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Should these children have been allowed to go to the toilets unattended?

(98 Posts)
FourArms Wed 10-Jul-13 20:30:35

I know I know this gets discussed all the time.. but there is a twist on this one!

I was picking up DS from a Beavers trip tonight and arrived a little early. Whilst I was there, I overheard a child ask to go to the toilet. The Beavers leader asked if he wanted anyone to go with him. He said yes. Then another Beaver said they knew were the toilets were, so they were sent in together.

So, two children, aged around 6/7, whose parents weren't there, went to the toilet themselves in an sports centre type environment. We were outside, loos inside a building and not visible from where we were.

Because I was picking up the child sent to accompany the first child, I discreetly observed them to ensure they were OK. Nobody else monitored their return.

Is this OK? I would not like my DS to go to the toilet himself under these circumstances (children opposite sexes so didn't go in to toilets together). When I took him later, he got stuck in there because the door was too heavy, but it's the risk of something much more unlikely happening that concerns me.

AIBU to think they shouldn't have allowed this? Is there a regulation about it? I know it wouldn't have been allowed on the school trips that I've accompanied.

ShoutyCrackers Wed 10-Jul-13 22:32:34

Can't you work on accepting that you're OTT and not think about removing him from Beavers? That just smacks of complete over reaction.

FourArms Thu 11-Jul-13 06:54:23

Didn't say I'd remove him - that I would rethink activities. In future I would stay to events like this - many other parents do too.

curlew Thu 11-Jul-13 07:08:32

Why don't you volunteer to be a helper?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 11-Jul-13 07:09:55

I would not be happy either. My Dd attends gymnastics in a sports centre and the teacher took great pains to tell me when we joined that the children are all taken together on group trips to the toilet. She also said if one child wants to visit the toilet just after a group trip, then one of the CRB checked teachers from gymnastics will accompany the child but wait outside.

Sports centres are HUGE open places. We're not talking about a kid of 7 being allowed to nip to the loo in McDonald's....the children could have wandered off....out of the centre or anything.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 11-Jul-13 07:14:06

OP yanbu. Mumsnet has this curious fake idea that there are NO pedophiles and NO odd people at all and as a result we should let our kids do anything and go anywhere. It's a weird attitude imo and every time someone comes on here and asks something like this, there are loads of cries of "not ALL men are peadophiles" and frankly it's odd!

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 07:17:59

The answer is to volunteer to be a helper and then the problem is solved.
They always need helpers.

Personally I think two children going off to the toilet in a sports centre is much safer than a 7yr old 'nipping to the loo in McDonalds.'

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 07:18:58

Not at all odd, NeoMax, nice to see there is some common sense.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 11-Jul-13 07:22:43

HOw is it safer to go to the loo in a public Sports Centre than in McDonalds Exotic?

outingmyselfprobably Thu 11-Jul-13 07:31:26

Yabu. There really aren't that many paedos. Stop being so paranoid.

And maybe you could get your DS to lift weights or something to build up his door opening strength....

BrianTheMole Thu 11-Jul-13 07:34:37

Funny, Dd's rainbow teacher always watches the children go to the toilet, and sometimes stops the group from doing their activities if she is on her own. I thought she was a little ott, but she pointed out that she had to watch them to make sure they were safe, as they were her responsibility. In the situation you describe I would want someone to keep an eye out.

DaemonPantalaemon Thu 11-Jul-13 07:39:12

You are definitely not unreasonable OP.

Better to have children peeing and pooing on themselves if the alternative is to go to the loo on their own. There is a paedophile in every toilet in the UK after all. In fact, don't even trust the Beavers leaders, or school teachers for that matter.

And don't send your kids to school because the teachers could be anyone. And certainly no to all after school activities. For instance, it is perfectly fine to teach them to swim safely in the bath at home.

You really can't be too careful.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Jul-13 07:50:12

Given a choice of sending mine alone in a sports centre or McDonalds I would feel much safer in the sports centre.

gazzalw Thu 11-Jul-13 08:00:58

Yes, I really think children need to be given the opportunity to do these things on their own. They need to. We really do not need to be raising children who see danger everywhere. Generally it is not there. You will just make them hyper anxious and reluctant to go anywhere without a helicoptering parent...

Sparklysilversequins Thu 11-Jul-13 08:05:53


I regularly accompany dd's Year 1 class on school trips. They are not allowed to go alone. An adult always goes with them.

xylem8 Thu 11-Jul-13 09:35:01

I despair, I really do!

Birdsgottafly Thu 11-Jul-13 10:14:29

There are a lot of sex offenders in our society and also generally abusive people towards children, look at when any child goes missing, how many known sex offenders have to be ruled out, before others are looked at (if you do not believe my first line).

However, i would consider a sports center reasonably safe, as opposed to Macdonalds. There are issues with both, but independence needs to start to be built up at around the age of 7. Sports Centers are CTTV'd in communal areas, which makes them safer.

On another thread i didn't agree to a child of around 4 going on their own, but at 7, i think that it is fine for them to go in pairs, or ideally a small group, without an adult.

Sirzy Thu 11-Jul-13 10:35:53

I also think it needs to be remembered that most children who are abused are abused by someone they know.

Mumsyblouse Thu 11-Jul-13 10:40:13

I let my children go to the toilet by themselves now, they are 7 and 9, I cannot accompany them every time, and if I went with one, the other one would be sitting by themselves (unless we all go every single time). I don't find Sports Centre loos particularly risky, ours have ladies anyway. By the time they are 11 they need to be able to travel on public transport for an hour (to school) including using public lavs if needs be and keeping safe from strangers. I would have thought 6/7, letting a child go to the loo, with you waiting outside, is fine.

burberryqueen Thu 11-Jul-13 10:44:06

I think it is OK although i understand your worry.

gazzalw Thu 11-Jul-13 10:49:24

'lots of sex offenders' actually constitute a very, very small number as a % of the population. Do you actually know anyone who has had a nasty experience, except for those reported thro' The Media?

Looking back to my own childhood, any dodgy behaviour by adult males seemed to happen in parks/open spaces....

It is not to say that one should be complacent - agree that a sports facility is probably a lot safer than many though....

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 11-Jul-13 10:52:15

I want to know WHY people think sports centres are safer? Is it because people pay to join? Pay to attend activities there? confused any Tom Dick or Harry can do that...and anyone can go in to use cafe facilities or toilets! They're not closed shops!

Solari Thu 11-Jul-13 11:00:12

Many people (including myself) who have been molested/raped as a child will never speak about it to their family, let alone their friends.

I think this results in people thinking it is far rarer than it is. My own experiences involved a family member, but also two people outside the family, on unconnected instances under the age of 8 where they simply saw an opportunity and took it.

My DH knows, but none of my friends would have a clue, as its extraordinarily painful to talk about, and (for me) humiliating.

I don't think the "hysteria" around paedophilia is hysteria at all. I think society is just starting to really open its eyes to it.

curlew Thu 11-Jul-13 11:03:44

"I want to know WHY people think sports centres are safer?"

I want to know why people think that they are even remotely dangerous!

Waltons Thu 11-Jul-13 11:06:47

By far the bigger risk is that, in the chaos at collection time, a child is collected by (as sirzy points out) someone they know but who is not authorised to collect them. The child doesn't realise and happily goes off with them. It is only when mum turns up 5 minutes later that the truth emerges. <shudders at the mere thought>

The leaders were almost certainly making it their priority to ensure that each child was collected by the right person and that none of the kids wandered out of the centre.

If you were collecting from the entrance of the sports centre, the loos would be further inside the building.

curlew Thu 11-Jul-13 11:20:48

I would be very worried about any activity involving 7 and unders where there was "chaos at collection time"

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