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to think talking/touching a random child could get me into trouble?

(36 Posts)
charlmascaraoxo Tue 18-Dec-12 16:58:42

Took my dd to a soft play area today.

Theres a tunnel and you crawl through into a small cube and then climb up and go down a slide. (I think adults can fit but I'm a tad claustrophobic.)

Let dd crawl through the tunnel and I was waiting at the other end, as she was playing peek a boo through the hole.

Had a random small child sit next to me and start talking to me, he was probably about 3. He asked me to lift him up the ladder so he could go down the slide.

Now this is totally stupid but I said, you have to go and ask your mummy or daddy sweetheart, and got up and left.

I would have gladly spoken to the little boy and helped him up, but as I was an adult standing by myself in the play area I had a horrible feeling I would get into trouble for talking to and then lifting the child.

My friend who I was with was having a coffee at the time and completely agreed with me.

And I being silly and unreasonable? Or is it sadly common in these days to worry about your every move to do with children?

charlmascaraoxo Tue 18-Dec-12 16:59:12

*Am I being silly and unreasonable?

BerryChristmas Tue 18-Dec-12 17:01:04

I find it very very sad that this post shows what our world has come to.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 18-Dec-12 17:01:42

I wouldn't have given it a second thought and would've helped him to use the ladder whilst chatting utter tosh with him but that's just me. If people want to think badly of me for it that's their problem.

D0oinMeCleanin Tue 18-Dec-12 17:02:14


I don't think it is that common to be worried about these things. Lots of people interact with my children, I never think anything untoward about it.

valiumredhead Tue 18-Dec-12 17:02:42

I wouldn't have given it a second thought tbh and I doubt most people would.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Tue 18-Dec-12 17:03:05

I would absolutely talk to a child in public, I would absolutely not touch them. Except for obvious safety touching, for example steering them from a hazard. I certainly wouldn't take it upon myself to lift them onto equipment, that would be foolish.

Pagwatch Tue 18-Dec-12 17:04:03

I wouldn't have hesitated to talk to him or to lift him tbh.

SarahWarahWoo Tue 18-Dec-12 17:05:26

I would be happy for you to lift my LO onto the ladder to slide down but so e people might not, which is a shame

WorraLorraTurkey Tue 18-Dec-12 17:05:57

I think you've been on MumsNet too long to be honest grin

I would do it and actually I have done, plenty of times.

But sometimes to read MN, it would make you afraid to so much as smile at someone else's kids for fear of offending the Mother.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 18-Dec-12 17:06:35

Exactly what mrsterryschoc said.

redskyatnight Tue 18-Dec-12 17:07:35

If he'd been about to fall off a piece of equipment would you have grabbed him?

Parents of 3 year olds who have allowed them to wander more than 5 cm from them at a public soft play area are generally accepting that other parent may lift them on/off equipment, help them when they are stuck, ask them to wait their turn on the slide etc etc.

manicinsomniac Tue 18-Dec-12 17:07:41

I would have done it without even thinking about it but I suspect that, technically, your approach was the right one.

When I was about 17 I found a lost child in a museum in London. She was about 2 and hanging around in the main doorway. I asked her where her mummy was and she said 'gone.' I didn't want to be accused of taking the child so I literally just sat down next to her and waited until the mum came round the corner (only about a minute later). I wasn't even touching the little girl but the mum grabbed her daughter, gave me an evil glare and walked off! I was tempted to yell 'sorry I didn't let your child walk out of the door into central London.' You can't be too careful sadly it seems.

BrawToken Tue 18-Dec-12 17:08:44

Would have no qualms about lifting the child and equally none if someone lifted mine after being asked. What a shame so many people think this way sad

AgentProvocateur Tue 18-Dec-12 17:09:04

I wouldn't have given it a second though either, but IRL I don't know anyone who suffers from the same sort of paedo-hysteria that a lot of MNers seem to have. It's perfectly usual where I live and work (and that's a town and a city - not some country village) to talk to children, hold their hand if they're lost, and pick them up when they fall in the park.

charlmascaraoxo Tue 18-Dec-12 17:09:47

* I find it very very sad that this post shows what our world has come to*

Yes exactly sad

I would have happily have sat and spoken to him, and lifted him up to. He seemed like a very friendly little boy.

.... But at the same time, if I was sat away from the play area watching my dd and some random person started lifting her up then I don't think I would be too comfortable with that.

I wouldn't shout and rage at them. But I wouldn't feel too comfortable with it.

chrismissymoomoomee Tue 18-Dec-12 17:09:56

This is so sad, a couple of months ago in the park 2 adults basically standing right next to a child who had got himself stuck on the bars were ignoring his tears and him asking for help. I didn't think twice, dashed over, helped the lad down, then about a minute later his Mum rushed up and thanked me, she was in the other bit of the park and her other child had fallen over so she was dealing with that. When she spoke to the other adults to say it would have been ok (and I think to find out why they didn't help) they said they would never touch someone elses child these days. It makes me so sad

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Tue 18-Dec-12 17:13:41

The lifting thing actually isn't paedo-hysteria. I don't know if that child is used to the equipment. DD definitely thinks she can handle bigger, tougher equipment than she can. All well and good if I make the risk assessment, not if someone else does. If she falls on my watch, it's my look out. If another parent does it, not great. Same with food. When randoms come up and ask for some of DD's food I happily give it AFTER asking the parent, who knows about their level of comfort/allergies/whatever.

I don't mind if I see people touching DD in the park if I know what it is. For example giving her a hand off equipment. Lifting her up, I wouldn't like.

phantomnamechanger Tue 18-Dec-12 17:15:29

I'm a rainbow guider - CRB'd , known to the girls and their parents, trusted - yet even I have guidelines on touching to adhere to, and I do NOT lift children onto equipment. I would have done exactly as you did, even in a crowded public place with onlookers. Yes, it's sad. It's also sensible.
Too many of you are thinking about your interaction with the CHILD in the OP - you want to help - and not about the potential unwanted interaction with an irate/abusive/accusing parent!
What happens if you lift a child onto something & it then falls off? What if it has a pre-existing injury caused by the parent that they then claim was you being too rough?
In soft play, i might shout to the mum - is it OK to lift your DC up/down off here. But otherwsie, unless it was a safety issue, no touching/lifting.

charlmascaraoxo Tue 18-Dec-12 17:18:41

I suppose I could have asked his mother if it was ok, but there was quite a few people around and it wasn't obvious as to who was looking after him.

Pagwatch Tue 18-Dec-12 17:20:35

I would ever give a child food. Nor woud i lift a child up if I had any reason to think they were unable to manage that equipment. That wasn't the scenario the op described where her only reason not to do it would be 'modern day interaction with other peoples children'

WorraLorraTurkey Tue 18-Dec-12 17:24:44

It's a slide in a soft play center

Not Blackpool helter skelter...

EuroShagmore Tue 18-Dec-12 17:32:18

I wouldn't do it, but not because of paedo hysteria, but because I'd be worried they might fall off or get stuck. And once I've helped, how long am I supposed to "look after" them for if they try to climb to high or whatever?

EndoplasmicReticulum Tue 18-Dec-12 17:34:04

What Mrs Terry said. I would always talk to a child, or touch them if they were falling / to stop them going into the road / were lost and upset / were stuck on a climbing frame and wanted a hand down.

I wouldn't, and haven't, help them on to pieces of playground equipment. This happened to me at the park with the deathslide - I was lifting my boys onto it and pushing them. A small child appeared and asked if I would do the same for them - I said "no, sorry, you have to ask your mum" - not because of paedo hysteria but in case they fell off and broke their arm.

This may be because I am a teacher and I have "risk assessment" going through my mind at all times - if I wouldn't do it with a child I was teaching I won't with random children in a playground.

My own children - if they fall off the deathslide and break their arms that's fine. Well not fine, obviously! I hope you know what I mean.

Pagwatch Tue 18-Dec-12 17:35:41

My DD used to be a nightmare in a local soft play. She was really bossy at that point and used to move all the little kids around lie one kind of gnormous dolls house.
I used to have to rescue babies out of ball ponds and off slides.

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