Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with Nancy McBride, the Safety Director of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). They have partnered with Duracell to create a great online safety resource for parents - Power of Parents Online.
Public bathroom safety
My question for Nancy was about children using public bathrooms. I’ve heard of stores not allowing boys older than five or six to go into the women’s room with their mom. She said some good tactics to try while your son used the bathroom are:
- stand outside the men’s room and make your presence known by talking to your son
- checking in with him constantly by asking, “Are you o.k.?” or “Almost done?”
- impose a time limit
Nathan, who is eight, is old enough to go to the men’s room on his own. Even so, I stand outside and do my obnoxious mom routine:
“Hey Nathan, you done yet?”
“What are you doing in there?”
“Don’t forget to wipe.”
“Wash your hands, too!”
“Don’t forget to zip.”
“Hey! Mom! Stop!”
Moms, dads and grandparents are always amused by this conversation. People without kids are horrified. Tough, I know the child molesters will get the heck out of there quick knowing that I’m just a few feet away checking in with my boy.