, and we can adjust our behavior to minimize that risk.

However, it's also important for a child to learn to take care of himself and to feel confident in his ability to protect himself. These skills are learned gradually, and different kids develop them at different rates. But the statement, "Please never send your son into a men's restroom alone." doesn't leave room for his EVER being able to take care of himself. Will I still have to accompany him to the restroom when he's 64 years old?

Before I let my son go alone into a public restroom, my partner and I will teach him how to behave in restrooms (which includes not only safety and sanitary skills but also politeness) and how to relate to strangers. When I do let him go in alone, at first it will be only in locations where the restrooms are small and the situation does not feel dangerous. It will be a long, long time before I let him into that skanky basement restroom in Market East Station in Philadelphia! (The women's there is the scariest restroom I have ever had the misfortune to visit. And it is not the only restroom splattered with blood that I've seen.) But eventually, when he's old enough to take a train trip alone, I will have to accept the possibility that he'll be stricken with diarrhea when that is the closest restroom. Our job as parents is to make sure he's ready for it.

Lula is right that molestation is MUCH more likely to happen in other situations. That doesn't mean we don't need to worry about restrooms, just that we shouldn't spend too much time worrying about them when other situations are bigger concerns.

Honestly, my biggest fear is not what to do if my potential son had to go to the bathroom but what to do if I had to use the restroom.
Wow, that is your BIGGEST fear?! Nuclear annihilation doesn't worry you as much as that?
No, I know you're exaggerating. If you need to go and there's nobody else with you, bring him in with you until he reaches a point where you can rely on him to stay put outside the stall and not lick the wall or pull out all the paper towels or...and you'll be able to hear if anyone approaches him, so he'll be safe. When he's old enough to resist going into the ladies' room, find a place outside the ladies' room where he can wait and insist that he stay right there. If you are in a really scary place, try to hold it until you get to a less scary one; for example, if you are in the skanky part of Market East, go to the food court where the restrooms are nicer and there are more people around just in case something happens--your son will scream and someone will intervene or at least call 911.

It is scary to think of all the things that can happen to a child. The trick is to balance safety precautions with teaching skills for independent living. When I was 12 and my brother was 9 we took an airplane trip without our parents, which included changing planes in an airport where (being different sexes) we each went alone into a huge but crowded restroom. I'm sure our parents were biting their nails waiting to hear from our grandparents that we'd arrived safely! We did.
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I am not in any way minimizing what happened to this little boy or the very real danger associated with public bathrooms. But--I do think it's interesting which risks people choose to be concerned about. Sexual molestation gets a lot of press and parents routinely take precautions on this with their children that when I was a kid would have been considered extremely over-protective. Now I don't have anything to back this up, but I would *guess* that a child is much more in danger from the germ cesspools of public bathrooms than from potential molesters.

Perhaps I'm negligent to let my kids go into public bathrooms, or swim in private swimming pools, or ride in the front seat of the car. Or perhaps I'm over-protective for keeping them out of school and not feeding them packaged foods and teaching them to wash with anti-bacterial soap and keeping them away from my weird brother-in-law. But in any case, it's interesting what people choose to be concerned about or afraid of.
My biggest fear is not the bathroom situation- no worries- I have other paranoias to give equal time to. LOL

today dd (nearly 5 decided that it was time to start using the public restrooms alone, far we have agreed that she may use the single room restrooms alone if she does not lock the door and if I am right outside.

OT: I feel good that she refuses to use electric hand-dryers...bacteria breeding grounds for sure. (in my head at least, ah my other bathroom fears surface)

Oh yeh, and the airplane thing she is already lobbying to go visit her Nana and Poppa alone...yikes!
There was a local news story in my area about a mom who was raped in the mall's family restroom. She went in to change a diaper and was attacked. The part that has haunted me so badly was that she was holding her baby in her arms through the rape.

Always be careful, of your children AND yourself. That story came out right after I gave birth to DD1 a few years ago. I think of it EVERY time I'm at that mall.
After posting about the airport restrooms, I found myself wondering if my brother had been coached about how to stay safe there, so when we were talking on the phone last night I asked him. He said no, but: "I think there are two important things that made me different from some boys. One, I had a dad who took me places a lot, so I was accustomed to men's rooms from an early age. Two, I went to school, so by age 9 I had years of experience using public restrooms where something bad could happen." He said that elementary school boys often choose the restroom as the place for fighting or harrassment because most teachers are female so they aren't supervising the restroom. I never thought of that! He said it made him accustomed to being on his guard in a restroom. Sad but useful!

Those hand-dryers do spread bacteria, not because it grows inside the dryer but because the air intake often is located near the floor. One of my high school classmates did a science fair project in which he let hand-dryers blow on petri dishes and grew disgusting things from them.
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I'm always on guard in restrooms. There was a woman murdered in a rest area rest room in my area a few years back. It scared the heck out of me! I think nothing of taking my 3 yr old DS into the ladies room with me (if there is not a family restroom available). I'm a single mom, there is no dad to take him into the men's room. I plan on taking him into the ladies room for years and years. I think age 8 might be a good age for him to go into the men's room alone, but we'll see when we get there.
Several years ago in our area a 5 and 6 year old boy were sent into a mall bathroom together by their mother...when they didn't come out within a short amount of time, the mom went in after them and found one boy being molested while the other was standing right there watching

and a few years after that there were 2 cases of children being molested in the bathrooms at toys r us (one incident happened at each of 2 locations). One of the victims was a 7 year old girl and I don't remember the age or gender of the other.

I use the "family restrooms" everywhere that I can. Our local malls and community centers have them. I am not sure at what age I will let them go in on their own, but It probably won't be before 8 or 9.

I was just so surprised because you would think that these kids would have been old enough to run screaming...but child predators are exactly that...predators. They know just what to say and do to get kids right where they want them
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