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Public Bathrooms and Little Girls: Makes Me Shudder!


Heart_Mom
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Help me know if I'm worried for no reason here. My husband is planning on taking my daughters somewhere later today where they will need to use a church bathroom alone. It's not one that he will be able to go into with them.

 

In the past, I've always been with them. So I've been able to make sure the seat is clean, lay down toilet paper, and lift them up so that they don't have to be touching the toilet seat with their hands.

 

If they go in alone (they are 6 and 8), they will have to touch the toilet seat with their hands while they are on the throne, then they will need to wipe with those same hands.

 

This seems to me to be not okay as far as being exposed to nasty germs, etc.

 

Do some of you take precautions like I generally do? Do some of you not even think about this, and just let them go in alone? How can I make it safe for them to use the public bathroom alone?

 

Thoughts?

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Honestly, at 6 and 8 I wouldn't have a problem, as long as they thoroughly wash their hands.

 

If you really wanted to, you could teach them on your own toilet to lay down some toilet paper, but they'd probably do more touching the seat that way than if you just let them use it.

 

Or he could go in with them. He could just ask a woman to see if the "coast is clear" and take the kids in. He could lock the bathroom door (many have locks) while they are in there; just don't take forever.

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Do some of you take precautions like I generally do? Do some of you not even think about this, and just let them go in alone? How can I make it safe for them to use the public bathroom alone?

 

Thoughts?

 

No, at 6 it did not cross my mind to worry about this one bit. By then, Daddy and dd went lots of places without Mommy. Dd is 15, so she survived. A lot of other things got prioritized on the official worry list. This never got consideration for the list.

 

Your girls are together, so they remind each other to put paper done and wash hands.

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I've seen several articles exposing the myth of he dreaded toilet seat. Here's one: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Health/t/story?id=1213831&page=1

 

The dirtiest thing in a public bathroom is usually the paper towel dispenser. But even with that, there really isn't any serious danger. Your children are exposed to more germs than that whenever they handle money, open doors or shake hands with people.

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At 6 and 8 I would be fine sending them in alone together. Just have them wash their hands when they are done. If they were in school they would be using the bathrooms there several times a day without you. Millions of kids do it every day and live to tell about it.

 

Then again I am not a huge worrier about things like this.

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I sympathize. Just remember that thousands of little girls your daughters' ages use the toilets at public schools every day. Most probably never cover the seat or take any kinds of precautions, and they are fine. However, because this makes you so uncomfortable, here are some things you might consider for the future:

 

I don't know if you'd be able to find these in a store near you, but they cover the whole seat, even the sides and front: PottyCovers. Of course, they can't be flushed, so your girls would have to throw them in the trash themselves, which might be awkward for them.

 

Target has mini (purse size) cans of Lysol-type spray, but then the seat would have to be wiped dry with a paper towel before using.

 

Do you have a minivan? You could put a portable toilet in the back.

 

Or, just tell your girls to check the seat before they cover it, to use plenty of toilet paper so their hands don't touch their bottoms, and to wash their hands when they're done. They'll be fine.

 

Edited to add: I think the other posters' suggestions to just not worry about it will be more helpful in the long run than the things I suggested above. :)

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It is not that big of a deal. Teach them to make sure the seat is clean/dry and let it go. My mom always covered the seat and hovered. She wanted us to as well, I just could not do it. I have survived with no illness contracted from a toilet seat.

 

When dd was first potty trained we were headed out of town to a wedding. I had bathed her and had her ready except for her dress. We stopped to use the bathroom, it was a very clean bathroom. She took her hands off the toilet seat to get toilet paper and fell in. She caught herself, bit her booty touched the water!! I had to just let it go. I dried her and had to not think about it. I have her a bath at my first opportunity, she is fine and had no health issues from the incident.

 

Germs are everywhere. Teach your kids good hygiene and some basic public bathroom rules for staying cleaner and they will be fine.

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Thanks for your encouragement and kind words, ladies. :)

 

I struggle with germaphobic tendencies in general, so it's not easy for me to deal with this. I think the best thing for me to do is to give them some common sense instructions, entrust them to the Lord's care, then just not think about it.

 

So what say you: assuming that a toilet seat looks clean, is it better to have them put toilet paper down on the seat or not. I like the idea of a barrier, but if they are going to end up touching the seat to put the paper down that's probably worse. Thoughts? I think the thing that makes me the most concerned with the bathroom issue is the chance of their priv@te parts accidentally coming in contact with the seat as they get on or off (they are still pretty little!).

 

I'm really ready to not be concerned with germs any longer, in general, but I do need to figure out what reasonable precautions are in different situations. This might sound silly, but some safety issues are easier for me to let go than others. For instance: I don't worry about my children's safety in the car because there are defined and reasonable precautions I can take (have everyone strapped in appropriately, drive responsibly, etc.). I know that we could still be injured in a car accident, but I can know that I've done what I could to protect them. But with other things (like keeping them safe from germs) it seems much more nebulous to me as to exactly what are "enough" precautions to take.

 

Maybe I should start some threads here to see what precautions are generally thought to be reasonable in different situations. For instance, when I have a young baby (like right now!) and I need to leave the church sanctuary to go nurse I have to touch lots of door handles on the way to the nursing room. If it's cold and flu season, I use some hand sanitizer before I nurse her, since my hands need to come in contact with the place where she's about to put here mouth. Is this totally silly and overboard, or reasonable. I just don't know!

 

Thanks again, everyone!

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Could you give them a little Pack of baby wipes to carry ? The 8 yr old should be old enough to wipe the seat down a bit. You just don't know what the person before did, if the seat will even be dry. Makes me gag just thinking about it!

 

I feel worse about some public toilets than others. Church wouldn't be as bad as say, a truck stop or McDonalds. I would tell dh to make sure they scrub their hands.

 

 

 

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One other thing: many of you said that you'd be fine as long as they thoroughly wash their hands. Do you think it's okay for them to turn of the faucet and open the door with those washed hands, or should they use a paper towel to touch turn off the faucet and door handle? (I bet you can guess what I do. :o ) What do you do?

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I totally understand where you're coming from!

 

I think the best thing for me to do is to give them some common sense instructions, entrust them to the Lord's care, then just not think about it.

 

 

:thumbup1: "Be anxious for nothing..." no doubt includes fears about public bathrooms.

 

So what say you: assuming that a toilet seat looks clean, is it better to have them put toilet paper down on the seat or not. I like the idea of a barrier, but if they are going to end up touching the seat to put the paper down that's probably worse. Thoughts? I think the thing that makes me the most concerned with the bathroom issue is the chance of their priv@te parts accidentally coming in contact with the seat as they get on or off (they are still pretty little!).

 

 

Just show them at home how to lay the paper down without touching the seat.

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Makes me gag just thinking about it!

 

 

I'm glad I'm not the only one! :)

 

I think one reason it's so hard for me to be moderate with germ precautions is that everyone has a different idea of what's reasonable.

 

When I was growing up, I don't remember washing hands when we came home from somewhere, but in my house now we do.

 

As a side note, I'll mention that I did not think once about germs growing up. (My mom is very un-germaphobic.) It wasn't until I was taken out to a really bad restaurant when I was about 20 years old that I ever thought about germs. It was really dirty there, and the menu stuck together when I tried to open it. For some reason, it totally changed my response to germs.

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One other thing: many of you said that you'd be fine as long as they thoroughly wash their hands. Do you think it's okay for them to turn of the faucet and open the door with those washed hands, or should they use a paper towel to touch turn off the faucet and door handle? (I bet you can guess what I do. :o ) What do you do?

 

 

I do what you do, but most people don't and are fine.

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My dd is four, and she uses the bathroom alone in public places. I do go into the main part of the bathroom to make sure there aren't any creeps hanging around, but she goes into the stall and handles everything herself. I've told her that if she sees poop, to pick a different stall to use, but other than that, I let her handle it. She washes her hands by herself afterwards, and that's that. I can count on one hand the number of times she's gotten sick in her life.

 

I know it's hard not to worry about it- I've been diagnosed with OCD and believe me, I really, really understand- but you can safely cross this one off your list. They'll be fine. ;)

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:thumbup1: "Be anxious for nothing..." no doubt includes fears about public bathrooms.

 

 

 

You are surely right!

 

I was reading Psalm 20 this morning and verse 7 says this:

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."

 

For me, I need to think of it this way:

"Some trust in hand sanitizer and some in clorox wipes, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."

 

I know that sounds silly, but I need to remember that God works all things to the counsel of His will. As long as I know I've been responsible to take care of my children, I can easily trust Him for the results. I guess I have to trust that even if I'm not sure I've taken all the right precautions that He will also take care of the results.

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One other thing: many of you said that you'd be fine as long as they thoroughly wash their hands. Do you think it's okay for them to turn of the faucet and open the door with those washed hands, or should they use a paper towel to touch turn off the faucet and door handle? (I bet you can guess what I do. :o ) What do you do?

 

 

They'll be fine. ;) With the faucet, everyone that touches it is going to have just washed their hands, so you're probably good there. And with the door handle, the odds that someone is going to get some germs on their hand, transfer them to the door handle, and those germs are going to survive for however long and make your kids sick are pretty tiny.

 

And remember, not every germ your kiddos come into contact with are going to make them sick. Ninety-nine percent of the time, if they do pick up some germs their immune system will fight it right off.

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I was reading Psalm 20 this morning and verse 7 says this:

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."

 

For me, I need to think of it this way:

"Some trust in hand sanitizer and some in clorox wipes, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."

 

 

Amen, sister. :)

 

I know that sounds silly, but I need to remember that God works all things to the counsel of His will. As long as I know I've been responsible to take care of my children, I can easily trust Him for the results. I guess I have to trust that even if I'm not sure I've taken all the right precautions that He will also take care of the results.

 

 

This is absolutely true and such a good perspective to have. Hopefully just thinking through all this will bring you peace in the future.

 

Everyone has shared such good thoughts here.

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So what say you: assuming that a toilet seat looks clean, is it better to have them put toilet paper down on the seat or not. I like the idea of a barrier, but if they are going to end up touching the seat to put the paper down that's probably worse. Thoughts? I think the thing that makes me the most concerned with the bathroom issue is the chance of their priv@te parts accidentally coming in contact with the seat as they get on or off (they are still pretty little!).

 

I'm really ready to not be concerned with germs any longer, in general, but I do need to figure out what reasonable precautions are in different situations. This might sound silly, but some safety issues are easier for me to let go than others. For instance: I don't worry about my children's safety in the car because there are defined and reasonable precautions I can take (have everyone strapped in appropriately, drive responsibly, etc.). I know that we could still be injured in a car accident, but I can know that I've done what I could to protect them. But with other things (like keeping them safe from germs) it seems much more nebulous to me as to exactly what are "enough" precautions to take.

 

Maybe I should start some threads here to see what precautions are generally thought to be reasonable in different situations. For instance, when I have a young baby (like right now!) and I need to leave the church sanctuary to go nurse I have to touch lots of door handles on the way to the nursing room. If it's cold and flu season, I use some hand sanitizer before I nurse her, since my hands need to come in contact with the place where she's about to put here mouth. Is this totally silly and overboard, or reasonable. I just don't know!

 

Thanks again, everyone!

 

Heart_Mom,

 

I have 3 closely spaced kids that I raised, for all intents and purposes, alone.

 

I *never* worried about or did the things you are trying to specifically delineated. Never worried about toilet seats, door knobs, etc.

 

My kids were typically @ the Dr.'s office the least of my mothering peer cohort and I am personally infrequently sick (even during life stages when I *should* be due to chronic stress and lowered immune function).

 

Now, I realize you can't just stop; your level of concern might even need some outside help to work through. But the assumptions underlying the thoughts behind your decisions are simply not a valid premise.

 

On the bold, I just want to say that level of concern is probably not serving you and your family for the best; it is probably more of a cumberance. {{hugs}}

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Heart_Mom,

 

I have 3 closely spaced kids that I raised, for all intents and purposes, alone.

 

I *never* worried about or did the things you are trying to specifically delineated. Never worried about toilet seats, door knobs, etc.

 

My kids were typically @ the Dr.'s office the least of my mothering peer cohort and I am personally infrequently sick (even during life stages when I *should* be due to chronic stress and lowered immune function).

 

Now, I realize you can't just stop; your level of concern might even need some outside help to work through. But the assumptions underlying the thoughts behind your decisions are simply not a valid premise.

 

On the bold, I just want to say that level of concern is probably not serving you and your family for the best; it is probably more of a cumberance. {{hugs}}

Thanks so much for your kind reply and your honesty. I know that my concerns are not typical, and this thread has helped me to see that more. The desire to take good care of my children is good; I just need to make sure the way it plays out is truly beneficial and reasonable and not, as you said, a cumbrance. Thanks for saying it that way.

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By ages 6 & 8, they are probably tall enough to use toilets without touching the seats with their hands. My girls know to choose non-handicapped accessible stalls. Those are usually the only ones with tall toilets. I've always told my girls to use their foot or toilet paper to flush public toilets. Your girls will probably use a paper towel to open the door upon leaving, if that is what they have seen you do.

 

Also, you mentioned they would be at a church. Many churches have restrooms either in or near the children's area that have even smaller toilets. Even our 100 member church has small child sized toilets. Your dh could look for those.

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My 6 and 4 year olds go in together without me, and have for probably at least a year. The biggest reason I don't send the 4 year old by herself is because sometimes she will have trouble with a door, or if she can't reach the soap, sink, or paper towel dispenser, she will just yell for someone to come help her.

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My kids started going in alone at age 4. Unless it was a genuinely unusual situation - a sick kid, for example - they haven't been in with my since then. Agreed with others that you have to try and let it go. It's not really rational fears. You can, of course, buy products that will make you feel better (toilet seat covers, etc.) but really, you're better off saving your money and trying to take some steps to let go.

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Remind them before they leave that in the restroom, they should wipe the seat, flush, and wash their hands. That's all I do. My kids have been using public restrooms without me for years (they are 5 and 6 now).

 

I never put toilet paper on the seat, ever. If it is that nasty and there isn't a clean one available, I will keep wiping the seat until I consider it clean enough, and then sit on it. Seriously, if it's that nasty, I don't see how a thin layer of tp is going to make a difference. Just take your time in the stall, so any microscopic nast that stays on the seat has time to die after you wipe it off. This is what my kids have seen me do for years, so they know the drill, but I'll bet they don't always follow it. I'm not about to lose sleep over it, though. I'm just happy they are generally good about washing their hands afterwards.

 

If your kids were in school, they would already be old pros at using a shared bathroom without help. Focus your mind on something else. Germs are not that powerful (unless there is an immune deficiency involved).

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I hate public bathrooms and avoid them at all costs. I have instructed my children on exactly what I want them to do in the stall, not to touch ANYTHING that isn't absolutely necessary, and how to wash their hands and open the door with a paper towel on their way out. Maybe do some role playing with them before they go?

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I would avoid making a huge deal out of it because you might inadvertently pass on your intense worry over germs. I can't imagine going through life worrying a lot about germs because it's impossible to avoid them. KWIM?

 

I can't tolerate antibacterial products. It literally eats away at my skin. So I never use them. I am rarely sick and my kids are rarely sick. In fact the doctor always asks why we are only there once a year (for a physical). Because we aren't sick!

:iagree: I completely agree.

We take no precautions except washing our hands on the way out of the bathroom.

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Delegate to DH, let it go, and don't ask about it later.

 

I like this advice! :)

 

I gave my girls a little prep: don't touch anything you don't need to and wash your hands well when you're done.

 

I'm totally at peace with it and I bet they will have a great time!

 

Thanks again for all your help. This thread has really helped me! :hugs:

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I was about to say "as long as they don't lick the walls in there, they will be fine." Then I remembered the time one of my kids (then a tot) licked a wall in a restaurant bathroom. Ugh. No, I do not feel nostalgic for the toddler years!

 

PS, said kid is still very much alive!

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hasn't it been proven that putting down paper doesn't do anything to "stop" the germs if they are on the seat? I don't know if that makes you feel better or not :)

 

This does make me feel better, because now I won't bother to do it. I truly only want to take precautions that are reasonable, necessary, and helpful. So I'm glad to know! :)

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I was about to say "as long as they don't lick the walls in there, they will be fine." Then I remembered the time one of my kids (then a tot) licked a wall in a restaurant bathroom. Ugh. No, I do not feel nostalgic for the toddler years!

 

PS, said kid is still very much alive!

 

The toddler years are challenging, aren't they? It's nice when they get above a certain age, then you'll know they are not likely to try to something completely inane like eat a beetle. (My current 6 year old did that when she was about one year old.)

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The toddler years are challenging, aren't they? It's nice when they get above a certain age, then you'll know they are not likely to try to something completely inane like eat a beetle. (My current 6 year old did that when she was about one year old.)

 

 

Sad thing was, I (incapacitated at that moment!) saw it happen like slow motion and I was all WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU DON'T LICK THE FILTHY WALL OF A FILTHY PUBLIC TOILET," after which she got all broken-hearted. Dude! Ask me first before you lick anything ever again! (Yeah, sure.)

 

IIRC the wall was painted chocolate brown. Maybe it reminded her of Hershey's? Gross.

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Sad thing was, I (incapacitated at that moment!) saw it happen like slow motion and I was all WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU DON'T LICK THE FILTHY WALL OF A FILTHY PUBLIC TOILET," after which she got all broken-hearted. Dude! Ask me first before you lick anything ever again! (Yeah, sure.)

 

IIRC the wall was painted chocolate brown. Maybe it reminded her of Hershey's? Gross.

 

It's hard to NOT freak out in situations like that isn't it? (Even though it does nothing to fix it!)

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I think public bathrooms are completely icky :ack2:. I always thought the squatting toilets in Asia were so much more sanitary since nobody ever touched anything.

 

 

I saw this and chuckled. We lived in China. It took me forever to have the leg strength to squat and be able to get back up without almost having to get on my knees so I could get back up. I have often wondered if the women in China don't

have some kind of different hip structure. They would squat and work all day. I'm very tall and come from Celtic/German descent. It is really hard for me to squat like that. I'm sure way more info than you wanted to know. It just brought back some funny memories.

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Just remember that thousands of little girls your daughters' ages use the toilets at public schools every day.

 

:iagree:

 

I used to be a public schoolteacher... trust me, you do NOT want to use the student's bathrooms for this reason. :laugh: Yet, those kiddos are fine and many do not wash their hands after using the bathroom to eat at snack or lunch. Egad. Thank goodness for our white blood cells.

 

Unless you have an immuniocompromise issue (son and I have one with a rare liver disease) -- I would not worry about it. Heck, I even use the bathroom without a seat cover -- it has been proven the toilet seat is cleaner than other areas in the bathroom. Just be sure to wash your hands! HTH

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I saw this and chuckled. We lived in China. It took me forever to have the leg strength to squat and be able to get back up without almost having to get on my knees so I could get back up. I have often wondered if the women in China don't

have some kind of different hip structure. They would squat and work all day. I'm very tall and come from Celtic/German descent. It is really hard for me to squat like that. I'm sure way more info than you wanted to know. It just brought back some funny memories.

 

 

My friend from India has this problem too. She had to devise all sorts of tricks to be able to use the restroom at the bank where she worked. Thankfully, on my trips to China and India, I was able to do the squat with no problems. :) But there was one stop where we got a hotel room with a filthy Western bathroom. So filthy that I could not even stomach the thought of cleaning it enough to use. IIRC I just held it until we went someplace cleaner. There was also one tourist spot where apparently the locals thought the entire restroom (floor and all) was fair game. Again, I held my "peess" until a cleaner stop down the line. Ah, memories!

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