Is it ok for kids to take off their clothes in public?

July 3, 2015

kids playing in outdoor fountain

A couple of weeks ago Anya and I went shopping to buy a birthday gift for one of her friends.  Near our local shops, we have a large no-car square surrounded by shops with an outdoor play fountain in the middle that the kids adore.  I often see kids turning up in their swimsuits and playing in the fountain till they are drenched.  Playing outside with water is such a fun thing to do for kids and Anya loves it too.  On this day we visited the fountain and I saw at least three kids, aged between 2 and 6 years, playing without any clothes on at all.  I was quite bit taken aback.

I have no problem with kids taking their clothes off as kids, especially the littlest ones,  like to do that and there is absolutely no harm in a private garden or similar private space.  But in a public place in full view of thousands of people, I just didn’t think this was a good idea and I know I would not be comfortable letting Anya do it.  Also age is a factor here –  I mean five or six is just a bit too old to do something like this under any circumstances in public.  Obviously I’m also thinking about the darker side of life where we do live alongside a very small minority of people who may not have good intentions – you know what I mean.  So why put our kids in what could be a vulnerable position?  That’s how I feel but am I over-reacting?  Am I being too cautious and cynical?  I don’t know but it absolutely doesn’t feel right to me.  And even if you set aside any fears of the darker side of life, is it really appropriate to allow your kids to be naked in public?  I don’t think so.

Would you let your kids take off all their clothes in a busy, public place?  All it takes is that one wrong person to see them so I think even though it’s a very small risk, it’s a risk not worth taking.  Similarly I wouldn’t put pictures of my kids without clothes on this blog or any social media either.  But aside from any dangers, I still think there’s no reason for kids to take their clothes off in public.  What do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Have a wonderful weekend full of lots of playtime in the sunshine!  And a very happy 4th of July to my American readers. x

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  • thefolia

    Happy splashing in the fountains! I would just tell my older child to play with their clothes on…yes I agree not everyone has good intentions better to keep it safe!

  • HonestMum

    Absolutely agree no need for clothes off in public whatever age and I never, ever put naked pictures of my children online x

  • Charlene

    It’s probably never too early to teach children that their bodies are private but I know a lot of toddler go through a stripping stage 🙂

    • ebabee likes

      Yes, that’s true! But luckily for most it’s a phase and passes quickly enough! We never had that phase thankfully

  • Tin

    I remember the first time I took my daughter to Edinburgh we ended up at the beach, she was around 18 months old and the crazy toddler ran straight in, fully clothed! She then spent the rest of the day walking around in nothing but a nappy, flip flops and a hat, much to the amusement of everyone on the beach.

    A group of old German tourists started taking photos and my friend freaked out, running to cover her up with a towel, stating that you never know what they wanted the pics for and thinking the worst. I was more relaxed as she was a toddler. Had she been older, say 6 or 7, I wouldn’t have allowed her to walk around without her clothes and I’d have been a hell of a lot more protective of the octogenarian tourists and their cameras!!

    • ebabee likes

      I think you’re absolutely spot on – age and location make a big difference. A not even two year old in a nappy on the beach is absolutely fine. But not sure about those tourists! I love that she ran in fully clothed – too funny!

  • Jimyrie

    It doesn’t seem much of an issue over here in the Netherlands. In most paddling pools or water features there will be a few naked children. Mostly toddler age.
    I moved here over a year ago and seen a slightly more relaxed attitude. I have let my toddler run free a couple of times.
    I think a fear has been instilled in parents (media) and I’m not denying there are dangerous people out there. But it’s a shame because what’s more free than feeling unabashed about your body.

    • ebabee likes

      I agree that kids should be kids but paddling pools or beaches are slightly different than a busy shopping area. I just thought it inappropriate from a safety point of view but also is there really a need and age is also factor – 5 or 6 is way to old i think. Just my opinion and thanks for sharing yours.

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