Should Young Boys Be Banned From Women's Swimming Pool Change Rooms?

A chain of commercial swimming pool centres in Sydney has introduced a new rule banning young kids from accompanying their parents into different-sex change rooms. Kindergarten-aged children are now required to shower and change by themselves in the gender-appropriate room. Do you think this is an acceptable regulation or has society gone completely bonkers?

Pool kid picture from Shutterstock

Last month, Aquabliss School of Swim erected signs telling parents that kindergarten-age children are old enough to shower and change on their own. The company made the decision after receiving two complaints from customers who were made uncomfortable by the situation. Not surprisingly, the new rule has caused a storm of controversy with parents taking to social media en masse to voice their displeasure.

The company is now seeking advice on the matter from the government body Swim Australia. (There are currently conflicting reports as to whether the signs have been taken down, with some parents claiming they were simply moved inside the change rooms.)

In any event, the company seems to be sticking by its decision, with a spokesperson telling the Daily Telegraph that they will do what "the industry feels is best."

We're not sure why Aquabliss School felt compelled to take such drastic action after receiving only two complaints. The company has separate swimming centres in Lane Cove, Roseville, Pymble, Normanhurst, Thornleigh, Seven Hills and Wenona, so the number of complaints is pretty minuscule in relation to its size.

Like most parents, I often take my daughters swimming solo so my partner can have a break (or, as is more often the case, clean up the house). While my local pool does have a parents' change room, it's usually occupied at the exact moment my kids are in desperate need of the loo.

Personally, I think forcing any parent to send their children into a public toilet unattended is just plain wrong. Apart from the obvious "stranger-danger" factor, the presence of slippery, cement floors could also lead to serious accidents; especially if your kids are half-monkey like mine.

Plus, it's sure to add a lot more pee into the water which isn't something any of us want.

Do you think young kids should be allowed to accompany their parents into the 'wrong' change room? Or should they stick to the change rooms reserved for their own gender? Has anyone ever blasted you for taking your son into the female change rooms, or your daughter into the male change rooms? Have your say in the comments section below!


Comments

    So a mum taking their son to the pool is supposed to tell him to go into the male change room strip off and shower infront of the men? yeah no worries
    is this thing run by the catholic church or the boyscouts?

      Oh yeah because that is SO much safer right? I can't believe how much we give in to bloody minority groups!

      Where were you going with that comment? That's exactly what happens in the change room, because it's a change room, that's literally what it's for. Although I'm sure you weren't being serious and just using it as a set up to the joke.

      As for the article, sure there should be an age limit but that is just too young and considering they only got two complaints, utterly ridiculous. PC gone mad. I honestly don't know why we don't have changing cubicles with their own little showers and a bench, they do it overseas.

        I don't see how it's "PC". It's just plain insane is what it is.

      While I think the idea is stupid I object to the sexism in your comment. From what you said, it sounds like you have no problem with a dad sending his daughter into the female change room to strip off and shower in front of women.
      All men are dangerous and aren't to be trusted right? It's high time we stop this casual demonisation of half the population.

    So I can no longer take my daughter to swimming lessons because some highly sensitive idiot took offense?

    Anyone that takes offense is clearly the one with the issue and should probably be put onto a watch list of some sort.

    What a complete and utter load of crap!

    If they're going to do that, they should introduce family or boys only, girls only change rooms.

    Failing that, just have individual changing cubicles with doors in both the male and female change rooms, this is something I wish they would do, I'm an adult and I don't like getting changed in front of everyone, even if we do have all the same bits.

    I used to be a swimming instructor at a swim school, and there was never any issue like this. The parents which went down the 'send in your kids into the change room alone as soon as they're able' route often sat at the edge of the doorway calling out to their kids every so often to check up on their kids, or to tell them to hurry up (after 20+ mins).

      I actually remember my mother doing this when I was a big boy who could change himself.

        Mum still does this to me and I am 33!

          What would happen if you yelled out no? :p besides all the embarrassment.

      Or coming in to get them! The swim school I used to take my son to had a rule that kids 6 years and over are not allowed in the opposite sex change rooms, which I thought reasonable. There was also a sign on the male change rooms "No Mums are allowed in here". Yes, there is something about boys that would make Mums want to come in there and make them hurry up, but clearly nothing on the Dad/girl side since they didn't have anything like that on the female change rooms.

    Yey another knee jerk reaction from extreme left wing tools...!

      It could just as easily be caused by extreme right wing tools. I don't see how political leaning has any bearing on this.

      Or equally extremely conservative tools. Not sure why you decided to bring political persuasion into a discussion that isn't.

      (Written before @tvstatic comment came up)

      Last edited 08/11/13 12:32 pm

        @tvstatic @gr3i
        the L/R wing leaning doesn't have to mean politics..! It is my understanding that being Left wing is to have a conservative attitude and Right wing the other perspective. Not sure why you people are getting 'yer nickers in a twist over this, my point was obvious, and simply indicated that extremely conservative people tend to be over reactive in these scenarios...!!

          Then you should look up the actual meaning of left wing and right wing. It doesn't mean what you think it does.

            No... pretty sure you can interpret it the way I said. Maybe you should look it up...!

              Yey another knee jerk reaction from extreme left wing tools...!

              So from your exact words you are blaming the left wing tools

              Also your exact words It is my understanding that being Left wing is to have a conservative attitude and Right wing the other perspective.

              Ok little boy.

              To directly quote wikipedia from the left-right politics article There is general consensus that the Left includes progressives, communists, social-liberals, greens, social-democrats, socialists, democratic-socialists,civil-libertarians (as in "social-libertarians"; not to be confused with the right's "economic-libertarians"), secularists, and anarchists, and that the Right includes conservatives, reactionaries, neoconservatives, capitalists, neoliberals, economic-libertarians (not to be confused with the left's "civil-libertarians"), social-authoritarians, monarchists, theocrats, nationalists, Nazis (including neo-Nazis) and fascists.

              Your original statement was incorrect. Your follow up statement was also incorrect. Your third statement confirmed that you're ignorant.

              Last edited 08/11/13 3:25 pm

                Fine, you're right I'm wrong, now take a breath and calm down... afic it's just semantics and certainly not worth getting your knickers in a bunch..!! Sheeesh..!

          @Timmahh
          Conservative is right wing.
          And Left and Right wing refers to a political leaning. It has to mean politics, by definition.
          I think the reason people have their nickers in a twist is because you are using a term you don't understand.
          I'm a leftie, and get a bit offended when you blame it on lefties, then also blame it on "extremely conservative" people. God, make your mind up!!
          Or don't shoot your mouth of using terms you don't understand.

            Yeah, it's not that I didn't understand it, simply got it backwards, all in all though, there was no need for the carry on, it's hardly fighting words, now is it...?

      No, the extreme left wing tools are the ones who think binary gender is a fallacy and everyone should use the one change room in the name of the most over- and mis-used bleeding-heart buzzword of the minute, 'equality'.

    I'd say we've all experienced this to varying degrees. My son was denied access to gymnastics because he's an 8 year old boy. But ...

    In this instance, it's quite simple. Weigh up the risks vs the consequence. If something goes wrong when a child is forced to be unattended at a public pool, the pool WILL be held liable. Political correctness of a few will not protect the pool owners.

      Where is "political correctness" in this? I just don't get that connection.

      I think with the consequences - and let's face it, most people are referring to the threat of pedophiles - liability does not protect your children from the awful consequences.

      No amount of suing or money would make up for being fiddled or photographed.

    More knee jerk reactions from the right-wing zealots...!

    Hooray for the Nanny-State in full swing, can't imagine how bad it's going to be in 10-20 years time...

    Yay, another knee jerk reaction from extreme right wing tools...!

    Ha! I grew up in Communist Germany aka extreme left wing tool land. We didn't have change room separation, just nude beaches. So yeah, not sure your political bias works here.

    Obviously there needs to be an age limit, but I would have thought it would be somewhere around 10-12... not kindergarten age.

      I would think the age limit should be more like 6-7. I would not be remotely comfortable with a 10-12 year old boy being in the women's change rooms. Even 8 or so is starting to get uncomfortable.

        I agree Rebekka, another way to look at it is would you take your 10yr old daughter into the men's room?

        Get over yourself. It's all your issue. Not everyone is looking at you. Get changed at home.

        I am more than happy to trade anyone adults momentary discomfort with the knowledge my child is under my watchful eye.
        If you are getting changed in a public changing room, then you have to broaden your expectations, and be reasonable to what is a perfectly natural situation.
        If that's unworkable for you, then I'd politely suggest you do your changing at home.

        Really? It wouldn't bother me in the slightest. The kids aren't there to look at you - they're there to get changed. And one would hope that their parents would also be able to instruct them on correct behaviour (eg: don't stare).

    Rule was obviously made by a non-parent as I can't think of many kids going to kindergarten that would be capable of showering and changing themselves...

    I think everyone needs to relax. This rule clearly enables adults to safely use showers and change rooms without the threat of wet children.

    I'm glad someone's thinking right!

      Nice try at being a troll, however your logic is completely wrong, the rule doesn't prevent the threat of any wet children, as they are allowed to use the change rooms, just not with their parents in the opposite sex.

      The rule is plain lunacy, once a child becomes aware of their body, and those of others, they no longer want to get changed or shower in front of the opposite sex, and will want to go to their own change rooms.

    This is obviously a completely retarded idea.

    Our pool says children over the age of 6 can't get changed in opposite sex change rooms. Even that is too young. When my kids are that old watch me completely ignore this idiocy.

    Bring in the police ya idiots. Believe it or not people aren't looking at you and it's not about you. Get changed and shower at home if it's such a problem.

    Our swim school has a rule of age 5, but my almost 5yo can't reach the locks on the toilet doors, can reach the button to flush the toilet and can't turn on the taps to wash his hands by himself. The bathroom are old facilities, obviously not designed for kids. Safe to say I'll be bringing him into the female change-room until he can manage on his own.

    I think natural embarrassment levels start to form at 6-8 years old where don't want to be in the opposite gender change-rooms, so rules don't really need to be created for this. Let it happen naturally!

    I swim and at my pool kids under 6 are allowed to get changed with opposite sex parents if older there are parent rooms that can be used. Simple - I agree that 6 is an appropriate age (in our society at any rate) but if I am there with my 7 year old daughter I can use the parent room to get changed or shower with her.
    Mind you I see other nationalities such as Chinese and Japanese who haven't got the same issues with nakedness that we westerners have. And more power to them - nudity is not something that is bad (not something that needs to be paraded) but making it to be more than what it is, is also bad...

    How come my mum never took me into the womens changing rooms when I was a kid... I feel jibbed!

    Seems like a silly action to take.

    Every boy has seen at least one vagina in their life, and usually two breasts as well, so that horse has bolted.

    There's a much simpler solution, and coincidently a much better one too. Although it's likely to cost the swimming pool some money to get it right, so don't hold your breath...

    Uni-sex change rooms, make large cubicles, essentially over-sized toilet stalls. This way a parent and child can safely get changed in the same one if the child still requires help, or they can use their own staff if they're "Big Enough" - This way everyone get's sufficient privacy, and there's no worry about parents taking kids into the "wrong" room.

    If designed right, these can actually have a greater benefits, as a husband & wife who are prepared to share a stall can do so, resulting in a much better utilization of the change facilities.

    I actually saw these during the 1990's in the U.K. swimming pools, as a teenager it freaked me out at first when I saw the sign, but in reality it was much more comfortable, as you had complete privacy, even from people the same gender, when you were changing.

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