Feature Article - May 2008
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All in the Family

Ensuring Locker Rooms & Restrooms Are Fit for Everyone

By Stacy St. Clair

Privacy, Please

Experts say anecdotal evidence suggests that video voyeurism has increased dramatically in recent years because of the ease in which the devices can be hidden. Many cameras are now wireless or installed in cell phones, so they no longer sport the wires that made recorders easier to spot less than a decade ago. The images now can be transmitted directly to computers or recorded on drives that can be plugged directly into a television or USB port.

Locker rooms—especially family-style ones filled with children—can become prime targets for such atrocious acts. Luckily, recreation managers have the law on their side.

Nearly all 50 states consider illegal taping of a child a felony. At least 19 states currently classify video voyeurism against adults as a felony, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime. At least four others have bills pending. In order to cut down video voyeurism at your facility, consider the following:

Prohibit the use of cell phones in all locker rooms. Yes, it's a tad inconvenient, but it's worth the peace of mind knowing that no one is using their phones for illicit purposes.

Enforce the ban. Countless clubs prohibit the use of cell phones, but many patrons use them anyway for harmless chats. Encourage locker room attendants to (politely) crack down on innocent offenders. It'll send a message.

Post signage reminding patrons that camera use in the locker room is a crime. Implore patrons to report any suspicious activity.

Material World

When designing a family bathroom or locker room, it's also important to select materials just like you would any other bathroom or locker area. The fixtures and floors must be durable, graffiti-proof and water-resistant.

Experts recommend selecting solid surfaces so the staff can easily buff out scratches. It's also wise to install under-mounted sinks, which allow you to take a towel and wipe excess water into the sink because there's no raised lip and no loose piece of caulk around the edge that can be stained or become a maintenance problem.

In aquatic or showering facilities, select flooring that is clean, sanitary and slip-resistant. The floor should be able to tolerate constant exposure or water. Shower flooring also must be waterproof. Seamless systems are excellent options for preventing buildup in tiled floors. Some manufacturers even offer flooring with an anti-microbial additive that protects the floor from fungal staining, odor and inferior hygiene. In addition to custom convenience, a swimsuit water extractor is an economical and easy way to prevent excess water from hitting the floors and lockers.