Children of the opposite sex in changing rooms

(306 Posts)
Gatecrasher61 Wed 02-Aug-17 17:20:16

OK - firstly I am not a parent (probably shouldn't be on here, but hey ho) so I am happy to be corrected.

Our local swimming pool has open changing rooms, no cubicles. I tend to go swimming after work, which is just before the kids swimming lessons. When the kids arrive, I am normally getting dressed in the changing room after my shower.

Often women come into the changing room with their sons who are between 8-11 and are often greeted with the sight of me starkers! Probably not a good sight as I am middle aged and a size 14 on a good day, but there is no where else to go!

Now I know that other women have complained about this but have been told that the Mums are not happy for their boys to go into the men's changing rooms are they are not able to dress themselves and also don't like them being there with male adults who are strangers.

I learnt to swim when I was six and a half. My Dad used to take me to a swimming club where I had lessons and I had to prove that I could get dry and change myself and also sort out my kit.

Now I realise that boys are different, but is it really appropriate for boys of that age to be in the women's room? Surely they should be able to dress themselves at the age of six or seven?

OP’s posts: |
ElizabethShaw Wed 02-Aug-17 17:22:07

8+ should be in their own sex changing room.

Barbie222 Wed 02-Aug-17 17:23:23

I think around here the pools have a policy. 8 I think is the max age. There was a while when I was glad of family change as I didn't want an 8 year old in the men's in his own but by 9 / 10 surely they'd be able to change themselves without mum? I'd be a bit embarrassed to be changing a 10 year old for him!

SorrelSoup Wed 02-Aug-17 17:24:38

Yes it's usually from 7 or 8. Of course they can dress themselves by that age assuming no additional needs. If they're struggling the parents should send them in in shorts, vests and sandals.

Starlighter Wed 02-Aug-17 17:28:40

I can't comment on what I would do yet as my kids are 5 and 3 (so definitely not!) but I think I would still get very twitchy about sending either one of them in a changing room on their own, even at the age of 8! I dread it. I think everywhere just needs unisex, family changing rooms for everyone's safety.

claritytobeclear Wed 02-Aug-17 17:31:15

Surely they should be able to dress themselves at the age of six or seven?

Sadly not all can. I am thankful our pool has family changing rooms. A significant proportion of children have learning difficulties of various kinds which would hinder their ability in this area. They need not necessarily have a diagnosed disability (yet), either. Assessment processes can be long, complicated and political. Not all disabilities are visible.

So challenging people might mean you are making disabled people's lives more difficult.

All I can suggest is not walking around naked, if you can help it. I change in open changing rooms under a towel. Campaign for better facilities.

Dinosauratemydaffodils Wed 02-Aug-17 17:31:27

You can take under 8's into the changing rooms with you here, over that they have to change in the appropriate changing room. My Dad used to take me swimming and I'd change myself from the age of 6 or so. My SiL however still takes her 11 year old into the Ladies just in case.


TeenAndTween Wed 02-Aug-17 17:34:07

8 yrs old where we go.
11 definitely too old to be in wrong sex changing rooms.
However it is hard to tell who is 9 and who is a large 7.

AtHomeDadGlos Wed 02-Aug-17 17:34:58

They should be in their own gender's changing room from the age of 8. But the parents are probably worried about peadophiles.

Get ready for the 'changing rooms should be closed for school parties' brigade to say YABU. But YANBU, there's no need for 8+ year olds to be getting changed with assistance (unless they're disabled)

Ameliablue Wed 02-Aug-17 17:35:10

Over 8 boys should be going to the men's.

AtHomeDadGlos Wed 02-Aug-17 17:35:42

Dino - justnin case of what exactly?

Gatecrasher61 Wed 02-Aug-17 17:42:05

All I can suggest is not walking around naked, if you can help it. I change in open changing rooms under a towel. Campaign for better facilities.

Actually I thought I would wait until I am in my 70's and wrinkled like a sharpei and then prance about starkers. Probably get complaints from the mothers for giving their sons nightmares LOL wink

OP’s posts: |
CoughLaughFart Wed 02-Aug-17 17:44:58

Everywhere I've ever been the limit was 8, as others have said.

Years ago our local swimming baths had separate boys and girls changing rooms in addition to adult changing rooms. They were mainly used for school swimming lessons, but it did mean you could send kids to change alone without any worries about 'the wrong type'.

demirose87 Wed 02-Aug-17 17:45:40

I wouldn't want my 8 year old to see a random woman naked but I also wouldn't want to be naked in front of a child so it goes both ways But to be honest, I've never known anywhere to not have the option of an individual cubicle.

AtHomeDadGlos Wed 02-Aug-17 17:46:23

Why should the OP not walk around naked in a changing room?

I hate this insidious creep of normal activities having to alter because a minority of people choose to inflict their 'right' on the majority.

OP just get changed as you have been doing. If a mother of one these 'darlings' give you an evil look or shitty comment then suggest their child turns their back or goes into the men's changing room.

claritytobeclear Wed 02-Aug-17 17:46:31

I doubt the mothers, harassed at having to supervise and help their older than 7 sons changing, would even notice, OP.

Be under no illusions, being forced to flout rules, which do not take learning difficulties and disabilities into account, never is fun or even comfortable.

claritytobeclear Wed 02-Aug-17 17:49:12

minority of people choose to inflict their 'right' on the majority.

Shouldn't minorities be protected? A significant proportion of children have learning disabilities or difficulties anyway. It is often their mothers who are put in this situation too, as they disproportionately are left to do the majority of the care.

HotelEuphoria Wed 02-Aug-17 17:49:44

My DS was well into puberty at ten, no way should he be in an open women's changing room. Also 8 around here. Saying that though I have never been to a pool where there aren't at least some curtained cubicles.

Caprianna Wed 02-Aug-17 17:52:12

There should be unisex changing rooms everywhere

BoneyBackJefferson Wed 02-Aug-17 17:52:54


Shouldn't minorities be protected?

What from?
They are in a female changing room, there are going to be naked females. If that offends then go somewhere else.

MyheartbelongstoG Wed 02-Aug-17 17:53:26

I wouldn't bat an eyelid if a mother brought her son into the changing room but then I'm not starkers. I understand exactly where your coming from op but at the same time I wouldn't be comfortable with letting my own 11 yr old son into a men's changing room alone.

My children put their swim gear on under their clothes and just undress whilst I am in the changing room with them.

TheSconeOfStone Wed 02-Aug-17 17:53:33

I don't believe all the older boys in the ladies changing rooms have SN. In fact a couple of mums of boys I know have said they will keep their boys in the ladies for as long as they can get away with.

My DD has ASD. She is 9 but tall and is developing fast. She gets acutely embarrassed about boys in the changing room seeing her body. What about her needs?

DressedCrab Wed 02-Aug-17 17:54:00

Keep on complaining. It's ridiculous, age limit should be 8.

Spikeyball Wed 02-Aug-17 17:54:46

8 is usually the maximum age. After that they cannot go in there whatever the reason. Unfortunately this means that some people including my son cannot swim in some pools but the alternative is not reasonable (some flexibility is ok in toilets but not changing rooms).

eyebrowsonfleek Wed 02-Aug-17 17:55:44

Our local pool has family changing so mothers and sons/fathers and daughters don't have this dilemma.

I think that the woman is being selfish not sending her sons to the mens unless disabled changing is in the women's area and they need a disabled changing room.

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