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Do you let your son use public restrooms alone?
February 15, 2013 at 1:07 PM

7 Is WAY Too Young to Use a Highway Rest Stop Bathroom Alone

Posted by Mary Fischer on February 15, 2013 

men's roomOk, I have a confession to make. My son is almost 7 years old, and I still bring him into the ladies room with me when we're out in public and he needs to go to the bathroom. I just don't feel right about letting him wander into the men's room -- particularly if we're traveling.

Since we live in Connecticut and have so many wonderful destinations and attractions nearby in surrounding states, we take a ton of road trips. And while we do our best to go away as a family whenever we can, there have been a few occasions where it's been just me and my son on the road.

And even though he's more than old enough to understand that men and women typically use separate restrooms for a reason, you couldn't pay me enough money to send him into a highway rest stop men's bathroom all by himself. Not even if I were standing guard right outside the door.

Maybe I'm overprotective. Maybe I'm really neurotic. Or maybe I read so many horror stories about horrible people who do horrible things to innocent kids and it makes me a bit more nervous than other moms with boys the same age.

Whatever the case, I know on the off chance that something did happen to him in a rest stop bathroom, I'd never be able to forgive myself for allowing him to enter it alone. And aside from something bad happening, simply thinking about him standing there doing his business with a bunch of random dudes around really just gives me the heebie jeebies.

And you know what? I may never be ready to let him go in there alone. Honestly, I can't imagine feeling any different five years from now, even though he'll be almost 12 years old at that point. In fact, the idea of sending him in as a pre-pubescent boy almost terrifies me even more than sending him in alone now.

I guess once he enters his teens, maybe I'll be ok with it?

Gah. The poor kid. He'll probably start hating family road trips simply because I'm such an embarrassment to him.

What age do you think is appropriate for letting a kid use a highway rest stop alone?


  • Mommyto2LilMen
    February 15, 2013 at 2:17 PM
    Depends on where we are at and how busy it is. I don't like too, but they don't like going in the girls room either.
  • steviechick
    February 15, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    By the time my DD was 12 I let her go into a public restroom all by herself.  However, I stood watch guard outside the restroom.   She needed to learn to be by herself (sort of) in public areas.  Restrooms are famous for pedafilers (both men and women).  I did want my DD to feel she could venture into a 20 room stall by herself though.  When she was 7 she always went with me into the restroom.  I never left her in the car by herself even if I locked her in.  If I had a boy I would have done the same thing.  I think the cut-off age for boys entering female bathrooms is at least by the age of 10 or 11.  They are mature enough to go into the men's room by themselves.

  • GoldenLinds
    February 15, 2013 at 2:25 PM
    My youngest brother is 11 and I think it was only last year that he started going in by himself. Even now though I don't think hed think twice about using a womens room.
  • lucasmadre
    February 15, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    Never :) My son is 8 and he still comes in with me, I just don't like the idea of him in that situation. I am not above opening a men's room door to make sure no one is in there before I let him go by himself. I wish that it wasn't like that but it is...

  • pianokisses
    February 15, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Nope he will be in the womens bathroom until he is about 13.

  • mandyjschmidt
    February 15, 2013 at 7:55 PM
    I take my son in the ladies room with me in crowded public places like the airport, etc. he's 11 and hates it but I'd rather be safe than sorry!!!
  • PrdMomma84
    February 15, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    If it's a one person bathroom, my son goes alone with me standing guard outside the door..He is 6 and i still bring him in the womens bathroom with me..i feel awkward cause you get some people who look at your crazy, but I to would rather be safe then sorry..he is my one and only child, developmentally delayed, doesn't have all of the proper communication language, and if something would happen, I would feel crushed and hate myself.

  • LifeCafe42
    February 15, 2013 at 11:45 PM
    I don't know he's 2 I'm going to have to cross that bridge when I get tonit
  • SexyDiva19
    February 16, 2013 at 1:45 AM
    This exactly. My son is 8 as well. He either goes with me in the womens bathroom or he uses the boys and I stand watch.

    Quoting lucasmadre:

    Never :) My son is 8 and he still comes in with me, I just don't like the idea of him in that situation. I am not above opening a men's room door to make sure no one is in there before I let him go by himself. I wish that it wasn't like that but it is...

  • wendythewriter
    February 16, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    My boys are 9 and almost 12, and it depends on the setting. At the grocery store or our local park where I'm familiar with all the bathroom exits (usually only 1), I'll let them go by themselves, with me standing right outside the door. They know to yell for me if something happens and if they take longer than I think they should, I will not hesitate to barge in there. lol At the movie theater, I'll let them stand outside the women's room while I go but they're told quite clearly not to move from that spot. I tell them I don't even care if the building is on fire, they don't move until I'm with them, period. One time, one of the theater ushers tried to get them to move and they wouldn't budge. He got so mad but they just kept saying, "Our mom said not to move." I come out and the guy says to me, "I need your kids to move so I can vacuum this spot" and I was like, "Sure. Come on, guys. Good job!" lol

    If we are at a rest stop (since those bathrooms often have 2 ways in and out), or another large, unfamiliar, very populated setting, I either have my parents with us (say at a fair or something) and my dad will take them into the men's room, or if it's just me, then like it or not (for any of us), they're coming in the women's room. If I'm not familiar with where we are or there's more than one exit, I'm just not willing to take that chance. It's too risky that something could happen within that "normal" timeframe that they would be in the bathroom and I just can't stand the thought.

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