A Utah man says he was assaulted for bringing his 5-year-old daughter into the men’s restroom at Walmart, KSL-TV (Salt Lake City) is reporting.
Christopher Adams was at the Walmart in Clinton, Utah, on Sunday with his kids, 7-year-old son Kyler and 5-year-old daughter Emery when both kids announced they had to “go.” Adams, not feeling comfortable letting the 5-year-old go to the women’s room by herself, did the only thing he could do: he brought her into the men’s room with him.
— Unruh, Wes (@WesUnruh) May 25, 2016
Not for nothing, bringing the young girl into the men’s restroom was a perfectly reasonable thing to do under the circumstances, says Clinton Police Lt. Shawn Stoker.
“This is a situation where a father felt the most reasonable and safe thing for him to do is to take his children inside the restroom with him, and the customer took exception to that.”
Another patron, who happened to walk into the men’s restroom at that time, saw things differently, as Adams explains.
“This guy walks in and goes to the bathroom, the urinal. Then he just, like, turns to me and starts freaking out, dropping the ‘F-bomb,’ and what he was freaking out about was that my daughter was in the men’s bathroom.”
The two men scuffled, and Adams says that when he turned his attention from his assailant to make sure his kids were OK, the man sucker-punched him. That’s when Adams defended himself.
“I just slammed him on the ground and just held him until associates from Walmart could get there.”
Adams emerged from the struggle with a handful of minor injuries, including bruising on his face, possible broken cartilage around his ribs, and intense pain in his knee, where his assailant repeatedly kicked him.
Adams’ assailant, who police have not publicly identified as of this writing, left Walmart that day in handcuffs. He’s been charged with disorderly conduct and possible assault charges may be forthcoming.
Adams faced a dilemma that day that many parents will have to face at one point or another: what to do when a child needs to use the bathroom but there is no same-sex parent to accompany them into the bathroom. What should a parent do in a situation where a child is old enough to see things she probably shouldn’t be seeing but is too young to use a bathroom by herself?
Unfortunately, there is no hard-and-fast answer, and parents must make those decisions for themselves.
Writing in Children’s MD, Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann explains the difficulties she has with her own kids when it comes to public bathrooms.
“I still drag my 4-year-old son into the ladies’ room, but things are getting harder with my 9-year-old son. One hotel we stayed at even had a sign outside the restrooms stating that any child over age 7 had to use a gender-appropriate restroom.”
Dr. Berchelmann explains further that, if possible, a parent should ask a security guard or store employee to accompany their child into a public restroom. Failing that, the parent should stand outside the bathroom door and continually ask their child if everything is OK and reinforcing safety rules.
In a perfect world, stores and other businesses open to the public should offer so-called “family restrooms” – that is, a single-stall facility where a child can “go” in private. Already several states have laws requiring businesses with more than six toilets to offer a “family restroom” or “unisex restroom.”
— Newport News Library (@NNLibrary) May 6, 2016
One thing you should never do, according to Lt. Stoker, is raise a ruckus with a parent if you have a problem with them bringing their child into a bathroom. If you have concerns, he says, talk to a store manager instead of confronting the individual yourself.
[Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images]