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What age is it o.k. to let kids walk to school on their own?

So I am absolutly TERRIFIED (sp?) to let my kids ever walk to school alone or with other kids. We live in a nice community, but so did Elizabeth Smart and the girl they just found in Riverside, Ca (which I live near!!!). My oldest is only 5, so I don't think he'll be wanting to walk anytime soon, but I just think that it's never safe! Maybe when he's in college! Am I being overprotective?


Asked by LUVWJ at 11:53 AM on Aug. 28, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (13)
  • I read somewhere recently that the large majority of child abductions are within a half mile of the chidl's home. We live in a gated community, in a great area and our school is a mile away. Nope, my son won't be walking to school---alone or with a group. It's a different world. now.

    Answer by moniquemomma at 6:58 AM on Aug. 29, 2009

  • I think about 9yrs old depending on maturity.

    Answer by outstandingLove at 11:56 AM on Aug. 28, 2009

  • I know how you feel my dh and I talked about letting our kids walk this year (even though it is only 2 My son is 8 and my daughter is 6 yes they are old enough but I...just...can't it just yet....I think it is a mommy thing...maybe next year (don't hold your


    Answer by Butterfly1108 at 12:06 PM on Aug. 28, 2009

  • i'd say 10 or so.... if ever.... i'm not sure. it's a scary concept. thank god i have years and years before i have to deal with that!

    Answer by mama_moonsong at 12:07 PM on Aug. 28, 2009

  • It depends on where you live, the length of the walk, and your child. The chances of your child getting abducted by a stranger during their childhood (without taking anything else into account) is one in 1.5 million. Their chances of getting struck by lightning during their lifetime is 1 in 150,000. Good street-crossing skills are much more important.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:09 PM on Aug. 28, 2009

  • I don't think until they are at least in high school. Some people don't have a choice because they have to work. If you do have a choice though, I'd wait until highschool.

    Answer by Jguevara at 12:12 PM on Aug. 28, 2009

  • I think if they are walking in a group, with some other children, then around 10. I would get several of the neighborhood families together and try to get the kids out at the same time so they can walk together - there's strength in numbers.
    If they are completely alone, I would say highschool - and even then I'd feel safer sending mine with a cell phone.

    Answer by missanc at 2:32 PM on Aug. 28, 2009

  • They didn't find that girl in Riverside, they found her in Berkley on the campus. She'd been in Antioch, part of the bay area. She was kidnapped in Lake Tahoe. The only reason Riverside is brought into the story is because the mother and stepfather moved down there later.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:10 PM on Aug. 28, 2009

  • Given what just happened, I have a mix of feelings. I would think 9 years old but then never. You also need to realize that stranger kidnappings are VERY rare. I think the statistic is 1/year in the us. But maybe not... but it's low, very low. It's always a family member kidnapping that happens. But I feel for you. I see no problem in driving my kid to school until they can find for themselves and that's obviously not 11.

    Answer by lynnard at 5:13 PM on Aug. 28, 2009

  • On, Lenore says a child would have to stand around 750,000 years to have a chance at being taken by a stranger. It's very, very rare. The bigger concern is traffic since most parents drive kids to school and drive like morons (at least at our school).
    I talked to my kids about walking alone today on our way to school because I don't think I should have to keep walking them. It's only 2 1/2 blocks to the main entrance which is 1 block up from ours, turn a corner and walk another block and a half. But according to the school they aren't allowed to walk alone until 5th grade (mine are in 4th, 2nd and 1st).
    My biggest worry with them walking is cars and them dilly-dallying at the corner where a dog lives (he's a friend of ours) and being late for school.
    I've been letting them walk home without me after I pick them up at school (just let them take off on their own while I walk slowly).

    Answer by justanotherjen at 6:02 PM on Aug. 28, 2009