At what age would you let your child walk to school?

Keysha - posted on 08/12/2010 ( 30 moms have responded )

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My son is eight and he is suppose to be in the third grade but got held back. He would like for me to start letting him walk to school but i'm not sure that's such a good idea. We live about five blocks from the school and he's been going there since the Kindergarden. He can tell me which ways to turn when I drive him to school but I don't think I'm confortable with it yet. I still feel he is to young and there are to many dangers.What would you do?

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Jodi - posted on 08/12/2010

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My son went to school about 15 minutes walk away, and I let him walk to and from school when he was about 9. I think it really does depend on where you live. My son never had to cross a main road at all, and there were a lot of other kids walking to school at that time of day as well, so he was pretty safe. He was also allowed to ride his bike if he chose to. It also depends on the child. Some kids are naturally more mature and perceptive than others, so are more ready to be walking on their own.



Just remember that a child's peripheral vision doesn't develop until they are around 8-9, so for this reason, their road sense isn't always all that great, so you have to consider this too.

Rachael - posted on 08/15/2010

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I would walk with him, then behind him, try to get him to meet up with friends along the way and stay behind them, but be there. 8 is too young to do it alone in my opinion. There may be less crime than 20 years ago, but until there is no crime I want to make sure my kid is safe.

[deleted account]

We started letting our 9 year old walk to his school which is 4 1/2 blocks. The thing is that I can see him until he gets to the crossing guard and she can see him right until he is about 25 feet from the school doors. He even meets up with some of his friends along the way. He's also mature for a 9 year old so we felt comfortable with it.



I should also mention that he and I walked to the school together for a few years so he knows the route well - better than if he'd been driven. Then I migrated to walking him as far as the crossing guard. A few weeks later I only walked him as far as the first block... then not at all. Transitioning gradually over a month or so was a big help. I mentioned to the VP and the teachers that he was walking on his own in the mornings so that I could be notified if he was ever a no-show.



I still pick him up after school because it gives me a chance to chat with his teacher and see if there are any issues in the classroom that I need to know about (like Tobias hiding his homework in his desk).



I'm of the mind that you need to listen to what your instinct as a mother is telling you. If you feel he is too young then he most likely is. The neighborhood you live in plays a big role as well.

Jodi - posted on 08/13/2010

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Actually, there have always been weirdos lurking, kidnappers and child molesters, and as Laura very correctly stated, there is less crime today than there was 20 years ago and that it is the more instant media today which makes it look worse than it actually is.

In fact, crimes against children declined quite significantly since the early 1990s. Our children are safer now than they ever have been. They are in more danger from people they know than people they don't know......

Isobel - posted on 08/12/2010

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I think that if he feels confident and ready to do it, I would follow about half a block behind for a week or two...then when I could feel as confident, I would send him on his way :) good luck

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Dove - posted on 09/21/2012

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The largest number of missing children are, from most frequent to least frequent:



Runaways



Family abductions



Lost, injured or otherwise missing children



Nonfamily abductions (in these cases, the child is at greatest risk of injury or death).





115 out of 800,000 doesn't sound too bad... :)

Laura - posted on 09/21/2012

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How many children are reported missing each year?



The U.S. Department of Justice reports



Nearly 800,000 children younger than 18 are missing each year, or an average of 2,185 children reported missing each day.

More than 200,000 children were were abducted by family members.

More than 58,000 children were abducted by nonfamily members.

115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. These crimes involve someone the child does not know or a slight acquaintance who holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently.

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i. kidnapping makes up less than 2% of all violent crimes against youth.
ii. There are three types of kidnappings against children, family, acquaintance, and stranger.
iii. The Office of Juvenile Justice has found very few (4%) of all kidnappings occur in the vicinity of a school.
The biggest danger is other parents: 50% of children hit by cars near schools are hit by cars driven by parents of students (Kallins, SR2S)

Trina - posted on 08/16/2010

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To dangerous... absolutely not! 15 yrs ago yea maybe, times have changed children are kidnapped and raped and murdered to often these days... Im sorry but I couldnt live with myself if something happend to my kids just bc they wanted to talk to school , Especially at 8

Brooke - posted on 08/15/2010

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My mother walked me to school until I was twelve. I have the same idea for my own children. Oh and at one point we lived two houses down from the school and she still walked me to the front gates and gave me a kiss and cuddle good bye. I miss that...

Christel - posted on 08/15/2010

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My children walk everyday for school but we only live 3 blocks away and I am with them everyday walking with them! When I was young my mother let me walk when I was in kindergrade and I was fine and I lived about 6 blocks away from school. but do what you think maybe find him a friend to walk with!

Dianne - posted on 08/15/2010

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you have to be the parent here. If you do not feel that he is safe are there other alternatives. Perhaps you can let him walk occassionally either with him or with a group of friends. Teach him what to do in an emergency and how to use a cell phone. Also, if you walk with him at first you may get to know some of the people on the way to school that can have their eyes out for him the first few times that he does venture out.

Jamie - posted on 08/15/2010

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My child is 9 and i let him walk 4 blocks to school but he walks with a group of 5 kids I never let him go alone.

Susan - posted on 08/15/2010

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My son is eight too, I live in England in a very haevily built up area. It's just under a mile for my son to walk to school. We walk there everyday but I'm not letting him go alone yet as I dont feel he is able enough yet. I would walk a few times with your son first. Let him tell you which way to go. Then decide how confident you feel he is and safe he'll be. Walking a route is a lot different to driving. Especially when there are roads to cross. I'll probably let my son walk when he's about 10, year before he goes to High School.

Melanie - posted on 08/14/2010

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i think 8 is a little too young. i was 11 when i walked to school for the first time and it was with 3 other girls and it was about a 5 minute walk. there is still alot of crazy weird people out there who like to snatch kids! if and when you do end up letting him put him through some martial arts classes or have him walk with some of the other kids in the neighborhood.

Erin - posted on 08/14/2010

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Maybe start off walking with him and see how it goes, learn the peoples routine on the route, so you know if there are any creepy people out on the walk. Then later if you feel comfortable with the route and how he handles it let him. You can also get him one of those cricket phones so if he has an emergency he can get a hold of you right away.

Rosie - posted on 08/14/2010

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my son is 10 and started walking to school last year when he was 9. it all depends on how far away the school is, dangerous intersections, and the maturity of the child. i live 4 blocks away from my sons school, and didn't feel comfortable until he was 9. honestly i think a normal 8 year old could handle it, but you know your child best. maybe have him do it with a friend, thats what i have grant do. made me more at ease. :)

Keri - posted on 08/14/2010

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My son is going into 5th grade. I do not let him walk. For one thing he would get lost. He is not good with direction. He also has to go across a major intersection and it is more than a mile away. He will be walking next year tot he middle school. If he was at the school around the corner he would have been walking since he was in first grade, but he is at the school farthest from us.

Balinda - posted on 08/13/2010

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You know back in our day that wouldn't be a problem. I remember walking to elementary school. There was a group of us and we knocked on our doors and walked together to the crossing guard and then to school. But now a days there are weirdos lurking and kidnappers and child molesters. If there aren't crossing guards then a definite no, because that shows that the school don't want them to walk either. But if you feel safe then maybe for middle or high school.

Isobel - posted on 08/12/2010

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there is actually less crime today than there was 20 years ago...you can look it up...the media just makes it look much worse than it is

Ashley - posted on 08/12/2010

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never there are to many predators kids get abducted in their front yards. You could always follow him in your car or stay a block behind him

Amy - posted on 08/12/2010

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Do what you are comfortable with. I personally walked alone farther than that to kindergarten and was fine, but there is no way I would let my kids do it. I might be overprotective, but I would feel worse if something happened and I wasn't there. If you aren't comfortable, don't do it. You could walk with him though, maybe letting him walk ahead of you so he feels like he is doing it by himself, but still being close enough to watch out for him. Plus, it's good exercise for you, something most of us don't get enough of.

Michelle - posted on 08/12/2010

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My son is now 9 and in gr.4 he has ridden an hour on the city bus to school and home for the past year. We just made sure that either him or the little girl he rode with who is now 11 had a phone in case of emergency he will be riding the bus again this year.

[deleted account]

If they went to the school in our district I would, but we live in the apartment complex directly across the very secluded, crossing guard watched street from the school. They go out of district though, so.. never. :)

I don't know your neighborhood or your kid, so I can't comment on what you should/shouldn't do.

Kim - posted on 08/12/2010

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My son walked to school last year and he was in 2nd grade. However, the school was about a block away and I could see him all the way there. Not sure I would let him walk now though. We live about the same distance as you but I wouldn't be able to see him.

Phyllis - posted on 08/12/2010

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My kids have walked themselves to school since day one. But our village is only 3 blocks by 4 blocks in size, so I can see them the whole way if I choose.

[deleted account]

5 blocks? really? Nope sorry I wouldn't let any of my kids walk to school that far. Well maybe in high school.

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