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Would you let your kids play in the street unattended?

  • Yes, this wouldn't bother me.

    Votes: 5 71.4%
  • No, I wouldn't let them play unsupervised.

    Votes: 2 28.6%
  • Other -- please explain.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to decide if I'm being overprotective or if it seems dangerous to others to have little children playing in the street with no adults supervising. Some more info: We have a small street that runs behind our house to which our garage is attached. It's a semi-private road, meaning it's accessed only by people who have garages there, and by those driving to the riding stable at the end of the road. So there's not a lot of car traffic at all. The speed limit is 20 km/h, not that most people obey it. On the other side of the road is forest, where the kids love to play. This little road is perfect for the kids to ride bikes on, roller blade, ride scooters, etc., so they want to be out there all the time. Since my kids are still fairly young (4 and 7), I always go out there with them to make sure they get out of the road when cars are coming because I know, from experience, that they're not always aware of the dangers around them. I've talked to them, of course, about being safe in the street, but when they get excited, they don't always react responsibly.

However, I seem to be the ONLY mother in the neighborhood who feels the need to go out with the kids. All the neighborhood kids -- and I mean little ones 3 years old and up! -- play out there by themselves with no adults watching them. There isn't a lot of traffic but it's not uncommon for a car to come speeding around a corner and it only takes one careless driver to cause a tragedy. I have recently started to allow my 7-year-old to play in the forest with his friends as long as he doesn't go in the street and I can see him from our deck. But the street? I'm just not comfortable with that. I would never let the 4-year-old out there on her own, but my older one is protesting being the only kid with a mom watching them play. What do you think? Am I being overprotective?
 

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I think this falls under the category of tough luck kid! If your inner voice is saying you should be out there than you should be out there. Maybe try to make it look like you are just outside too though. Plant plant, weed flower beds, sit out and read a book. Adults like to go outside and relax too. You probable don't need hawk like supervision at seven, but seven year olds still need a presence in my opinion.
 

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I let my older child play in our cul-de-sac, which is only used by people who live right there, and have let her play there without watching her since she was like 5? It's only our neighbors, and they all have kids playing there too and know to watch for kids. I guess it depends on the specifics - like how many garages? Do those people have kids playing in the street too? It doesn't sound so busy that I personally would probably be bothered by my kids playing there unsupervised once they reach about 5, but those are the kinds of questions I'd ask.
 

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I allow my 8 and 4.5y to play in the street together unsupervised. I go sit w with her when it is just the 4y and if the 2y is out there then I'm following right behind him.
 

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We live on a cul-de-sac. My older 2 (6 1/2 and nearly 4) can be out there without me directly supervising. They know how to watch for cars and to run off of the road if there is one coming. Usually I'm outside, but I don't make them come in if I run in to grab something or take my youngest to use the bathroom. I also trust them if I'm outside, but distracted, like working in the backyard. But, with my nearly 2yo I supervise closely and keep her near me when I go to the backyard or in the house.
 

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I think it all depends on how comfortable the parent is. Some kids know to look out for cars, some streets are busier than others, sometimes if older kids are out they'll watch out for the group as well. I live on a cul-de-sac. I'll watch my 31 month old play in the street. I'm not comfortable with him playing in the street unsupervised. However, if there are older kids (like a 10+ year old) I'll ask them to watch my son for a minute in the yard while I run inside for something quick. (like to change the baby or go to the bathroom). In our court the youngest unsupervised I've seen is 4 years old. However most are 5+ running around.

Maybe you could get something like this for your kids to put out when they play to make you feel better.

http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=537118
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That would be a great thing to have! One of the parents on the street asked the city to put in speed bumps but they refused.
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I think if it were a cul-de-sac I'd probably be more comfortable with it, but it's a through street and cars drive way faster than they should. There's not a lot of traffic -- maybe five or six cars pass in the 1.5-2 hours we'll be out there -- but still. Just takes one, you know?

Thanks for the input.
 

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The people down the street do let their kids play on a section of road that's not high-traffic. They put orange cones out on both sides and that makes it pretty visible to drivers... (My DS is 2 and we have a small paved driveway so the street is totally off-limits for the foreseeable future...)
 

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My neighbors all seem to be fairly ok with this. The older ones are usually supposed to be watching the younger and I'd say it's 4-9 year olds. I have an only child and my husband or I usually just find something to work on in the garage or yard so we can hear the kids playing. I'm not particularly comfortable with her being out alone (5yo) but I'm not bothered that my neighbors let theirs play outside. I have just begun to discuss the 'stranger danger' kind of stuff with my little one, all of the kids seem good at getting out of the street for traffic, I just worry about the 'freak' with a 'lost puppy' or something.
 

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I see young kids (age 3+) outside all the time without their parents and I just don't understand it. My dc is almost 7 and is not allowed to play outside without me outside (or on the deck) to watch her. Kids will be kids and can't always be expected to be safe. They need supervision.
 

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I let my kids play outside alone starting when my older child was about 7-8 -- there is a group of kids who usually play together outside, and yes, they play in the street because the lawns and yards aren't that big (and aren't all that level). The older kids were really good about noticing cars and clearing the kids away. Now, I wouldn't let a 4 year old out by themselves because they don't have the foresight -- but by 5, they usually did. And dd was allowed to be down there (without me) as long as her brother was there.

They also had a 'slow' kid sign that they'd put out. If you're worried about cars, you might consider getting one or two of these for just after the corner where most people turn.

The other thing is that people who drive in our neighborhood know where the kids play. If your alley is driven mostly by people who live there, they probably are expecting kids.
 
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