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Gym changing rooms

(61 Posts)
Aloysius Wed 23-May-12 09:27:18

I have 4 boys, the eldest of which is 7 and we swim 4 times a week. The gym where I go has recently been dropping hints (the manager has a son in one of their classes) that he is too old to come in the ladies changing room, and has sent her son (aged 6 on his own in the mens). I am worrying myself to death about this and have so far flouted the rules. Apparently some lady complained when her son stared at her bust. My boys are quite at home with female bodies (we have no issue with nudity at home) and don't do this and I have no problem with him being confined to a cubicle (there are only 2) and then waiting outside when dressed. I can't believe that the lady who complained had any children/grandchildren because I did a quick straw-poll this morning and everyone agreed with me. Obviously my problem is compounded by the fact that I have 3 boys with me at any one time. There are no separate disabled changing rooms (only a disable toilet in the foyer). The showers in the mens changing rooms are all open and I have been informed that there is a male who 'likes younger boys' at the gym (this is from someone who was told by HIS wife). I am obviously worried out of my mind. I think it is unsafe and unreasonable. If the sign states "over the age of 7" could that be interpreted as until he is aged 8 ? I am seriously considering taking them to the municipal pool and keeping my £150 every 6 weeks for lessons.

Kayano Wed 23-May-12 09:33:24

Well he'll have to learn soon enough. Why not ask him if he wants to use the men's changing room as he is getting a bit old.

Unsafe and dangerous? I don't really see how he is only getting changed confused

Kayano Wed 23-May-12 09:34:38

If you think there is paedo in the gym hmm I would change gyms.

You can't keep them in the ladies change forever.

avivabeaver Wed 23-May-12 09:35:09

i would throw the problem back at them tbh. i dont have boys but can see the issue;

either they cope with a polite, well behaved non staring 7 year old in the ladies

you all change in the mens, and they make sure that these changing rooms are
closed whilst you use them.

They find another solution

these are the only options as far as you are concerned.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 23-May-12 09:37:41

I don't think YABU. I have boys too, and while it's a great that some boys could cope on their own in the changing room, some just can't, and their parents shouldn't be put in this position by the gym.

If people have complained about another child, then they are effectively complaining about the lack of facilities, not about a parent looking after their child. Drop your own hints right back about the lack of family facilities, and until those are put in place, do what you think is right for your children. You have as much right as any other gym member.

Cherriesarelovely Wed 23-May-12 09:40:10

I see what you are saying OP. I think the gym ought to have a designated area for you to get changed with your son if you know what I mean. I'm sure my friend's gym has something like this, spacious cubicles for mums and sons or dads and daughters. I agree I would not want my Dd going into a changing room on her own at that age.

Sirzy Wed 23-May-12 09:41:24

I assume you have reported this male who "likes younger boys" to both the gym and the police?

At 7 I think he should be able to get himself changed and I think you should be encouraging him to get changed in the male changing rooms.

Helltotheno Wed 23-May-12 09:47:23

I think people are pretty naive if they think a 7 year old boy is completely immune to anything happening to him when he is on his own in a male changing area full of strangers. I'm sure 90% of the time, nothing would, but that doesn't mean it would be totally unheard of.
I don't think YABU OP and I think if the gym has a policy of allowing kids that age in to start with, they should have a family changing area.

Sirzy Wed 23-May-12 09:49:25

That would suggest 1 in 10 something would happen. I find that very hard to believe

Kayano Wed 23-May-12 09:50:51

Have you made they gym aware that they have a paedo lurking in the men's room?

Helltotheno Wed 23-May-12 09:53:56

I find that very hard to believe

Find it hard to believe if you want. Personally I wouldn't be interested in testing it out on my own child. My DS was a small 7 and there's no way I'd have him in a change area on his own with a bunch of strangers (though he'd be in the male area with the other boys for his own swim lessons).

oopsi Wed 23-May-12 09:54:24

what would happen to him when he is 7 that wouldn't at 8,10, 12??
YABU very

Sirzy Wed 23-May-12 09:56:01

I'm sure you can provide evidence of all these dangers lurking in male changing rooms. For one in 10 children to succum to them there must be plenty.

Helltotheno Wed 23-May-12 09:56:31

It's a very personal thing. If others want to send their small boys into male change areas on their own, I have no problem with that. I just didn't with mine.

Sirzy Wed 23-May-12 09:58:40

So what age is a child old enough to face the obvious massive risks in a changing room then?

Helltotheno Wed 23-May-12 09:58:51

Sirzy that was just my feeling on it, that I'd rather my own child was older and more aware of his own surroundings and more independent before I'd allow him into a changing area on his own. Why are you getting at people who have different opinions to you? I don't object at all to what you do with your own child.

Sirzy Wed 23-May-12 09:59:54

So I can't question your logic when you make such claims as things are only ok 90% of the time?

Can I suggest a forum may not be the best place to post if you don't want your views questioned.

Aloysius Wed 23-May-12 10:00:57

Yes, I have mentioned it to the gym, but I don't think they will do anything without a sex offender register or his wife's evidence (which I'm not sure could be provided). I think if there is any chance of a 7yr being subject to any kind of inappropriate behaviour it is unacceptable. It is alright saying the likelihood is minimal, but no mother would take that risk and then have a child damaged for life when it is avoidable. He is perfectly able to get himself changed, what I am not convinced of his ability to identify a dangerous situation and get himself out of it. And to be honest, I don't think I should have to explain the ins and outs of paedophilia and the dangers that exist to him in today's society at the age of 7. I wouldn't let him use male toilets unaccompanied (or female ones for that matter).

Sirzy Wed 23-May-12 10:02:44

So what is going to change between now and him being 8?

If its such an issue for you can I suggest you to somewhere else which provides family changing facilities.

Aloysius Wed 23-May-12 10:03:35

I don't think the point is something different will occur at 7, 8, 23 or 56 for that matter. The difference is in the child's maturity to deal with it: identify an unsafe situation and get help.

Helltotheno Wed 23-May-12 10:04:51

There's risk everywhere sirzy. Yes I agree I shouldn't have said 90% of the time which for me, is just a turn of phrase really.

I have no idea when anyone else thinks their child should be in a change room alone, nor do I care. I just responded to the OP cos my opinion is she's not BU.

No mother should have to justify her choice on this really. The bottom line is the gym has not provided appropriate change areas and she has a right not to let her boy change alone if that's what she wants.

Sirzy Wed 23-May-12 10:04:55

But surely as a parent it's your job to teach them how to do that without creating panic. Keeping him at your side forever isn't going to do that.

Sirzy Wed 23-May-12 10:05:47

Well actually if the gym has rules otherwise then she has to follow them or go elsewhere

Helltotheno Wed 23-May-12 10:06:07

Yes and I have done and we're all good.

Aloysius Wed 23-May-12 10:06:12

There is only one gym (to which we belong). When they build another with beautiful family changing facilities I will be off.

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