The Anti-‘Free Range’ Kids Argument One Never Hears

In the midst of all the back and forth about ‘free range’ kids (my thoughts here and here), there is one argument against the concept that is never voiced. No, it’s not ‘evildoers are going to snatch your children’ paranoia. It’s one that seems pretty legitimate to me.

Traffic.

That is, children running about by themselves could get hit by cars. Yet this argument is never voiced, even though having a child maimed or killed by a driver is far more likely (though thankfully very rare) than the modern-day incarnation of Krampus.

This probably has nothing to do with the suburbs being car-dependent.

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3 Responses to The Anti-‘Free Range’ Kids Argument One Never Hears

  1. Jim Sweeney says:

    Damned straight. In Santa Ana, people are routinely run down in intersections, including kids going to school. I live two blocks away from an elementary school, and the traffic in the morning and afternoon is relentless (driving kids apparently counts as “quality time”). I also pass a middle school, where the kids are cautious and the parents are out of control, and a high school, where pedestrian behavior makes me speculate about hearing loss and peripheral vision deficits.

  2. Min says:

    I think I was 7 before I was allowed to cross the street on my own. But I roamed freely when I was 8. At that age I walked home from school. It was about 1/2 mile, but it usually took me about an hour, since I hardly ever went straight home.

    Culture changes, but I think that we are short changing our kids.

  3. kaleberg says:

    That’s a pretty good reason. If you live in the suburbs there is a good chance that once your children leave your cul de sac, they will have to walk along a highway without a sidewalk. It’s worse in some areas of the country than others. Some suburbs actually do have networks of lower speed roads with wide sidewalks, and some even have walking paths that make it possible for kids to get out and explore and even walk to the local convenience store, school, library or a friend’s house. In others it is impossible.
    Rural areas aren’t a lot better. In fact, you are even more likely to be living along a highway.
    Cities, at least most older cities, are made for kids. There are sidewalks, traffic lights, regulated intersections, bus service and so on. I grew up in a city apartment and never envied any of my relatives living in the suburbs or country. I was the one with the freedom.

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