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May 30, 2006



you should be prepared to dump your Instant Messenger account if you can't stop any harassment that's coming through it. Remember... it's just a screen name. You can start a new one, add your friends back, and feel safer knowing that someone can't follow you to the new account. But you have to protect the new account if this happens! Go through all the information on this page to make sure you set up a secure chat program so you feel safe!


My nephew is 7. When we go out, he still goes in with me. It's not my call. According to my sister, he has to go with someone.

We talked and she has decided to let him go into Men's restrooms with only one stall/toilet. That way he gets some independence.

After hearing about the kids who were killed in bathrooms, I don't think my sister is paranoid anymore. I realize there is a time for kids to grow up. But it's not my call. She's the mom and I have to abide by her rules with him. She is pretty freaked out about him doing anything alone. She says she would feel more comfortable with him wearing an alarm if he goes into the Men's room alone.


I was just verbally attacked because I allowed my son to stand next to the wall near the door as i went to the bathroom. He is only nine and I did not want him now or anytime soon out of my sight. this woman first attacked him then me because i allowed him to enter a 'woman's bathroom! She brought in a security guard, male, into the bathroom because of all of this. She claimed to be a teacher!
Was I wrong?


I have almost 14 year old boy/girl twins. When they were about 8 or 9 I started letting my son use the men's room by himself because we got such filty looks from women in the ladies rooms, and because he started being uncomfortable as the only boy in line. But the rule is, and has always been, that he must SING LOUDLY all the time he's in there. I don't care if people think he's nuts, if he's singing, I know he's safe. If the singing pauses, I'd be in there in a flash screaming bloody murder. But nothing has ever happened. Now, at almost 14, he's getting mortified to sing, but I don't care. Either he sings, or he goes in with me. Period.

The interesting thing about this is, because he sings so loudly, all the other men in the bathroom come careening out of there as soon as he enters. I think they must think he's got some serious issues. I know it is weird, but it works for me.

As for my daughter, we tend to pee together, and when I have to pee and she doesn't, she still comes in with me and the rule is, I must see her feet at all time. So she stands in front of the door and I'm a happy camper.


I was approached in a restroom (Target) when I was 12. The approacher was a man, of at least 40, with his privates hanging out. We were in the ladies room. Overprotective of my kids...you bet. Better safe than sorry!


my kids are 7 and 5. i do not let them go to the public restroom alone, or with a buddy, unless that buddy is me or their dad. my son is completely mortified that he has to come into the womens' room with me, and has been known to hold for extended periods of time to avoid the embarrassment!


Isn't it sad that we have to worry about this? I tell my mom all the time "it isn't the same world in which you raised me". That said, safety is a relative thing. We do our best, but I am grateful that for the most part, my kids are safe.

We don't live in a country where war is fought in our streets (Iraq, etc). I don't live in the inner city, where a two year old was shot after the guy had killed her mother in front of her or another toddler was shot in a drive-by just in front of her residence. My kids aren't confronted daily with drugs. My kids have clean water, and don't face dying of diahrrea. My kids have food, and won't die of starvation in front of me.

I think, put in perspective, some moms would love to have only the bathrooms to worry about. Yes, it is a problem, a horrible one, but at least we can be watchful. We can teach them about strangers and do our best. Even so, safety is not something you can guarantee.


I live in southern CA. NO ONE lets their kids go to the public restroom by themselves until they are at least teenage. The latest was the kid who was abused and murdered in the men's bathroom while a grownup waited at the door for him to finish during a family picnic at a park.

MY four year old is already fighting it though, it will be a long battle, I can tell.


Some stores now have family restrooms this needs to be something that is required in all public places. At least that is what I think.


I find baby-proofing is not as important as toddler proofing, toddler-proofing is not as important as "I am a big boy/girl now" proofing. One day, you don't have to worry about the outlet covers anymore, you just have to worry about the bookcase being used as a ladder.


in terms of safety, when you look at it logically, you should not take your kids in the car- that is probably the biggest risk we take everyday.
i think it is more of an emotional issue than a logical issue though.
perhaps we need to feel some sense of control- real or perceived.


My two boys are still in diapers and I had yet to think about the bathroom issue until this morning. So, it seems to me that it would be easier for me to bring them into the ladies where most of the "inapproriate for viewing" activity takes place behind stall doors. Don't most men's restrooms have urinals and one or two FILTHY sit downs? I guess once the kids get to be 8 or so, they might be embarrassed. Why is this anyway?? Everyone goes to the bathroom if they are lucky. Why do we have to separate the genders??? Just put stalls in every restroom. That is private. Anyway...just thinking. Thanks for the post.

Anna McKenna

We all choose our battles. There is no way to completely keep out children safe so we do what makes us feel like good parents. Whether it be a foot in the bathroom door, a diet free of pesticides, not tv, no playdates at houses with pools or guns... If only we had the energy to fight the good fight on all fronts!


You have now given me a new thing to worry about. If my daughter, age 5, is out with my husband and has to go, he will let her go in the women's room (in a store or restaurant) while he waits outside. If she wasn't out in 3 minutes, he would certainly go in after her. It has never concerned me before. I would feel very differently if I had a boy, for the simple fact that men commit most of the sexual crimes. But are you saying that men hide out in the women's rooms waiting for kids to prey on? I'm sure it has happened, but it is just not something I've ever thought about before, and I'm a pretty cautious parent. Should my husband start taking her into the men's room?


If my husband had his way, no one would ever leave our house. But the boys are 13 now and we're trying to figure out how that will work because we don't have enough room for them and their families, too, when they grow up and marry.

So, now they can go around the block on their bikes. Baby steps.


We're just moving into the babygate and drawer-catch stage, and I know that our house is still far from babysafe and it will catch me by surprise. Hopefully we will have all the major nasties out of the way (mental note - remove personal items from bedside cabinet!!!).

The number of times I've used a men's restroom in clubs and pubs when desperate - I have therefore no problems with accompanying my son when he's older (and too old for the ladies). I'll wait til it's empty but if the men who want to go in have a problem with me standing there, they can deal with that themselves.

I feel very lucky that I had a very 'free' childhood - my sister and I commuted into central London on public transport alone when we were 9&7. We are both now very street-smart adults as a result. This was over 20 years ago, and I just can't see that happening now. Has the world changed, or is our awareness heightened by more sensationalist news?


I have to say we use the buddy system here. If my husband isn't around I will only let the boys use the bathroom if one of their brothers is with them. It is so hard to know what to do to keep them safe. When it is just me and one of the boys I stand outside the door and we always discuss what to do before they go in. Every. single. time.


There is no longer a fail-proof way to keep your kids safe as they get older. Personally, my daughter will not go to the restroom alone until she's 15. By then, she'll be too big to take without a scene! That's my math.


I don't remember at what age my mother started letting me go anywhere on my own. I do know that even when I got my drivers license I had to have my 2 little sisters with me to be able to go anwhere!

My son is only 5 months old and the joke is that he already wants to leave me because he "bucks" so much when I hold him. I don't know when I'll let him go anywhere by himself. Thankfully I have a VERY long time before I have to make that decision. But just remember that EVERY parent that has ever lost a child went through the "what-ifs" and "should-haves". When it comes to safety, that is the time to be the parent instead of the friend...they are counting on us to protect them whether they realize it or not.
Good post... it has made me think (and worry) about the future with my son.

Great Day

Never, ever let your children use a restroom by themselves. No matter how old they are.

My mother works for felony probation and parol. We live in a small "safe" town. You wouldn't believe all the sexual cases that come in taking place in a restroom with a minor.

You think church bathrooms are safe? think again! about 15% of these incedents take place in church restrooms.

Most large stores have separate handicap restrooms that only one person can go into at a time. They are also big enough for several people. Use them when available.


I have two boys (11 and 10) and although I NOW let them use the bathroom alone, you bet your ass I have one foot in the door the entire time. They are too old to go to the women's restrooms and many times I'm out alone with the boys.

Their rules are:
1) If anyone touches you, even on your shoulder, you scream and run out. You will not hurt an adult's feelings if you're mistaken.

2) I'm going to be in the doorway. I do not care if other men are not happy about this. (I tend to wait until it's emptier though, I'm somewhat respectful.)

Robin P

Whenever Lillianna questions one of my decisions,I tell her,"I have to live with whatever decision I make. If I let you convince me that it's ok for you to play outside alone and something happens to you,it will be MY fault and I will have to live with that for the rest of my life!" (We live in a huge apt complex and 80% of the parents accompany their kids outside. It's just not safe to let them play alone.)

We had this same battle at her 8 year checkup. She is tall enough but doesn't weigh enough to be out of a booster seat in the car.

The truth is,baby gates and outlet covers WERE the easiest years ever! Now it's tough.

As for going to a public restroom alonge......I say by age 14,if she is with a friend, I would ok that....maybe. It's tough to say.

Just when you feel safe,predators attack.

A few years back,a baby was taken from her home at night. The garage door was unlocked and that's how they got in. The parents didn't lock it because they lived in a SAFE neighborhood...ya..right!


A 12 year old girl was raped in a supermarket restroom in the middle of the day here in the UK a few months back.

So - I'd agree with you...

But, as the mother of a son, there comes an age when he is embarrassed to be taken into the women's restroom, and when other users don't like an older boy in there. But I'd be even less welcome if I accompanied him to the men's room.

And vice versa for fathers and daughters.

So, what does a parent do when s/he is out alone with an 'older' child of the opposite gender? I don't believe that even a 12 year old is really old enough to be able to resist a determined predator.

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