Dad plus daughter plus public restroom equals chat with police

Last Monday, Chris worked from home. In the afternoon, he took Kaitlyn to a nearby park to play. This park has two play structures, a newer one near the front and an older one near the back, and a bathroom building.  When Kaitlyn needed to go potty, they were at the front playground, so he put her in the car and drove her to the back of the park to go to the bathroom.

Chris has a policy of never taking Kaitlyn into a men’s bathroom, because they are always filthy. He doesn’t even like the boys going into them. So, Chris took Kaitlyn into the women’s bathroom just long enough to help her up onto the potty, then he stood outside the building waiting for her to finish. When she called to him that she was done, he went back in to help her wash her hands, then they got back in the car and drove back to the front of the park.

Kaitlyn ran off to play and Chris started chatting with another Dad that was there with his daughter, and as they were sitting there, a police car pulled up.  The officer got out and walked right up to Chris. “Sir”, he said, “is that little girl over there your daughter?”, pointing to Kaitlyn. “Yes”, Chris said.

Someone had CALLED THE POLICE to report a suspicious man coming out of the women’s bathroom with a little girl and putting her into a car. A happy, skipping, smiling little girl who was then driven BACK TO THE PLAYGROUND to continue playing after using the potty.  The person who called the police apparently forgot to KEEP WATCHING the SUSPICIOUS MAN to see what he did with the little girl after putting her in the car.

Not only that, but all the cop did is ASK Chris if he was Kaitlyn’s father. Wouldn’t a kidnapper or molester or whatever just say oh yeah sure, I’m her Dad?  The cop didn’t ask Kaitlyn to point to her Dad or anything. How did he know Chris was who he said he was?   I guess I’m glad the police took the call seriously in case something suspicious was going on,  but it still bugs me.

I’m not faulting the police, what makes me angry about all of this is that I live in a society where a man with a little girl can be so easily pegged as suspicious. Dads take their daughters out places, and those daughters have to go potty, what is the Dad supposed to do?

I took my boys to lots of parks when they were little, and took them in and out of bathrooms, and no one ever called the police on me. And yet a woman could just as easily be a kidnapper or molester.   I’m angry FOR my husband, that he would have to explain himself while enjoying an afternoon at a park with his daughter.  I’m angry that someone glanced at Chris standing outside that bathroom, or coming out of it with Kaitlyn, and thought OMG I NEED TO CALL THE POLICE.

Has anything like this ever happened to your husband or significant other?  Would you have called the police if you’d seen a man come out of a woman’s bathroom with a young girl, if the situation was the  same as I  described?  I’d really like to know what you think about this.

Social networking for UK Moms (I mean, Mums!) is a fun, safe place for UK Mums (the British word for Mom) to ask each other parenting questions, post photos of their precious babies, join groups, and buy, sell, or swap used baby gear. Current topics posted in the pregnancy section include how to pick a name and shopping for all the stuff you need for a baby. I like the colors on the site, cool pinks and greens, and it’s organized really well. Users have to be registered to view more than just a sample of the topics posted, and you can’t see baby photos at all without being registered.

I learned something new from visiting the site- what we in the USA call nursery school or preschool is called nursery in the UK. And I learned that being nervous about sending a toddler to school is a universal worry. The Mums posting on the site are worried about their children crying at drop-off, being teased, making friends, just like I was when I sent my oldest child to preschool. Only I didn’t have a social networking site where I could share my concerns and get feedback from other Moms, Moms today are lucky to have that!

I think AllMums is doing a great job with their site and I hope if you are reading this and are in the U.K. that you will give the site a visit. Raising children means constantly wondering if you are doing things right, if you are the only one who feels the way you do, and it’s great to have a place to go to learn that you are not alone.

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