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Boys in ladies changing rooms at the gym.

(61 Posts)
Sago Mon 06-Sep-21 20:25:47

My gym visit was ill timed today, as I was changing the mums came in with their boys and girls.
I was most surprised to see the ages of the boys who were in the changing rooms, I would guess the eldest was 9/10.
Is it just me or are they old enough to go into the male changing rooms?

eazybee Mon 06-Sep-21 20:50:42

They should definitely not be allowed in ladies' changing rooms at that age.
Some mothers don't like their sons going into the men's changing rooms but that is a problem for the gym to sort out.

NotSpaghetti Mon 06-Sep-21 20:54:28

Is there a "family" room they can use?
This is too old on my opinion.

Silverbridge Mon 06-Sep-21 20:59:43

This is what my local pool says:

There are showers in the female and male group changing rooms. You can bring children of the opposite gender into the group changing rooms with you. This helps adults with children of different genders to wash and change:

• boys up to 8 years old into the female group change
• girls up to 8 years old into the male group change

JaneJudge Mon 06-Sep-21 21:01:05

i think what silverbridge has posted is quite universal, they arent allowed to go the toilets under 8 alone either.

Grannynannywanny Mon 06-Sep-21 21:03:40

I think a 9 year old boy is too young to use the male changing rooms without an accompanying adult.

Zoejory Mon 06-Sep-21 21:10:10

My grandson is 10. I don't think he'd even go in a men's changing room. It's a tricky one. They are still quite young at 10.

trisher Mon 06-Sep-21 21:16:14

I also think 9 is too young to be tackling the men's changing rooms alone. When I took children swimming the boys (aged 7+ had to use the men's changing room. I quite often had to go in to sort something out (the pool staff. always seemed to be missing). Sometimes a boy would have lost an item of clothing and be standing half dressed or crawling round hunting a sock. I always banged loudly on the door and announced I was going in before I did it. They at least had the comfort of a group, a boy on his own would be completely lost.

theworriedwell Mon 06-Sep-21 21:23:53

He might be younger, one of my sons was a 10lb baby, over 6ft at 12. People always thought he was at least 2 years older than he was, well not when he was a baby but then they thought he was months older than he was.

Mamardoit Mon 06-Sep-21 21:25:34

It's not just the adult women is it. A 9 year old girl should not be expected to change in a group changing with boys of that age.

As the mother of five boys I am well aware that changing rooms are a problem. DH was rarely around to take them into the gents changing so from 7ish the lads went into the changing rooms alone. To be perfectly honest by then then they would have been mortified at the thought of changing in the ladies. By that age they are used to changing for PE so they should be able to change alone.

Ladies toilets are a bit different. I see no problem with an older boy using the ladies. There is nothing to see. It depends on the location really. I kept the lads with me in the ladies on busy railway stations. Often the toilets entre/exit onto two platforms. That was something that worried me.

theworriedwell Mon 06-Sep-21 21:27:03


My gym visit was ill timed today, as I was changing the mums came in with their boys and girls.
I was most surprised to see the ages of the boys who were in the changing rooms, I would guess the eldest was 9/10.
Is it just me or are they old enough to go into the male changing rooms?

Was it communal or cubicles?

Nannarose Mon 06-Sep-21 22:11:46

My usual swimming pool has individual cubicles for all, with some larger ones for families / people who need assistance etc.

Shelflife Mon 06-Sep-21 23:30:24

It is a dilema! Individual family cubicles are the answer . I use the leisure centre regularly and wouldn't be happy to see a boy of ten in the ladies changing room. However , I can fully understand why a mother does not want her son alone in the make changing room - lots of reasons for a mother's anxiety about this . A leisure centre I don't use regularly has unisex cubicles, I had'nt realized that and as I exited my cubicle a man did the same in cubicle next to me. It did surprise me but on reflection surely this is the answer.

NotSpaghetti Mon 06-Sep-21 23:49:42

Our gym has one big space for women to change. Women are often naked in there. Maybe some wouldn't care, maybe the boy wouldn't. Personally it seems odd to me.

TerriBull Tue 07-Sep-21 07:19:42

Can quite see both points of view, I remember when my children got to the magic age of 7, the club I was a member at the time, designated that was the age when boys should no longer be in the women's changing room, personally I thought it too young to send a child of that age into the men's on their own. However, quite understand some women don't want a older male child around when they may be in a state of undress.

Also a problem for fathers of course when they are on their own with very young daughters and there isn't a family cubicle provision.

Whitewavemark2 Tue 07-Sep-21 07:32:13

It is just a cultural thing though isn’t it?

There is no reason why a pre-pubescent child should not see people of either sex unclothed, and imo they are better staying with their guardian than unsupervised with other adults.

Whitewavemark2 Tue 07-Sep-21 07:35:19

I might add that when we used to take our grandsons we all went into a family cubicle to change. Cubicles are also much better if the child wishes for privacy from his grandmother - off they go into their own cubicle. Job done?

JaneJudge Tue 07-Sep-21 07:35:39


My usual swimming pool has individual cubicles for all, with some larger ones for families / people who need assistance etc.

Same here smile saves any bother. Hopefully any newer swimming baths/gyms will adhere to these kind of models as it makes it all accessible, especially when you consider people with a range of disabilities too. A Mum or female carer with an adult son with learning disabilities for example

NotSpaghetti Tue 07-Sep-21 07:46:45

My gym has separate facilities for the comfort of guests with disabilities (with rails, easier shower etc) that is pacious and private.
I was offered use of one of these spaces if not occupied. My gym offers it to help mixed age/sex families apparently. Might be worth asking?

Bibbity Tue 07-Sep-21 07:57:15

My son is 7 and I would not allow him alone in a changing room at 9.
He is still a child and the risk is to large.

frankiemf Tue 07-Sep-21 08:16:29

I agree that under 10s are too young to be alone in a changing room.
I assume we are mainly women on GN.
Has anyone considered that adult males might also feel uncomfortable having a young unsupervised boy in the changing room with them? The risk of even the slightest accusation is there.

DiscoDancer1975 Tue 07-Sep-21 08:23:04

Our leisure centre has family rooms, and cubicles. They are unisex, because we’re all behind closed doors. I have never used the gym showers for example...because they’re communal. I think just a small partition. The pool showers are just for rinsing off and doing hair. Swimming costumes stay on.

I think if it’s all cubicles, there’s no problem. I wouldn’t have wanted my children separate when they were that age.

Gillycats Tue 07-Sep-21 09:01:28

There are usually communal or family changing rooms. They should use that. I strip off in the ladies shower area and would not expect to see boys aged 7+ in there. I wouldn’t take my own sons into the designated ladies areas at that age, nor did I send them in to male areas unaccompanied. There is always a family friendly alternative!

BlueBelle Tue 07-Sep-21 09:22:05

But you are only guessing at the boys age sago you think he looked 9/10, maybe he wasn’t I had two grandsons who were really tall and well developed for their ages but didn’t make them any less vulnerable
Can’t you go in a cubicle yourself then no one boy girl or woman will see you getting changed ?

eazybee Tue 07-Sep-21 09:41:02

I was not pleased when semi -naked in the ladies changing room a mother took a forbidden shortcut to the downstairs cubicles families were supposed to use with two junior aged boys I taught; they sniggered the whole way through and back in school the next day.
Not a cultural thing, more to do with old-er age and modesty.
Gyms are encouraging family membership; provision for children's changing rooms is an issue they have to address.