Parenting Dilemma: Is 6 too old to bring a boy into women’s restroom?

Dilemma: I brought my 6-year-old son into the ladies room with me at the mall and was totally told off by another woman who said he’s too old to be there. I’m not comfortable leaving him outside alone. How old is too old?

Every Friday at 8 p.m., readers meet on the Chicago Parent Facebook page to help solve parenting dilemmas. 

“Take him in as long as you need to. The stalls have doors, everything is private, do what you feel is right to keep him safe!” —Susan B.

“I will take my kid with me any time I feel it is unsafe not to. Yes I have gone into the men’s room as well. I would have told that woman it was for the safety of my child from crazy people like her.” —Maureen C.

“My son was still coming in with me at 10. I just recently in the last year or so started letting him wait for me outside the restroom. Too many whackadoos!” —Tara R.

“He is too little to be left outside. My boys are 6 and 8. If their dad is not out with us, I take them in the washroom with me. Don’t worry about what people think. You take care and protect your child.” —Evelyn S. 

“Oh hell no. I’d take them depending on the place and what time etc. Tell them to get a life. I’d be taking my 11-year-old if I felt it was unsafe. Better than the alternative. Can never be too careful. Period.” —Dian N.

“I was just in the ladies room at Nordstrom today and a mom brought in her son, probably 9 or 10 years old. I said good for you. She thanked me and said that others have given her a hard time. Ridiculous! Why do women do that to each other? Ugh!!!” —Mary L.

“Ha! I have a 10-year-old son and since he’s too old to go into the ladies room I simply wait next to the men’s room with my foot in the door and periodically call his name so I know he’s safe. Not a single man has told me anything or have given me a dirty look. I think women in general are uptight & catty. Who cares what anyone thinks? It’s better to be safe than sorry! I’d rather deal with an ignorant comment than my child being hurt.” —Mayra P.

“I say until you feel comfortable leaving him outside alone. It’s up to you and no one else. If someone doesn’t like it, then they can wait outside until you are finished. Don’t worry about anyone but you and your family as you are not harming anyone by being safe.” —Laura G.

“I did the same thing with my son at that age. I did not allow him to go to the men’s restroom until like 8 or 9. Before he stepped into the men’s restroom I would tell him you have 2 minutes. If he doesn’t come out of the men’s restroom, I am going in. At the end of the day your child’s safety is your responsibility.” —Valerie V.

“My son is 9 and he still comes in with me if my husband isn’t around. There are too many “odd” ones in the world for me to put him into that type of position.” —Lynette M.

“If he can used it at school by himself then he can use it in public. Just remind him to wash his hands.” —Trang N.

“Tell that prude to take her opinions and stick it were the sun don’t shine. Six-years-old is perfect kidnapping age. She must have never been a mother, sad.” —Angie P.


Gotta go potty!

For times when you’re on the go and the kids (or you) just can’t hold it, Chicago dad of two, Erez Arbel, has an app for that.

He created the free Getloo restroom finder app that shows restrooms within a 35-mile range of Chicago, including those with baby changing stations and unisex/family rooms. Plus, it rates the cleanliness of each one (you’ll chuckle over the “better than nothing” rating because … parenting). Download Getloo from the Apple app store or Google Play store.


This article originally appeared in the June 2019 of Chicago Parent. Read the rest of the issue.

Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.
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