Friday, April 1, 2016

Public Restroom Etiquette: Is My Child Too Old to Be Escorted to the Restroom?

I rarely gave much thought to taking my son into the ladies room or his safety in public bathrooms when he got older, that is until he became potty trained. He was 10 when we finally broke free from the never ending trail of pull-ups. As much as it was a trial having to change the pull-up of a child in double digits it was even more so a challenge navigating public bathrooms with a preteen son who is autistic and non-verbal.

I speak specifically about moms/women taking their sons and male clients into the women's restroom because I've not known or seen dads take their daughters into the men's restroom. I don't think they do. Do they? Correct me if I'm wrong. Dads, what do you do when your little girl has to use the restroom and mommy's not around? If you do have to take her into the men's room, does it feel awkward or is it as natural as it is for mom to take either child into the ladies room?

Of course these issues are not as prevalent as they were before the light bulb came on illuminating the much needed unisex and family restrooms. As a matter of fact, in our local grocery store they now have both men's and women's restrooms accommodated with infant/child changing tables. It's about time.

At what age should moms stop taking their sons into the women's restroom? And does the general rule apply to special needs children and adults? My son is 16 now. He's accustomed to going into both women's and men's restrooms. That being said, it is rare for him to go into the ladies room these days, but he doesn't see anything wrong with using either one. Is that wrong? What are the safety issues? Personally, I would be uncomfortable seeing a teenage male walk into the ladies room unescorted and not knowing his circumstances. I think about those things when I'm out with my son. I make it a point to escort him to public restrooms. If there are several males in the men's room I usually take my son to the ladies room. No one seems to mind as long as I'm with him. However, If my son walks into the men's room before I get a chance to check it out, I usually follow him to the door and with the door wide open I loudly proclaim that I am right outside the door and will come in if deemed necessary. Let the record show, I will walk by any number of male genitalia to insure the safety of my son. Hmph.

Thank goodness for the all inclusive single bathrooms. No fuss, no muss just use and flush.