Do your children play in the street? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 32 Old 08-11-2007, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Do your children play in the street?

In my neighborhood there are plenty of children ranging from about 5-9 that ride bikes, scooters, skate boards, etc in the street usually without adult supervision. We live in a neighborhood where the posted speed limits are 25 mph but my house is the 4th house from a main road where cars usually go about 40/45 (even though it is posted at 35 mph). Sometimes cars that turn off the main road go a little too fast for a residential area, particularly the construction workers (there are new houses being built in the area). Anyways, I was a little shocked at first about the young (5 & 6 yos) playing in the street but I have grown used to it and I figure the parents know their children better than I do and that is their decision to make.

To get to my point - Yesterday I was outside with my two boys and a few of the young neighborhood children began to play with us including one mom and her 1yo ds. We had a few of our "bikes" outside that the kids were playing on including ds1 and they brought over a few of theirs. Our sidewalks are right next to the street and there is a constant stream of water on the street right next to the sidewalk which the dcs found irresistable. They were riding in the water which is technically in the street but is right next to the sidewalk. Of course ds1 wanted to join in on the fun and kept going in the street as well. He had a hard time understanding why the other kids could go in the street and he couldn't. Even the other 1yo was stomping in the water on the street.

On one hand I don't think my dcs should play in the street at all, even if it is in a puddle next to the sidewalk. I don't want them to think it is ok to play in the street like the other kids do (they generally are in the middle of the street). I also want to be consistent with them. To be honest I don't even see myself permitting them to play in the street at 5 yo, especially not supervised.

On the other hand, thinking back, maybe it wasn't that big of a deal. He just wanted to play in the water that was right next to the sidewalk and I was right there as was another mom so it's not like he would have been in any immediate danger. I definately don't want to be like my parents who wouldn't even let us cross a street or ride our bike in the street until maybe 8th grade and I'm talking small town USA.

Wow, what a long post! I guess what I want to know is whether your children play (ride bikes, etc) in the street. How old were they when you made the decision? Was it an age decision or a maturity decision for you? What type of street do you live on? What factors would come into play for your family to change your mind either to not allowing them (if you do now) or allowing them (if you don't now).

BTW - I'm not planning on sending my 2.5yo and 1yo to play in the street any time soon, I am just curious.

SJ
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#2 of 32 Old 08-11-2007, 12:34 AM
 
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My dd is 7 and is not allowed to play in the street. The street in front of our home is quite busy. The side street is not so busy. When she is older she might ride a bike in the street to get somewhere as there are not sidewalks everywhere. She isn't really interested in riding her bike these days.
We have a very large yard so there is really no reason for dd to be in the street playing.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#3 of 32 Old 08-11-2007, 12:41 AM
 
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it is a judgement call. We play in our street all the time, but I live on the end of a teeny, tiny cul-de-sac that sees maybe 5 cars a day.

Mom to Morgan 4-3-06 and announcing Baby Kelsey 4-11-10
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#4 of 32 Old 08-11-2007, 12:42 AM
 
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Well, "my" street is 6 lanes with lots of non-stop traffic flowing quickly in both directions, except at rush hour when it just sits there -- so no, I don't let my DS play in the street.

To me this depends on your street -- if it's quiet, and has some traffic calming measures that would make cars go slowly enough I can see allowing my child to play there. I worked on a street like that (group home) -- it was a suburban cul-de-sac with about 6 houses. The street was a deadend so any car coming onto the street would have to stop and turn, and would be able to see clearly to the end of the street before they speeded back up. I think I would let my child ride his bike or scooter on a street like that.
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#5 of 32 Old 08-11-2007, 01:01 AM
 
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Hi MissSJ

Well, I let my boys ride their bikes in the street but only if I'm around. Our rule has been that once the training wheels come off, then you are ready to learn how to safely ride in the street. Frankie was 4.5, Christopher learned a little before turning 4. It isn't easy to turn on sidewalks/driveways when you are first learning to ride w/out training wheels.

I now trust ds1 to ride in the street with less direct supervision than ds2 (I stay very close because he needs help getting started and gets nervous if I'm not near), but I'm always out there if he's out there. They aren't out there without supervision.

Thanks for replying to my thread. I'm so stressed over it all. We should get together soon!
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#6 of 32 Old 08-11-2007, 09:32 AM
 
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Yes. She's been allowed in the street since she could walk, at 10 months old. Of course we live in a cul de sac, with only 4 houses, and we know all our neighbors. 3 of us have children, and the last one is a very elderly couple who rarely drive and when they do they are extremely cautious. I'd never just let her go out there alone, but all the neighborhood kids (5 total, ranging in age from dd-2years to 14 years) play in the street. It depends on your situation. In another part of our neighborhood, where you first drive in, there are always kids (5-8 years old) playing in the street alone. That, I would not allow. People do drive into the neighborhood too fast, even though, like yours, the speed limit is 25 mph. So, depending on how I felt about a particular street, I may or may not allow them to play on it, but never alone.
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#7 of 32 Old 08-11-2007, 01:36 PM
 
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I would have felt okay about my toddler playing in the puddle with the others, since I was right there and I know she'd be safe. As to this making her think it's okay to go in the street all the time -- well, at that age she's always going to be under my supervision, anyway.

Our street is similar to yours -- a sidestreet really close to a busy one. Blessedly, it's one-way heading towards the busy street, so cars aren't generally turning from the busy street onto ours (though sometimes people do break the rules).

At the same time, being a one-way street in an inner-city neighborhood where houses were built before cars became prevalent, it's very narrow and has parked cars lined up and down both sides (as not many have driveways), so there is very little space for bike-riding, and kids would literally have to ride in the middle of the street.

So when my 7yo starts riding her 2-wheeler, she'll be doing it on the sidewalk, not out in the street.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#8 of 32 Old 08-11-2007, 04:53 PM
 
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Yes. My kids are a lot younger so I'm always out there with them, watching them closely. There is a group of about 6 families on my street that we are close with. Every night after dinner we all go outside, into the street, and play (bikes, scooters, big wheels, battery-operated cars, etc.). With 5-12 parents outside at one time, we all look out for each other's kids. When a car is coming, we all yell "CAR!" and we run to the nearest child and help them onto the sidewalk.

We live on a cal-d-sac (sp?) street so we don't have threw traffic-everyone on the street knows us and is very respectful about slowing down for the kiddos. It's really nice actually...
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#9 of 32 Old 08-11-2007, 07:03 PM
 
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Yes and no. 1, they are never ouside unless we are out with them. 2, usually around the evenings there is little to no traffic on our little community street and kids are skate boarding, playing basketball, etc....in those times, yes but we are always with them but never during the day and by themselves.

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#10 of 32 Old 08-11-2007, 07:24 PM
 
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Yes. My youngest is 4 years old and we live on a one-way that is not busy. In fact its usually crowded so cars can't go fast either. We have about 15 kids that live on our one-block street. So the street always has kids on it. People who live on our street are very familiar with the kids. The only issue we have is when people get "lost" and go the wrong way down our street surprising the kiddos. My kids are only allowed out when I'm in my office (that overlooks the backyard and street) and only allowed to play in the fenced yard during that time. When I AM outside they can play in the street with the other kids because I'm supervising and can watch for cars etc. Here, we don't have big yards, we have mini yards. So when all the kids want to play together they dont have much option other than hangout on the sidewwalks and street. City living.

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#11 of 32 Old 08-11-2007, 10:58 PM
 
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I wouldn't let my child out unsupervised. Anyone could quickly whisk your child away. People are creeps. And playing in the street? Heck no.
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#12 of 32 Old 08-11-2007, 11:22 PM
 
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We live on a street that doesn't get a LOT of traffic, though there is some, and some people park in front of their houses. Our garages are all in the back, so it's not like someone is going to back out of a driveway and hit a child. My teenagers can ride their bikes/scooters/walk wherever they want. The almost-six-year old can ride his bike or scooter in the street if I am watching him, and the two-year old as well, though he's so slow on his scooter he doesn't go far. Our neighbors have a set of orange cones that they will put out in the street to warn drivers that children are playing; I'm thinking about getting some of those, too.

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#13 of 32 Old 08-11-2007, 11:28 PM
 
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Absolutely not.

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#14 of 32 Old 08-12-2007, 12:58 AM
 
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Really depends.

I expect good street etiquette from my children. If they are too young, or too out of control I don't. However, children on our street don't do everything out on the street. The sidewalk and the front lawns are the usual rule.

However, street hockey is STREET hockey. And when older, riding on the street is better than the sidewalk.

And another however - I live within a block of an elementary school. One driving around MUST expect little children with no sense to be around.

(for example the children with no sense - I saw eight boys with those Step cars, the two smallest in the cars holding hockey sticks in front of them, and each car powered by 3 older boys, getting ready to plow at each other....oh man......)
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#15 of 32 Old 08-12-2007, 11:03 AM
 
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Absolutely not. This is not something I can take a chance with.
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#16 of 32 Old 08-12-2007, 12:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
However, street hockey is STREET hockey. And when older, riding on the street is better than the sidewalk.
That's a good point. When the little kids are out with their trikes, it's a little scary to see older kids riding rapidly around them on their bikes. When my oldest was riding her trike at age 3, a 7 or 8yo boy accidentally crashed into her on his bike. He'd lost control when he hit a rock, going rather fast. She was okay, but it did hurt.

The main difference is, when my 7yo's out riding on the sidewalk, I'll be out there, too, watching out for safety issues. That boy's mother wasn't out there, and the average 7 or 8yo isn't going to be looking out for the little kids in his way.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#17 of 32 Old 08-12-2007, 12:37 PM
 
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We play in the street on our road. It is a long dead end road in a small town. We have walked it multiple times a day every day since they were born and road safety and being aware of cars has been in the forefront. We are avid bike riders and skateboarders and often use the streets ourselves. Besides that point however, I really think that spans of cement ment for play should be planned into communities( in multiple spots... used for street hockey, skateboarding, inline skating and biking). There just arent safe places for this type of play... and I think that it is important.

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#18 of 32 Old 08-12-2007, 02:45 PM
 
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We live on a one-way street and most of the residents are college students. So in the summer especially, there may only be a few cars going by each day.

I do act as lookout though.

The street has got a little busier during the academic year since someone built an appartment building on the corner. Cars have to come down our street because there's no exit on the other street. They drive a bit faster so we have to be more careful.

We've never had any confusion about which streets are safe to play in. Only our street and never other streets. Most other streets in our town are treated like highways.
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#19 of 32 Old 08-12-2007, 07:30 PM
 
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My daughter and all the neighborhood kids have grown up playing in the street. Maybe it's because we don't really have front yards to play in. Everybody landscapes their yards. But, it seems perfectly normal to play in the street.

The parents just yell "CAR!" when we see one, and all the kids move out of the way.
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#20 of 32 Old 08-13-2007, 02:31 PM
 
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My kids are still very young so they don't play outside unsupervised. That said, there have been only a couple of times when they were allowed to play in the street. There was a football game going on with husband and older kids and DS wanted to play with them so husband was able to watch DS while they were all playing. And another time, my DS was skateboarding to a ramp across the street. But we were there watching for cars.

It is 25 mph in our neighborhood but most people go about 30-35. Lots of cars go by.
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#21 of 32 Old 08-13-2007, 02:43 PM
 
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When my children were small, I felt the same way as you. But as they got older, I trusted their judgement more, and they were allowed to play in the street.

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#22 of 32 Old 08-13-2007, 02:45 PM
 
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My 6 year old can ride her bike/scooter anywhere in the neighborhood that she wants. We don't have sidewalks and she rides in the street with the other kids. She prefers to stay pretty close to the house still. She also prefers that one of us be outside with her, so we are. We find it slows the cars down if I stand at the bend in the curve looking like I might cross.

My three year old isn't very good at making her trike go, but likes to ride it in the driveway.
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#23 of 32 Old 08-13-2007, 02:52 PM
 
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We live in area where there is a lot of tourist traffic--so the answer is no.
I don't think people in general (driving) care enough about children, peds, pets on leashes, etc.--if fact, I've almost been hit by my own neighbors when running with my double jogging stroller--and I know that they saw me, I was way ahead of them when they turned into the neighborhood. There have been many athletes (adults) and peds killed in our area by cars--it's shameful.
If I lived in a rural area, I'd let them play in the street--so I guess it all depends on circumstance.
I will say that when I was a kid (30 plus years ago), we rode our bikes in the street and being hit by a car was unheard of.
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#24 of 32 Old 08-13-2007, 02:54 PM
 
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Yes I did (supervised) at our old place as it was a private street and I was comfortable with the situation and parents were always right there. I also had been known to put pylons out to set clear boundries for the children and also warn drivers that there were children playing.
The kids and I just moved and well now my youngest (4.5) doesn’t have a need to play on the street as there is a ton of space in the common areas for them to ride their bikes and bounce their balls.
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#25 of 32 Old 08-14-2007, 04:45 PM
 
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We live down a 2 mile dirt road and at the very end so noone comes down our end unless they live here. With that said no we don't allow her to play in the road but then again she is only 2. We just play in our yard (huge) and if she goes into the street we make her come back into the yard.

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#26 of 32 Old 08-14-2007, 04:48 PM
 
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We live on a curve that teens think is great to see how fast they can take it. We've had our fence replaced many times because... NO YOU CAN'T TAKE THE CURVE AT 30MPH!! And, no, we don't let dd play in the street. We also don't let her play in the front yard.
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#27 of 32 Old 08-14-2007, 05:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annethcz View Post
When my children were small, I felt the same way as you. But as they got older, I trusted their judgement more, and they were allowed to play in the street.
We had a block party Saturday where we closed off the street. My 6.5 yo was outside with neighbors and I just looked out from time to time but when my 3 yo wanted to go outside I was there with him.

Where I live, older children play in the street but I think they are about 9+ y.o. (usually 9-14) and I have seen families with older children play ball too. Very occasionally I see 7/8 yo with their older sibs. Younger than that the parents/babysitters are there watching, so no, not as the OP describes it.
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#28 of 32 Old 08-14-2007, 05:07 PM
 
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some local kids do. and every year there's some awful accident. And my child isn't going to fall victim (or cause) or such accident- so NO he doesn't play inthe street.
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#29 of 32 Old 08-14-2007, 05:42 PM
 
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no

we live at a very busy intersection.
there are sidewalks lining it every where so there is no need to play in the street.
we do allow riding bike in the street if they are traveling somewhere specific, but they are usualy with us when we do it. we do not considerthis playing though and take it very seriously.

however if we lived on a culdesac or adead end or something other where there wasn't much traffic then I wouldn't mind.

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#30 of 32 Old 08-14-2007, 06:42 PM
 
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Until age 4 or 5 (depending on the child) they were confined to the yard & driveway, but now all are allowed to play in the street. Although I live downtown I live at a T intersection made up of 2 streets that are both 1 block long, it's not all that busy. They arn't just running around on the street, it's for biles, skate boards, scooters or crossing to a nieghbours. I'm not always out there with them, but with the door open i can hear them, and if it's the younger 2 then they are not to ride in the street if the older 2 are not out there with them.
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