Ok, if one ONLY looks at the metro area in general areas, sure, statistically west and south county are safer. We are not doing that...we are talking specific neighborhoods and areas, most of which being recommended are just as safe as anywhere else. That is the point. It is disingenuous to say certain neighborhoods in south city, dogtown, etc are not safe because they are not south or west county. I used to work in Ronnies Plaza,...I felt I was way more at risk driving home from there then I ever do driving on the interstate through ESTL. There are a ton of teenagers who drink and then cruise and race up and down lindbergh. I know of multiple fatal car crashed involving kids at lindbergh highschool in just the last several years....so I could say anyplace around there is totally not safe for a single mom. There are also a lot of drugs in west and south county...and meth I know is pretty rampant in south county...definitely not safe. Kirkwood is often recommended as one of the best places to live in the area (and I agree its lovely) but lets see, not only was there a random shoot out at a council meeting, there was also a kidnapping pedophile living there...oh yeah, speaking of pedophiles, have you searched areas of west and south county for registered sex offenders? I dont want to keep going on because it may sound to the OP like nowhere is safe and that is just not true. However, St. Louis is a large metro area so there are a lot of people all smooshed together, crime happens.
Looking at the OPs needs...budget friendly, school and hospital around kingshighway and 40, etc I am sorry, most areas in south and west county are not practical. The neighborhoods mentioned, especially like Dogtown, parts of Maplewood and U.City even, etc are very safe and family friendly.