Live long… Laugh often… Love always.
I was sitting at the Minnesota Zoo feeding my kids a snack in a crowded area, glancing around the crowd when I noticed a 4 year old girl fall into the water touch pool. It is a pool about 3 feet deep that has low sides so children and adults can lean over the edge and touch the starfish, and sea anemones, clams and other safe, slow sea animals. She was with a daycare center group of about 50 kids for a field trip but the adults were not close enough to prevent her from falling in. The little girl could clearly not swim as she did not try to right herself to stand up or get out of the pool. An adult chaperon jumped in to the water and rescued her very quickly and as a result from jumping into the pool the adult was wet up to her waist and the little girl was soaked. Thankfully, both the little girl, the adult and the animals appeared to be alright. After surveying her for damage they wrapped a towel around the girl and calmed her down. The group leaders then quickly moved the remaining children from this group to the dolphin tank area to go sit down away from the tide pool. Now that the other children in the group were completely controlled, two of the teachers tended to the wet little girl. In the middle of this busy open public space the adult teachers stripped off all of the four year old’s clothing, took their time drying her off, and slowly put new clothes on her. There was a bathroom less than 50 feet away, the remaining children were under control, so one adult could have easily left with the wet girl to go in the bathroom, to change her clothes, and maybe even use a hand dryer to help dry her hair. But the daycare center teachers chose to expose this little girl, who was clearly uncomfortable with being naked, to hundreds of random strangers watching and walking by.
She was too old to be completely naked in public and she was clearly uncomfortable, she was trying to use her hands to cover her crotch. If it was her mother instead of a daycare teacher I might have thought it was more acceptable. As a parent, when we leave our child with a daycare provider, we entrust them to protect and care for our children, this daycare teacher was clearly not protecting this child. There is no way I would have gotten my 4 year old naked in that busy public area, and I would have freaked out if her daycare providers, whom I entrusted with her care, would have considered getting my child naked and exposing her to the public. This situation made me think if I was upset that this four year old was naked, how old is too old to be naked in public?
Restrooms regularly have changing stations in the common area of the bathroom, thus making parents expose their children who are still in diapers to strangers walking by. I remember one time I was changing my sons diaper and a woman stopped to talk to me and my son and wanted to watch as I changed his diaper. I quickly covered his genitals with a clean diaper as I was wiping his butt because I did not want a stranger looking at his genitals. Is it inappropriate to see children naked when they are in diapers? To me that is questionable.
I remember having the photo studio ask me if I wanted naked pictures of my 5 month old son and telling me that they are not allowed to take the naked shots after children are they are 12 months old. I said, I am just fine with diapered pictures instead of naked. Public photography standard says after 12 months it is too old to take naked pictures of your children. I say is 12 months too old to be naked in public? To me this is still questionable.
I have a few friends who think it is cute to have their 2 year old’s running around naked in the house, because toddlers think it feels good to be naked. I think this is OK in the house, but then I have one friend who liked to take pictures of her 2 year old son playing, while happy and naked. That I start to have a problem with. As a friend, I did not feel that I should be seeing her two year old child’s genitals, when she was sharing her pictures with me. So if you don’t feel that you should be sharing these pictures, should you keep or take these pictures? So is 2 years old too old to be naked in pictures? Yes, I think so!
I heard a story about a woman who allowed her daughters to sleep completely naked on warm nights because she liked to sleep naked, so she thought her daughters would too. She also thought that sleeping children were cute, so she chose to take multiple pictures, over the years of her completely naked, sleeping daughters. So what you might say? Her naked daughters were now 8 and 10 years old. She ended up having child protection services called on her by the photo developers. Fortunately, child protection convinced her that she should not continue these type of photos. What 10 year old would want their naked picture taken? Is 10 years old too old to be naked in public? Yes, I know so!
Why do we have to worry about nudity? Sexual predators and pedophiles may see this seemingly harmless nudity, and use it in disgusting ways, in turn victimizing our children. I have thought before that pedophiles or a child abductor would choose a location where they know there are children, the zoo would seem to be a perfect area, children everywhere, often running loose so they can explore and learn in a seemingly safe place. So these locations that we feel safe allowing our children to be naked, may be the most dangerous areas for our children to be exposed.
So is 10 years old too old to be naked in public? Yes, definitely! Is 6 years old too old to be naked in public? Yes, absolutely! Is 4 years old too old to be naked in public? Yes, absolutely! Is 2 years old too old, in my opinion, yes, absolutely! I will protect my children and do whatever I can to keep their private parts, private.