How To Keep Kids Safe In A Public Restroom

I remember when my oldest son was about 5 years old and it was time for him to start using the men’s room in public. No more coming in the women’s bathroom with mom.  This was difficult for me because I felt that he would be vulnerable in a men’s room alone. There was no way he could continue coming in the women’s bathroom with me, he was just too old. Yes, I maybe a helicopter mom who hoovers over her children but for good reason.  


Maybe I think too much into things but the thought of a child in a public bathroom with other men and not being able to see if they are OK frightens me. I knew I was not crazy when I saw this article a friend shared on her Facebook page last week. You can read the full article but in a nut shell:  two brothers 6 and 7 used the restroom at a McDonald’s. They went in together but when one boy came out without the other the father went in to find out what happened to his other son. He discovered a man with his pants pulled down was in the stall with his son. He son was victimized.


The truth is we live in a world full of men and women who do prey on children. It is sad that children cannot use the restroom without possibly being a victim. Since I have read this article I have discussed it with my two older boys (10 and 8 years old).  

restroom safety

I have rules in play for my kids to use the bathroom, maybe these will help you out as well:


1) Talk to your kids. My boys know that if something does not seem right to come out of the bathroom immediately and tell my husband or myself. 


2) We use the buddy system. If one boy has to go to the bathroom the other one goes also.


3) If there are family restrooms opt for those instead.


4) Use the 2 minutes rule. I give my kids 1 minute to use the restroom and another minute to wash their hands, if it takes any longer I have no problem opening the door of the men’s room calling for them.


5) My boys use the stall bathrooms instead of the urinals where it is more private. With this day in age people carry cell phones and I do not want photo’s of my boys using a urinal all over the wide internet.


6)  Fight if you need to, thankfully my boys know karate. They can defend themselves to a certain extent. Yell, scream, do whatever they need to do.


7) If my husband goes with the boys in the restroom and if I am with, I take my daughter so that no one is going in alone.


I know I cannot hoover over my children forever. They are young and I can do my best to keep them safe while giving them the tools to educating them.


What are your public restroom guidelines for your kids? Share them by commenting below. 



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  1. Robin Masshole mommy says:

    My oldest is 11 and I would never let him go into a public bathroom alone. He either takes his brother with him or he doesn’t go.

  2. These are good tips. My son is only three and newly potty trained so he always goes with my daughter and me. My daughter is six and always goes with me too. I know she’s getting older and that will change and we’ll have to use these tips.

  3. My Grandson is only 5, so I have taken him in with me before. If my Hubs is there, he takes him to the mens room. As he gets older, I will need these tips.

    • It’s always nice when you can have your husband accompany them. I did worry about embarrassing my son or the others by taking him into the women’s restroom.

  4. How scary! I’m always worried about my kids and public bathrooms.

  5. We did similar things for our kids. Bathrooms at stadiums and other crowded places just don’t seem safe without a parent nearby.

  6. I heard about that story the other day. It is really scary that things like that happen.

  7. I always worry about this especially when my kids are too old to come in with me but to young to be alone. So thankful when I find family restrooms. Great tips

  8. I am so thankful for family washrooms …. I always worried about my son going into the mens washroom when he was little. I would hover by the door or get a man who looked like a caring father to check on him.
    Wish we didn’t have to worry so much about the safety of our kids when nature calls.

  9. I completely agree and these are some great tips also! I don’t allow my boys to go into the mens room all by themselves at all. They either go in with my husband or using the buddy system like you suggested. You cannot be too careful these days.

  10. I would be terrified too if I had boys. Thankfully I only have one girl, who is now 14, and I still worry sometimes…LOL!

  11. It is really sad that we live in a world where we need to have these sorts of rules. x

  12. These sound like reasonable rules to me. My son was 13 before I finally allowed him to go to a public restroom alone. till then we use the family option or to the shock of many ladies drag him into the ladies room or stood out the mens room with doot open where I could talk to him.

  13. I don’t think 5 years old is too old to still be going into the ladies room with mom. If anyone said anything to me I’d tell them to mind their own business and take him in anyways.

    • yeah but places like my church and the elderly women in the bathroom – just did not work! I could tell by their facial expressions!

  14. Catherine S says:

    These are great tips. When my son was little I always tried to use the family restrooms. If that didn’t work I would stand outside the restroom and yell to check on him.

  15. Great tips sending them to the bathroom can be scary. I tell my kids to go together and to scream if anything happens

  16. Debbie Denny says:

    Such good points. Educating children is very important

  17. what a horrible story. We always tell our kids to go together and do not leave without the other. so sad

  18. I think the buddy system is pretty ideal. It’s hard to find a family restroom around here.

  19. I have just started letting my daughter use the restroom on her own. She is 10 now and it is SO hard for me to let her. So many things can happen.

  20. Gosh I never thought about this but you are so right – we have to keep kids safe everywhere. Great post and I will be sharing it.

  21. These are great tips. I used to hate using the public restroom with little ones. I always tried to look for a family washroom instead.

  22. I always went to the restroom with a sibling. Go in pairs & it’s safer than alone!

  23. I like the buddy rule. I don’t have a little one to go w/my son, so I look for a family option or take my son with me, depending. Sometimes I send him alone, but I never like it.

  24. Great tips! We have discussed this with our boys as well- 9 and 11. IT’s so hard because you want to give them freedom, yet keep them safe!

  25. I’m lucky enough to have older kiddos to take the younger ones while I wait outside the door. If not, and they are under 8 I bring them with me.. There are more and more family washrooms popping up so I don’t usually have to worry but it can be so scary. People are just not trustworthy and are creeps.

    • Jeanie, I do too. My 10 year old son takes my 4 year old son quite a bit too but even at the age of 10 can still be a vulnerable age.

  26. I’m so glad we’re not quite at this point yet. My oldest is 5 so I still take him in with us, but your tips are great for us in the future!

  27. This is scary , i wont let my child alone in the public bathroom

  28. You are correct, we cannot hover over our children forever. But, there are dangers, real dangers in public restrooms. So we must do what we can to protect our children when they are young.

  29. I am thankful I don’t have any kids, so I don’t need to worry about things like this–but the idea of kids not being safe in a bathroom is so scary!

  30. I heard about this and was just sickened by it. The only thing you can do is talk to your kids and make sure they are aware of the dangers

  31. We have the same rules for public restrooms. I always make my boys go together. If one takes longer, I make the other check on them. They are now too old to use the women’s with me with them, but I make sure I stand at the door, They know to call if someone does something and I make them stay together. It’s just so sad that we have to be so hovering over our kids just to use the bathroom now just to keep them safe.

  32. I like that there are family restrooms now. The buddy system is also a great idea.

  33. I always try to use the family rest rooms when possible. I just hate everything about using a public restroom and try to avoid them at all costs.

  34. Those are great tips. I have all three of my kids (one boy and two girls) go to the family restroom with me. Any place that we go that doesn’t have one, I bring them all in the womens room with me. I never let my Little Man in the boys room alone. I just don’t trust anyone…

  35. I always hover over my kids. Its too dangerous these ddays.

  36. These are some great tips. My son is 7 and I’m still afraid to let him go in.

  37. I always look for the family restroom when we are out. It makes things so much easier with kids.

  38. It’s good you have a system in place! There’s a lot of terrible people in the world!

  39. I would be so terrified if this happened to my son. My husband and son always go to public restrooms together.

  40. Well the story you shared just terrified the heck out of me. I just started letting my 5 year old use the mens restroom occasionally. NEVER AGAIN…ok but you know, not until he is much older.

  41. That is such a scary story! My kids have never been allowed to go in public bathrooms alone. We used the buddy system most of the time. You just can’t be too cautious these days.

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