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When is a child "old enough" to play outside alone?

At what age do you think a child is old enough to play outside without an adult?

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Asked by 1andTrying at 8:04 AM on Dec. 23, 2008 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

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Answers (29)
  • I think there's all kinds of variables you need to consider. If it was in your own backyard that is surrounded by a 6 foot privacy fence and you don't have dangerous stuff for them to get into, I would pick an age on the younger side (maybe 6 or 7). The front yard, exposed to every child predator that might happen by, then never. In the front yard they could run out in front of a car too.

    Answer by slw123 at 8:08 AM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • The backyard I think it depends on the child, whenever they're mature enough, but obviously keep an eye on them, maybe 6, 7, maybe younger if they have older siblings. But I think that if it was the front yard then you should always be out with them because it's dangerous.

    Answer by haleykarson at 8:13 AM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • In this day and age is it ever safe? Mine play in the yard when an adult is outside. My teenagers do go out by themselves but if I were a stranger I wouldnt take them and if i did Id bring them back. I dont let any of my small kids play outside alone without an adult watching. Too many weirdos.

    Answer by gemgem at 8:47 AM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • It depends on a lot of things...the kids, the neighborhood, your neighbors, etc.
    My kids started playing outside alone most of the time last summer. They were 8 and almost 7. They were allowed at first only on our front porch if the windows were all open. Then when they showed they were responsible enough to do that they were allowed to play from our house down to my son's friend's house (3 houses down). Then they were allowed to ride their bikes from the friend's house to 3 houses to the other side of us.
    My middle daughter was 5 1/2 and not allowed off the porch unless one of her siblings was there.
    They are all allowed in our back yard to play, but the 2yo has to have siblings at least with her.
    I think the same rules will apply this year (they will be 8, 7 and 6).

    Answer by justanotherjen at 10:00 AM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • Is there anything you all don't fear? My daughter who is six plays outside by herself. out back out front, down the street at a friends house. And guess what so do all her friends. Do some research 95% of all kids who are abducted are abducted and killed are killed by their family member, very close friend of the family or a trusted grown up, school and church officials.
    Although the last place we lived in (we rent) was a great neighborhood until the drug dealers moved in and then it was time to move.

    Answer by lady-J-Rock at 10:05 AM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • Depends on the child and the neighborhood. We live in a rural area and have a fenced in backyard. I let my kids play out there without my direct supervision all the time. My youngest is 2 and while I don't let him go out by himself, I do let him go out with one of the other kids.

    Answer by riotgrrl at 10:47 AM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • I think it really depends on the neighborhood, etc... my 7 and 5 year olds are allowed to play outside by themselves in our yard. We have a fenced in yard. When they want to ride their bikes etc.. it has to be with adult supervison. It's sad when my brother and I were kids we ran the neighborhood by ourselves from dawn to dusk. It's just not safe anymore.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:17 AM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • Too many scenarios to consider. My 7 yr old son began playing in our backyard last year. We have landscaping ponds and he loved to go catch tadpoles in them. I just kept my eye on him from the window and frequently his sister, who is 10 was out there with him along with the neighbor. Hes a wanderer so I like for other kids to be out there. Our backyard is fenced on the back and by trees on 3 sides.

    Answer by momofsaee at 11:37 AM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • I guess it depends on the neighborhood and what you have set up in your backyard. I just started this past summer letting my son play in the backyard without me, buuuuuuut I am able to watch him from our family room. We have a patio off of our family room so I am able to see the whole yard because of the patio doors. My son is seven now and I will let my three year play with him too only for the fact that I can see what is going on.

    I remember playing by myself and walking around the block with my little shopping cart at four! I always tell my mother she was nuts but I guess it was different back then.


    Answer by Christine0813 at 12:58 PM on Dec. 23, 2008

  • I never thought about that. I do not let my kid go with other kids to there house or anything. The kids where I live just come over to my house and some of them have been doing it since they were 3-4. These kids go into people's houses and there parents never check on them. I don't want my son to be one of those's annoying. The reason they do it is because they don't want to take the time out of their lives to play with their kids. I am constantly by my son's side when he is outside...maybe i'm paranoid. So I will wait until I feel comfortable and who knows when that will be. I trust my son, it's my own issue.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:06 PM on Dec. 23, 2008

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