public bathroomAll right, Moms, when do you think kids are old enough to use a public bathroom by themselves? Eight? Ten? Surely by 11 a child should be safe walking into a men's room alone, right? Tell that to the mom who found out a peeping tom was taking photos of her tween in a grocery store bathroom in Washington state.

I'm the last parent on Earth who thought she'd say this, but I'm now officially tempted to follow my daughter into the bathroom through high school. Maybe even college?

And you think I'm kidding?

Well, yeah, I am. Sort of. But I am officially creeped out. My daughter is 7, and I don't let her use a public restroom alone unless it's a one-seater, and I'm right outside the door.

The problem, I'm finding, is that she's getting too old to go into a men's room when she's out with my husband for the day. Pretty soon she's going to have to venture into the ladies' room alone.

And then what? Could she be the next kid caught on camera by some perv slipping a cellphone under the wall of the stall? That's what happened to the 11-year-old at a Fred Meyer supermarket in Washington.

The good news is the kid had the wherewithal to run straight out of the bathroom and find his mom, who contacted a manager. The bad news is in all the kerfuffle, the perv escaped. He's out there, potentially pulling this on other kids.

But still, there's good news, right? The kid didn't just let it happen to him; he ran and told his mom. Maybe I'm just looking for good news because I'm so torn up over this or maybe this is the real nugget for us as parents.

We can't keep our kids safe every second of every day, but we can talk to them about the dangers that are out there and that includes the dangers in a public restroom. Teach your kid to scream as loud as they can if something happens, because God knows with the acoustics in those rooms, you should be able to hear it. Teach your kid to be aware of what's going on around them, not just what's up with the toilet. Teach them that people can do some really screwed up things, but they don't have to take it.

Or, you know, you could be the Mom still taking her college kid to the potty.

How old is old enough for a child to use the restroom alone?

 

Image via Tobyotter/Flickr