Free-Range Kids

100 children are abducted and murdered by strangers every year.
Originally Posted by sarah42

Really, is that all? Do you mind if I ask where you got that statistic? I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with anyone, but if seems like it would be more to me. Is that just US or what?
Originally Posted by Rose J

Sounds right. It's a pretty specific statistic - abduction AND murder by strangers. Most child abductions are not by strangers but by people the child knows, so are most cases of molestation, child abuse and murder. So I am not surprised that stranger abductions which result in death are so low.

I think there has to be a middle line between free range kids and hovering over them. Right now my kids are small so they are always supervised. As they get older I expect I will let them have more freedom, but always knowing where they are is a good idea.
To Trenell, MizKerri and geeky:
I pray none of you ever has to live in a communist state.

Geeky is my hero. She's the true badass. The badass who doesn't even need to be a badass. There aren't enough O's in cool to describe her.
Ha ha, I knew someone was going to ask that!

Geeky is right, it's a very specific statistic, and other bad things are possible. Child abduction and murder is the worst thing I can imagine, and those cases are very high-profile, so it seems more common than it really is.

I believe that probably the most dangerous thing we do with our kids is put them in a car, or let a 16-year-old get behind the wheel. But we can't just avoid all transportation; we do what we can to make it safer, e.g. car seats, booster seats, seat belts, following the speed limit, not driving recklessly, give the teenager driving lessons and practice with a parent. I think we need to use our judgment as parents to mitigate dangers to our kids, but don't let those very, very small possibilities cause you to live in fear.
I like semi free range- it's one of the reasons we moved out of the city. I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around the concept of my kid not being able to go outside to play without it being a family event. We live in a small town and we live about 6 blocks from school. I started to allow Max to ride his bike to school at the beginning of second grade (he was 7 1/2). There are crossing guards all the way to school and other kids walking/ riding. I'm more comfortable with the idea of him on a bike than walking alone. I'm more worried about bullying by older kids than abduction; I waited until he was a bit more mature to let him make the trip to school alone.
Now that it's summertime, he's got certain places he's allowed to ride with his friends. He's not allowed to go alone. He has to check in at intervals. We are fortunate that we have a set of bike ramps and our neighbor has a pool so our block is popular with the kids and they usually end up here anyway. Some of his friends are allowed out after dark; he is not, but they will usually play in front of our house, so that works out nicely.
My four year old is allowed to play in the yard when I'm downstairs and there are kids in the yard.
My one year old is obviously not allowed out without an adult, although I will let Max push him up and down the driveway in his stroller or push him in the swing in the backyard if I am fixing dinner or something. Usually then I am in and out, but the baby ahs to be contained.

I agree that you have to weigh the risks with your kids' needs. Some communities are safer than others; if I lived in a larger city I don't think I'd be able to let him out like I am able to here.

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