Restroom Pervert Preys on 11-Year-Old & Makes Us Wonder if Kids Are Ever Old Enough to Pee Alone

Mom Moment 14

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

independence, safety


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nonmember avatar Liv

We can't let the smallest populations cause us to live in fear always. This is a sad story, truly, but our children need to be raised to not live in fear. They deserve to learn to trust their instincts. Childhood goes quickly and before you know it your 11 year old is off to college and they are ill equipped for what they will deal with there for reasons like they fear the public restrooms. It is important to remember that this is so rare that it made news, not the other way around. More children die in car accidents than any other way, yet we still drive. My child will use the restroom on his/her own when they express the need to, and I will tamper my fear so they can flourish in their independence.

Lynette Lynette

I let my 10yr old son go in on his own but honestly it scares me. I remind him what to do if anyone tried to hurt him, yell, kick, bite. I have him do a quick count on how many men are in the restroom, report back and then he goes in. I stay near the door.

EnidA... EnidASophiaA

My 6 year old goes alone. Honestly my biggest worry is that the door would be too heavy for her to open.

peanu... peanutsmommy1

My son has been using the bathroom alone since he was 5. I refuse to raise him to be afraid of his own shadow. We teach him to trust his instincts, but I dont instill in him that every person he doesnt know is out to get him.

Barbara Yelekli

My friend's husband used to give their daughter a walkie-talkie and he would stand right outside the ladies room while she went in and she could call him for help if anything should happen.

hurri... hurricane37

Well I still stand outside the door when my 11 year old goes to a public restroom and if I think she or either of my sons are taking too long, I open the door and call their name and ask if they are okay. I don't care if it is the mens room

nonmember avatar Miss M

I left my 2 boys use the men's room alone after they started going to school. I reasoned that, if they could handle their buttons and zippers at school, they didn't need to have me helicoptering over them. My boys know to alert me if something is wrong, and I stay near the bathroom door. They are 9 and 10, and I don't raise them in bubble wrap.

MomOf... MomOf2AndAZoo

I'm glad the boy knew to tell his mother, but it sucks that the guy got away. As for what age a child can go somewhere alone, I think if a child isn't old enough to struggle against an adult trying to nab them, then they shouldn't be alone. Competency of the child has nothing to do with it. Just yesterday my 7 year old niece asked her mother if she & her 4 year old brother could go sit on a bench at the front of the store while we checked out. My sister told her no, to which my niece responded that she could watch her brother. We said sure you can, but who will watch you? Doesn't matter how responsible a child is, if they are small enough to be overpowered by an adult then they need their parent there to watch them.

Tasha McDowell

I stood outside the men's bathroom door til my brother was like 14 and he told me it embarrassed him. I still timed him though and yes, I have walking into the men's room before! It is a scary possibility and sad your children can't use the bathroom in peace.

nonmember avatar tysmom

I would have gone in that bathroom and beat that guys a$$!

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