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Child taken into care for being locked in the bedroom all night...
207

Raisensaretoddlercrack · 03/04/2017 20:31

Today this popped up on my news feed;

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/02/grandparents-claim-child-taken-away-social-services-locked-bedroom/

I imagine the child was already on the radar of social care, however it did panic me a bit because we have a lock on our DDs' bedroom door and it has made me reevaluate.

It's just a small slide bathroom door lock that we use instead of a baby gate to stop our 2 and 3 year old exploring after we have put them to bed. We thought it would be safer than a gate as if they could open the door they would mess about with it and risk getting fingers caught in the hinges. We still use a video monitor as they like to play for a while before going to sleep so they are still supervised. They have never asked us to leave the door open so it doesn't distress them in any way. For context, their bedtime routine is good and they are always happy to go to bed.

When we go to bed we open the door to their room so it is ajar and use a gate at the stop of the stairs in case of night time wandering. We leave our door ajar so they can come in to wake us in the morning with cuddles.

The lock is very flimsy and with a bit of pressure would open easily in event of a fire/emergency ect.

AIBU to lock them in their bedroom in the above circumstances or do I need to take it off? I'm doubting myself now! Thank you.

OP's posts:
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Twinchaos1 · 03/04/2017 21:45

Just to add that social care will not have a problem with stair gates over bedroom doors just with kids locked in bedrooms using locks on the outside door.

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skerrywind · 03/04/2017 21:46

Lazy parenting to lock a child in a room.

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Historygirl97 · 03/04/2017 21:47

The idea of children being locked in a room really really makes me uncomfortable....
I'm glad you are removing the locks.

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garlicansapphire · 03/04/2017 21:53

Never had a lock or a gate anywhere in a house full of stairs. No locks on cupboards either. Not a single accident - DCs just learnt to be safe and with kindness to do what they were guided to.

I'm not comfortable with locking children in - even with surveillance - aren't we supposed to go to them if they are messing about or ill or upset? Mine did sometimes come downstairs if they were upset or ill - and I was glad to give them a cuddle, medicine or take them back to bed. Sorry OP - sounds a bit like being let off going to look after them or actively parenting.

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angelikacpickles · 03/04/2017 21:56

I think you need to let them play together downstairs for an hour and make bedtime an hour later.

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EdenX · 03/04/2017 22:04

Lots of 2 and 3 year olds will be unable to get out of their rooms at night - either because they're in a cot, or behind a stairgate, or because they can't reach the door handle. What's the difference with a lock?

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InvisibleKittenAttack · 03/04/2017 22:04

Don't lock them in. It's just... horrible.

Put the youngest to bed earlier alone if need be, you can read the stories to the eldest in your room before moving to their shared bedroom for snuggles.

I assume at least the 3 year old is toilet trained, what if they need the loo? Do they have to shout for you to let them out? That just feels wrong. It's not teaching them normal behaviour at all.

Lock off, stair gate at the top of the stairs.

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EdenX · 03/04/2017 22:08

Stair gates at the top of the stairs are too dangerous.

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NeverTwerkNaked · 03/04/2017 22:16

Surely they should play first, with you supervising appropriately? Maybe even joining in if they have been at nursery all day.
After a play then a nice relaxing bed time routine, lots of stories together and cuddles, then if necessary you wait upstairs with them rather than locking their door and trotting off downstairs to enjoy your evening Shock

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contractor6 · 03/04/2017 22:18

My 18 mo, can't reach door handle so is she classed as locked in?
I can see why the OP doesn't want the door opening for safety reasons of trapping fingers in door etc, which shows she cares, hence demotivating the res flag of a locked door?

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BlueFolly · 03/04/2017 22:19

Nothing wrong with lazy parenting IMO, as a general rule.

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Ohyesiam · 03/04/2017 22:19

I can't think why anyone would lock a pair of toddlers into a room for an hour, expecting them to play nicely, then put themselves to bed, while occasionally talking to them through a monitor. Have I read that right?
I am not meaning to he harsh op, but I'm not sure that actually counts as parenting. Why have you decided to organise your evenings like this, could they not play together in a room where you are? It does sound a very cold way to treat your kids.

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TestingTestingWonTooFree · 03/04/2017 22:20

John Hemming is an anti social services fantasist. I wouldn't believe a word he says.

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ARumWithAView · 03/04/2017 22:20

There are some incredibly vitriolic and over-the-top responses here, considering the OP posted a thoughtful question about her parenting and was receptive to other opinions. She's not locking two distressed children in a room. She's not choosing to 'imprison' them instead of parenting. It's not particularly unusual to refer to young kids' behaviour as 'wild', and nothing she's said implies she sees them, as other posted have suggested, as animals.

I wouldn't lock DC in a room, and I don't think it's a good idea, but I could understand it seeming like a precaution when you've got a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old who tend to hype each other up and like to explore. I don't see room-sharing young siblings playing after their bedtime as a complete failure of the bedtime routine, unless they're staying up really late or bothering each other; it's quite nice if they can be trusted to play for a while, then go back to bed. DD3.5 often does this, now the evenings are so light: she gets the whole bath/pajamas/stories routine, and then we say goodnight, but if she wants to look at a book or play with her soft toys after that then it's fine. I'll go back in if she's upset, but I don't feel the need to sit by her bed until she's fast asleep.

I agree that the lock is unnecessary and potentially hazardous, but the 'sub-optimal parenting' type comments... is that a thing, now? Is 'sub-optimal' supposed to be a snide euphemism for abusive behaviour, or just a smug way of signalling that there is, of course, an optimal parent?

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SparklyUnicornPoo · 03/04/2017 23:08

As previous posters have said there will have been a lot more to it than just a lock on the bedroom door.

However, I work in a school and if a child came up to me and said they are locked in their bedroom at night I would report it as a safeguarding concern.

From your explanation I do see why and that you have addressed most of the concerns I'd have, and i agree with the risks with stair gates but the chances of a young child telling me all that are pretty slim, I'd more likely get something along the lines of 'Mum locks me in my room to play and take myself to bed' which obviously does sound quite bad, especially as small children have no concept of time so I wouldn't know if they meant 5 minutes play before bed or the second they got home through til it was time to go out the next day. I would also be worried that were there to be a fire while the door was locked and you couldn't get to their room, could they get out? worst case scenario and the youngest has to break the lock by themself? would they even know to try? I mean they know that door is locked and they can't open it.

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ForTheSakeOfFuck · 03/04/2017 23:13

Wow, op… you came in for some flames, eh? I'm adding "sub-optimal parenting" to my smug parent giveaways list.

Meanwhile, locking the door - logistically, it's quite rational and I get it (fire safety issues notwithstanding). Socially and psychologically, it isn't a comfortable thought. Baby gates just feel less isolating and prison-like, since DC can hang over them and shriek/chatter/be part of whatever else is going on on the house/never fucking sleep. The whole notion of locking kids up is probably just too close, in our collective psyche, to horrible cases of abuse. No suggestion whatsoever that this is what you're doing, obviously. You'd hardly be asking all over MN if you were. But that might be what's triggered the strength of feeling here.

Talking over the monitor? No issue with that as long as it's not a substitute for dealing with stuff where you're really needed, which it doesn't seem to be. No idea why that's a major faux pas.

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springflowers11 · 03/04/2017 23:13

It does not make sense that you lock them in whilst you are up and awake so they don't wander Hmm , and then unlock and open the door when you are asleep and wouldn't know if they got up and wandered!!
I have had 5 children and never needed locks and stair gates despite living in a house for a while with very steep winder staircases and a walking10m old.Why? Because I taught them how to go downstairs safely on their belly feet first

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SparklyUnicornPoo · 03/04/2017 23:21

What's the difference with a lock?

A flimsy bolt like the OP describes, not a lot to be honest, but a toddler would probably just say they were locked in so it would be a red flag at least until someone had been round to look. The original article doesn't say how the child was locked in so that may have been with a key, which is different in that it would make it harder for emergency services to reach her if needs be. (Plus the child in the article is 7, so wouldn't be in a cot and would likely need to be able to get to the loo.)

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LightDrizzle · 03/04/2017 23:29

My daughter has physical and severe learning disabilities. She has had a lock on her door since she was about 7 after a few times of waking to find her blue and soaked to the skin with her hand underneath the full-on tap so it sprayed upwards like a fountain. Her bedroom and bathroom were awash. On one occasion I slipped, cracked my head on the floor and grazed my foot badly as it shot under the wardrobe. With her impaired mobility, it's amazing it wasn't her. Another time I ended up in A&E with a cracked coccyx slipping and falling onto the aluminium shower tray lip and was in agony going upstairs for weeks.

Her bedroom is always on the ground floor because of her mobility issues. In both houses we've had since she was seven, our room has been directly above. We wake if she is laughing or crying, it was laughing that woke me on these occasions. Initially we put a lock on her bathroom, but she did the same in the kitchen and with our layout, locking the kitchen door was akin to locking her bedroom anyway as it lies between her bedroom and the rest of the downstairs. Without keeping vigil, she wouldn't be safe. While we hear her if she is up and wants our attention, her tap fascination is by stealth so very dangerous, she is silent until the sensation of cold or hot water spraying makes her laugh. She has a high pain threshold and is at high risk of scalds.
We have disability link social workers, I have always ensured they are aware and they do not pass comment.
I'm uncomfortable with it, but nobody has suggested a safe practical alternative. I thought of alarming her door but she would play opening it all night as she is kinaesthetic and loves hyper-stimulation, the louder, brighter, faster, colder, hotter the better. When she goes to respite, for 48 hours a month, the upstairs is locked from the rest of the building with a key code although individual bedrooms rooms aren't, and of course they have vigilant night staff on the floor who will go off shift in the morning and go to bed to sleep. In the mornings I go off to my job.
In the event of a fire she wouldn't be able to leave the house without assistance anyway and the lock we have is easily opened from the outside and can be opened with a 2p from the inside, which we keep parcel taped to the wardrobe by the door in case we get locked in by accident with her. She is never alone in the house. Fortunately she is pretty good and sleeps through 80% of the time.

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Crowdblundering · 03/04/2017 23:33

Locking children in a room makes me feel very uneasy from a safety and psychological perspective.

I can tell you first hand that social care would take a very dim view of it (this alone would in no way result in children being taken into care).

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DianaT1969 · 03/04/2017 23:36

Natsku and anyone else with a front door that children can open - if you're capable of putting a slide lock on a child's bedroom then why not just put a slide lock high on the main door? Or an extra chubb lock higher. If that's the door you're worried about them opening at night, then secure it.

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gammaraystar · 03/04/2017 23:37

You lock your kid away at night??? How
awful! Are you the Dudley's from Harry Potter? First a post earlier that hitting your child with a coat hanger and leaving a mark is not abusive, and now a mother locks her child away at night and doesn't see the harm! WTF is going on on Mumsnet at the moment?

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Viviennemary · 03/04/2017 23:42

I think that locking a child's bedroom door would make me feel uncomfortable and really it is wrong. A stairgate at the top of stairs is fine. But locking children in rooms isn't fine. But I would think that there must be more to this story.

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Graphista · 03/04/2017 23:44

On the people op is posting about there is bound to be more to it - note 'grandparents CLAIM' those that neglect and/or abuse children rarely admit it.

Op as far as your own parenting goes you need to review it asap. Never any need to lock children in their room and in the event of a fire, firefighters can easily step over a baby gate, much harder to deal with a locked door and seconds can make the difference between healthy survival, brain damage or even death!

I would NEVER leave a 2 and 3 year old to play unsupervised for an hour!

Certainly wouldn't expect them to put themselves to bed.

Speak to them over a monitor.

"It's lazy. It's cold.

Are they not worth getting off your backside for?"

Agree with this.

And I've been looking after children for 30 years.

Hoping this post is untrue/an exaggeration as the thought of these children being treated like this turns my stomach!

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LovingLola · 03/04/2017 23:48

I knew someone who used to turn the cots upside down over her 2 and 3 year olds. The mattresses were on the floor. These was over 25 years ago. I thought she was stark raving mad.

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