Parenting & Public Safety

Note: I wanted to title this post To Pee Or Not To Pee, but I just couldn’t do it.

In September of 2015, Target’s corporate website was updated to show their support of the Equality Act.  Today, a further statement was made in regards to the topic of the use of public restrooms by Target staff and guests.

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I am seeing posts on social media criticizing this policy, which seem to focus on the concern that this policy could be ultilized by ‘Predators’ seeking to gain access to children. As a mother, the safety of my child is my absolute top priority. Public bathroom usage was something that I gave a lot of thought to, especially as a single parent for many years.

As I write this, kiddo is 8 years old. I do not always allow him to use public restrooms on his own. If I am comfortable with the situation, then I allow him to make the choice.  Examples of situations where I do not allow him that choice would be in a very busy or unfamiliar store.  Honestly, if he’s got to go so badly that his hands are already reaching for buttons, I find it much easier to herd him into a stall if we just go in the ladies room. Anytime he’s by himself the chance of distraction (from anything; he’s ADHD) are much higher.

He has never complained about going into the women’s restroom. I stand in front of the locked door to his stall.  No one has ever asked me to send him to the men’s restroom. I can’t recall a time where this ever got me so much as a second glance.

There will come a day when he wants to exercise his independence and stop going with his mother into the women’s bathroom. That’s totally fine with me. He already has a basic understanding of public safety rules (don’t talk to strangers, etc) so this whole bathroom predators thing isn’t exactly groundbreaking in terms of situational awareness. I started this dialogue at age 3 when he began going to daycare.

With all that said, I fail to see the issue here because every Target I have ever been in offers what I call the ‘family restroom’ – it’s a large, private (one room) restroom. It’s wheelchair accessible and has the diaper changing table in it. If I were truly that concerned for my son’s safety at Target, I would simply insist he use that restroom.

So please, do what you feel is right and best in your heart. If that means you boycott Target than more power to you.

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