10 Year Old and Recreation Center

Updated on September 19, 2014
T.Z. asks from Durango, CO
10 answers

We live a couple of blocks from the local recreation center. It's always bustling with people. There are numerous events daily from working out to rock climbing (ask ages, young and old).My question is this, we have a ten year old son and my husband thinks it is fine to drop him off without any friends, completely alone at the pool area. They have life guards that are teenagers to young adults, numerous changing rooms and bathrooms that anyone can go in and I don't think that is a safe place to leave a child alone. Help

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I don't let the kids go to a public place like this. Good grief! He's just a kid.

Have you been inside? What's it like? Open floor plan where the staff can see everyone and no places for pedophiles to get a kid off to themselves? Or it is like most places with a pool, a boys bathroom/changing area then a girls on the other side? Is staff always present inside that changing/bathroom area? Then no, no way I'd let my little kid go alone. They can't keep an adult from picking them up and dragging them off to a stall.

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answers from Washington DC on

No, no, and no. No way would I be okay with this and my husband wouldn't either. We may be too protective, but no way.

At our local pool, 13 is the age to be alone. So my daugther has two more summers before she can be there without an adult.

I am also against dropping kids off at the age of 10 anywhere without an adult around. Sorry, but that's just too young.

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answers from San Francisco on

This is a two part question
1) is it actually legal for you to drop him off?
and 2) does he (your son) WANT to go there on his own?
1) Different pools have different rules. Our pool allows kids (eight and older I think?) to be dropped off unsupervised during lifeguard hours only. No lifeguard, no kids under fourteen allowed without a parent or other adult. I was fine dropping my kids off, they were good swimmers, the pool was well staffed and they had lots of fun.
2) At around age eleven I started going to the public pool on my own and I LOVED it. I wasn't a strong swimmer so I mostly stayed in the shallow end but I always saw kids from school there and had a great time.
If you are worried about "stranger danger" I would hope that at his age he has been taught not to go off with strange adults, get into cars, etc. A busy public place is far safer than a private home after all, as most kids who are victimized are harmed/molested by people they know and trust (so statistically speaking your son is safer at the rec center than he is at Uncle Bob's house!)

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answers from Philadelphia on

Are you even ALLOWED to drop him off at 10 without a parent or guardian? Our pools around here require an adult until the kid is 13. Even with that, I make sure she's there with friends. I'd NEVER drop off my 10 yr old at the pool to hang out all alone.

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answers from Portland on

Talk with the staff so that you'll know how they're organized and how they manage security. Find out if they allow 10 yos to stay without an adult present. It's possible that he can't stay there alone. If he can, stay with your son the first time and see what goes on. I suggest that the rec center is a place in which your son will make friends.

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answers from Washington DC on

Go with your gut, mom.

You need to get dad on board.

Why does he think this is OK? When he was this age, was he allowed to be places like this alone, so his attitude is, "I was fine, he'll be fine too"? That is a trap that parents sometimes fall into, not realizing that (a) times have changed, and many places like rec centers don't allow kids to be unattended and (b) time have changed, and parents need to be more attentive to placing their kids into situation where either the kids are vulnerable OR the kids are set up to get themselves into trouble -- even the best, nicest kid can yield to temptation to get up to mischief in a bustling public place with a pool. I guarantee that if your son gets nabbed by a lifeguard for roughhousing with buddies who turned up at the pool, or kids he just met there, the lifeguard is going to say, "Where are your parents?" Does dad want to be the one to handle that phone call? Or worse, does dad want to be the one to deal with it when he goes back to pick up son and son isn't there -- most likely because he walked off to get a drink at the store next door, but....

I also wonder: If the rec center is this cool, with rock climbing walls etc., why the heck doesn't dad want to spend time there with his son doing those things? Dad's missing out on what sounds like potential good times with his own son.

Does dad think maybe that son "needs to learn to handle himself alone" and this is a good way to teach him that? It's not the rec center's job.

Also, for things like a workout room or rock climbing wall, around here a kid of 10 would have to have a parent present to sign a legal waiver before a child was allowed to use those things. And many workout rooms don't allow kids as young as 10 on the equipment at all. The age limit in our area is 13 for weight rooms and classes, and we've used rock climbing walls that had a lower age limit but required a lot of waivers.

Dad and you need to go down to the rec center and talk to the manager about each activity. I bet you'll find that son can't just stroll into the weight room by himself, or get on a climbing wall, or even go into the pool, possibly.

And all this is without even thinking about the whole "stranger danger" aspect of it. That alone would make me be there with my kid. Dad needs to get some facts and not set a precedent with your son that it's OK for son to be there alone.

Will dad also be OK with dropping son at the mall soon too? That's not even allowed -- malls are private property and have rules that kids can't be dumped there alone, despite the fact that many parents do it.

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answers from New York on

I let my kids go off and do things other parents might not but no way in h-ll would I drop my 10 yr old at a rec center. Can anyone just go in or out? It just strikes me as a bad story waiting to happen. A kid alone. Some creep stakes the place out. Lures the kid. So no way. If it was a private club maybe but a general public rec center? Doesn't seem much different than dropping him at the mall. If I misunderstand and coming in is monitored pretty closely or you know tons of adults who are there and would notice your son with a stranger or something like that, I would feel differently. To me the danger isn't drowning, it's random people.

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answers from Grand Forks on

Our wading pools allow kids 6 and up to be dropped off, and the swimming pools allow kids 8 and up to be dropped off. At ten my son would have walked the couple of blocks, not been dropped off. I don't know what it is like where you live, but where I live it is quite reasonable to let kids go to rec centers and YMCA's on their own. My kids would normally go together or meet up with friends, but they have gone alone from time to time.

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answers from Norfolk on

I'm so against just dropping off kids anywhere - mall, library, rec center, etc.
Did you know in some places gangs start recruiting kids at age 7?
It's too easy for them to get into serious trouble.
What if there's an accident and there's no adult around who can ID the kid or parents who can make sure he gets medical help?
I'm fairly sure the rec center has rules about it and they want parents watching their kids.

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answers from Richmond on

a public pool is no place to leave a child alone..an unaccompanied kid, even a 10 year old boy, is easy pickings for any paedophile who "just happens to come by" , with a towel and "a ride home" ...thanks to "new age parenting" and "free range kids" , paedophiles are getting bolder..dont take chances with your kids safety, go with him to the pool, make certain the child has a way to contact you, a reliable buddy there with them, in case theres a problem, sodas , a few bucks and snacks and drop the kid off and tell them you will be back in 2 hours, and here is where i will meet you..any questions?? two hours ( at ten) with a buddy..and all your bases covered, the kid should be fine, you see the kid being approached by someone you dont know, APPROACH them..anyone with not so honest intentions will back away from the kids mother..trust me K. h.

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