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

Mom Moment 98

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?


Image via pointnshoot/Flickr

boys, travel


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kjbug... kjbugsmom1517

Highway rest stops r scary places i probably wont ever let my girls go in alone lol.

Laurlev Laurlev

I think it's fine until the child is uncomfortable with it.

Michi... MichiganMom602

At 7, I probably would not let him go alone...but at 12, yes.  If your right outside the door ... I mean come on....he knows how to scream right? MOST people are totally normal and rest stops are much safer statistically than getting off the interstate in strange neighborhoods.  

momof... momof1teengirl

I agree that at 7, I'd be bringing him into the ladies bathroom, too.  But if you're still taking a 12 year old into the ladies room, well, you need to seriously re-think that one!  12 year old boys do not need to be in a ladies bathroom - both for the ladies sake,and the 12 year old boy's sake!   I would think that by 9 or so, a boy should be able to go into the men's room.  With mommy standing right outside the door, a boy should be able to know right from wrong and scream his head off if anything should happen.

Haley Maya Unger

They really should make more "Family" bathrooms in places. They have them at airports now and they are a life saver. Mom, dad and kids can all come in and do what needs to be done, no one has to worry about a toddler ducking under stall doors or anything. It also helps with wiggly toddlers if you have team work to get the kid changed quickly!

nonmember avatar Cass

That is setting the kid up for some very unusual fixations. All of the molestation incidents I've heard about occurred at fast food restaurants. Rest stop bathrooms may be icky, but it's more likely to be filled with truckers who don't give two cares about your son than it is filled with potential molesters.

Silve... Silvernail

I think 7 is to old to come into the ladies room, if you are by yourself why not stop at a gas station where there is typically only one toilet in the room you can stand outside it and not have anything to worry about.

gabe05 gabe05

20 sounds old enough to me!  My son is ten and I allow him to go to the men's restroom at stores or restaurants or gas stations, but there is no way he's going alone at a mall at night or a rest stop.  We just stop at better places on car trips or search for family restrooms.  At seven, I was even more cautious.

ASouza77 ASouza77

I have four children (3 boys ages 5,7,& 9 and one girl age 3). My husband works out of state several days per week so I am constantly going out to stores and such by myself with the 4 kids. I, under no circumstances, let my boys go into the mens room by themselves. If one of the kids has to go to the bathroom, and there is no 'family' restroom, I bring all 4 kids in the ladies room with me. They are very well behaved and know to walk straight to the handicapped stall without stopping or looking around. Once in the stall, the 3 who are not going to the bathroom face the opposite direction to give the other person privacy. I do not feel comfortable leaving any of them outside of the ladies room and I do not feel comfortable sending any of them in by themselves. If people don't like it, it's not my problem. I would have a problem if another mom brought their kids in the restroom with them and let them look under the stalls and peek through the cracks. If my kids know enough to never do that, other moms should have the decency to teach their kids the same.......


kellynh kellynh

I agree with the family bathrooms. Normally there is one... And it is locked. 

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