To think just 4 is too young to play out alone?

(100 Posts)

Yes I know it's probably none of my business aside from the fact I live in fear of knocking the child over!

The child was 4 last week. He is playing out with his older sibling (7) and a few other children aged between 7 and 10. Our road isn't terribly busy being a cul de sac but it has three roads off it so there are quite a few cars in the evening.

I'm not so concerned about someone snatching him, very unlikely. More likely to be squashed as someone reverses off drive. Lots of parked cars as well which makes it trickier.

His own house is round the corner on a different road. He could actually be anywhere and parents wouldn't know. Presume they are relying on older sibling to watch him. However watched older sibling go into another child's house for about ten mins and leave little bro just riding around on his own. I kept my eye on him!

Aibu and judgey?!

Icelollycraving Fri 19-Apr-13 19:46:22

Yanbu. That's much too young IMO to play outside without a parent.

Fargo86 Fri 19-Apr-13 19:46:50

Doesn't seem too wrong on a culdesac with older sibling and other older children with him.

Fanjounchained Fri 19-Apr-13 19:47:10

You will probably be told that you are being judgey but at 4yrs old neither of my two would be further than my front garden. I can pap them out the front in the morning when I'm putting my slap on and watch them from the living room window. But I know other Mums on the estate where I live that are quite happy to let their 4 or 5 yr old wander to the other side of the estate. My two are 3 and 5.....

LindseyLittle Fri 19-Apr-13 19:48:06

Far too young in my opinion, but then I know a woman who let her 2 year old (now 3) play out with 'all the kids from the street' and thinks that it is fine. He is an only child, so just out with kids from the other houses, not even with an older brother or something to look out for him. I was shock when she told me and had to hide my judgy tendancies grin

badguider Fri 19-Apr-13 19:48:23

I grew up in a cul-de-sac where children were out from about 3yo in a group, it was generally assumed that the older children would look out for the younger ones and also all the parents generally kept half an eye out on all the children (and could certainly all be trusted not to run them over!).

But there wasn't a single house in our cul-de-sac where we didn't know the family who lived there... and only one house didn't have children in the 'group' themselves. maybe it was a different era... ?

But because of this I wouldn't say what age is too young or old enough, i'd always judge it on the individual situation.

Molehillmountain Fri 19-Apr-13 19:48:34

I wouldn't do it, but actually, I reckon he'll be fine and it's far better than the alternative of him being indoors a the time watching telly because his mum is too scared to let him out.

expatinscotland Fri 19-Apr-13 19:48:51

You'll get flamed for this and told older siblings make perfectly sensible and responsible guides for young children, but IMO YANBU at all.

AnyFucker Fri 19-Apr-13 19:50:14

Of course it is too young

I took a child of a similar age home once, knocked on the door and said "I think X must have got out of your garden without you realising..." (I knew full well she hadn't)

I got a mouthful of abuse (and made a call to SS)

UnscentedStillRomantic Fri 19-Apr-13 19:51:15

Yadnbu. Mine were much older before they were allowed out to play away from the garden.

Happens a lot where I live though. I'm very judgey knickers about it. One used to sit in the roadshock

KurriKurri Fri 19-Apr-13 19:52:07

No YANBU or judgey. - Four is too young to have any road sense or safety awareness (and even if he did know about stranger danger four year olds can be easily overpowered) and a 7 year old is not old enough to have sole responsibility for a four year old (as evidenced by the fact that he went off and left his little brother alone).

I don't know why people think seven year old sibling can look after younger children, - would you employ a seven year old baby sitter for your under fives?

YANBU ds is 4 next month and is years off being allowed to play out alone.

2 years ago a boy on our street started playing out at just turned 4 years old. He took a liking to ds probably as he was always outside with us. He used to follow us when we went for a walk and several times I had to turn back as he followed us off the street and u didn't want to be accused of child abduction!

He also used to come in our garden and in the end he broke our neighbours conservatory window by throwing stones ( he was in her drive way and dh had told him to get off it several times that day). The police were involved and the dad ended up threatening my neighbour!

He was just too young to be out alone. Mind you he's 2years older now and even more horrible!

Hulababy Fri 19-Apr-13 19:54:35

Far too young, and a 7y is far too young to be responsible for him - as shown by the fact that the 4y has already been left alone playing whilst his brother went in another house.

Parents need to be supervising.

digerd Fri 19-Apr-13 19:55:06

4 is much too young to be riding a bike with parked cars and traffic. The 7 year-old is also too young to be watching him all the time.

AnyFucker Fri 19-Apr-13 19:55:15

I believe there is research that suggests the acquisition of basic road sense, judging the speed of cars and how to get out of the way of them does not develop until the age of 7

thegreylady Fri 19-Apr-13 19:57:08

Much too young-I think 7 is a bit young to be out of sight of home too [obviously ok if he lived in the cul de sac].

CarpeVinum Fri 19-Apr-13 20:00:15


Small enough to not be visible to a reversing car, head to young to be truely "road sense" safe if a ball rolls or a lovely kitty appears on the other side of the road.

We weren't allowed to play on the front side of pur cul di sac until 7 ish I think. All the younger kids would congregate in one or two of the back gardens.

I remember when corralled in the backl I managed to drop a brick on my younger brothers toe. But I did avoid charging in front (or behind a car).

The thing with cul di sacs as well is that they can lull you into a sense of false security. We used to sneak to the open end and dare each other to cross the busier road at the top. Only got caught once and we did it quite a few times (but stopped after getting caught. Scary valkyrie mothers have that effect). I wouldn't put it past a four year old to go off for a wander and end up on a busy road even if they were quite safe in the cul di sac itself.

Not sure if there is anything you can do about it. Other than drive really carefully and be a bit paranoid in checking before reversing and keep an eye for him when you are on the road to see if he is staying more or less where he should.

See my ds is four in a couple of months and there's just no way I'd be happy with him being out of my sight. We are in a cul de sac but off a main road which you can cut through to and be on in a matter of metres. The entire estate is like a rabbit warren. I'd worry ds would get lost.
I also think it's too much responsibility at 7, to be expected to look after a 4 year old.

They are still outside now. I think it looks worse because he's tiny tiny tiny. So he looks about 2!

HollyBerryBush Fri 19-Apr-13 20:10:09

I think you have to know your own children and your own area.

Not something I'd have done, DS1 was capable of playing out from 7, DS2, from 9, DS3, from 10/11 - that comes down to 'streetwise' sense - and I don't mean cars!

DS1 would merrily sit in the sitting room window, open wide , chatting to all and sundry that went past.

5madthings Fri 19-Apr-13 20:17:00

Depends on the area and the children.

I let ds4 play out in our cul de sac at four yes (just turned five now) he was out with ds2 and ds3, but our cul de sac is very quiet and I can see then through living room and kitchen windows. So am keeping an eye out.

everlong Fri 19-Apr-13 20:17:55

No you're nbu.

4 is too young. There have been some very sad stories of children this age being taken or have drowned etc. whilst playing out alone. Very very sad but needn't have happened.

Maybe I'm overprotective then...
Perhaps it's different if there's an older sibling.
Don't think it would be so bad if they were by the house but they are right round the corner so no way parents can see them.

Viviennemary Fri 19-Apr-13 20:26:26

I wouldn't be happy to do this myself. But people probably think it is safe enough in a cul de sac and with older children.

Soupa Fri 19-Apr-13 20:28:38

Too young and vulnerable to traffic, too much responsibility for the brother. Actually I would go and speak to the parents or report when seen unattended. Don't care if I seemed judgy much less of a problem then knowing how much I would judge myself if he was in an rta.

He isn't in view, isn't safe and has a complete inability to keep himself safe.

HollyBerryBush Fri 19-Apr-13 20:35:21

20 years ago, when we had our first house and were child free, there used to be a little boy who played out from dawn till dusk (and I do mean 7.30am till 9.30pm), we had a little pathway that lead into the woods, he'd merrily go down it.

In all seriousness, I had no idea of his age. Sometimes when I got home from work he'd approach my car and try and get in, for a chat, like small people do.

We lived there 3 1/2 years, he started school in the September, we moved in the October.

The dawning realisation that an 18 month old was playing out all day from 7.30 in the morning - and it didn't actually hit me until we were ready to move and he was in school uniform.

I did tell my HV about it (the attempt to get in the car) and she wasn't interested at all. Said it wasn't 'her problem'.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 19-Apr-13 20:41:08

It is too young and it's unfair to expect the older children to take on that level of responsibility.

rhetorician Fri 19-Apr-13 20:41:28

My dd is 4, and plays out on the road, also cul de sac. But I am always hovering nearby, and I would hesitate even to pop into the house for something if she was still out. I'd put h in garden and close heavy metal gate. I like the fact that she plays out, but feel that it is not fair to ask others to take responsibility for her safety

auntmargaret Fri 19-Apr-13 20:42:32

My 3yo used to play in the street, along with the boy next door (same age) People used t o judge me for it, but what they didn't know was I was crouched behind front door, watching every instant. It gave the kids independence and confidence, they were delighted at the freedom. They are both 10 now, and still best friends even though we don't live next door anymore. YABU. You don't know what precautions parents are taking, and its very difficult to tell 4yo that his sibling can go out to play and he can't. Let kids be kids. Let them play.

mrsjay Fri 19-Apr-13 20:47:38

DD was out front at 4/5 with her same age friends and their older sister and brothers they were safe the older children looked after the younger ones they never wandered or got knocked over <shrug> we could see them from the window friends granny could see them from her window, I think you are being a teeny bit Unreasonable

AnyFucker Fri 19-Apr-13 20:48:11

OP, how did you draw the conclusion you "must be a bit overprotective" from the replies to your thread ??? confused

VerySmallSqueak Fri 19-Apr-13 20:48:21

There are three roads going on to this cul de sac and there can be a few cars about in the evening.

This in't a quiet little dead end with no traffic and the parents watching from the window!

jacks365 Fri 19-Apr-13 20:49:42

I think it depends, i wouldn't where i live but i would where my parents are as it is a quiet cul de sac off another cul de sac but from your description i would say no chance. YANBU

Sorry, from some of the replies. It's about 50:50?

The thing is though, they can't see him. They are definitely not crouched nearby! I still wouldn't do it. I think ds would have to be 6 and in view of the house and I'd probably still be on edge!

mrsjay Fri 19-Apr-13 20:58:28

I suppose it does depend where you live if a parent feels safe or not perhaps his parents feel it is safe, I do sometimes see strange little kids under 7 wandering about here and wonder where they have come from,

5madthings Fri 19-Apr-13 21:00:23

In the circumstances you describe op I wouldn't do it. But where we live I feel its fine but as I said I can see out the window and have the front door open and can call out to them etc plus our cup due sac is VERY quiet.

HappyHugs Fri 19-Apr-13 21:01:12

I think it really depends on your set up. My 4 yr old plays outside in front of our house because I have full view of her, she's with a bunch of other 3-5 yr olds and all the neighbours houses look out on the grassy area they play on.

She is very mature and responsible and, as its also a cul de sac, we dont have many cars. There are no local kids kept in, but parents are very close at hand (though usually inside). None of my friends let theirs out and in their circumstances neither would I.

bruffin Fri 19-Apr-13 21:02:51

Most of the dcs in our street pkayed out from the age of 4 including my 2. It is a cul de sac. It gave the street a lovely atmosphere. They taught each other to ride bikes etc and there was rarely any problems.

UnscentedStillRomantic Fri 19-Apr-13 21:03:46

I don't think older children/siblings should be resposible for younger ones.

My older dd was allowed to do things the younger ones weren't; their safety was my responsibility not hers.

YANBU. DD2 is also 4 in a couple of months and there is no way I would let her play out. DD1 is 7 in a couple of weeks and has been playing out since she was about 5 and a half. I trust her, she's road aware, and she knows not to go past certain lampposts in the street. But no way would I make her responsible for her little sister playing out.

Its hard though, because there are kids younger than DD2 playing out and I was wondering if I was over protective, but I don't think I am after reading this!

EmpressMaud Fri 19-Apr-13 21:07:45

Yanbu, and the seven year old should not have been in position of responsibility.

everlong Fri 19-Apr-13 21:09:57

The safest of places has seen children of this age abducted whilst playing out with friends.

expatinscotland Fri 19-Apr-13 21:10:42

LOL @ all these 'mature' 'responsible' and 'sensible' 4-year-olds. hmm

UnscentedStillRomantic Fri 19-Apr-13 21:16:41

As AnyFucker said earlier the ability to judge car speeds and make good road decisions doesn't develop until a child is older.

Even if a child is mature or sensible at 4/5, it doesn't come into it really regarding safety around traffic.

mrsjay Fri 19-Apr-13 21:17:18

TBF expat I didnt say my 4 yr old was mature or sensible just i let her out to play with her friend and the other kids if she was mature and sensible I wouldnt need to watch from the window all the time occasionally

everlong Fri 19-Apr-13 21:20:15

Children of 4 or 5 are not mature enough to judge traffic or being confronted by a stranger or a stray dog or a....

AnyFucker Fri 19-Apr-13 21:23:03

your kids of age 3-5 are "mature and responsible" ?

ok, I'll see you sat next to the bed on PICU then, doing the 24 hour vigil


5madthings Fri 19-Apr-13 21:26:15

Our cul due sac is a dead end, there are rarely any cars and the bit where the kids play means we can see any coming. They mainly play in our driveway, next doors driveway or right out the front with the kids from next door and the kids from the house opposite, all of us nip in and out, the blood opposite us often out cleaning his car and we can see them from front windows and be with them in less than a minute.

All situations are different, but we live in a quiet area and we chose this house partly because they can play out and my elder ones can go to the local shop etc.

rhetorician Fri 19-Apr-13 21:26:15

expat never feAr, my 4 yo is far from mature, sensible or responsible! She knows to watch the road, but would forget if there was a dog to pet. And her propensity for going up to random dogs is a problem. I also feel I have to stop her being a nuisance to people. She doesn't do anything terrible, but not everyone wants their dandelions picked wink

TattyDevine Fri 19-Apr-13 21:29:01

Hard to know unless we can see the street, for what its worth I let my 3 year old play out, with older brother and other kids, me with half an eye out but more often than not they end up in someones house (usually mine [grr] so the street thing is less of an issue. Very little traffic. No through. Etc. But you may well not be unreasonable.

Pigsmummy Fri 19-Apr-13 21:31:58

Its not fair on the older siblings to have such a responsibility, I have a friend whom's little brother was run over and killed whilst she was looking after him, it ruined her life as well. I think that you have to say something, start with the little boy himself, ask him who is looking after him? He will go home and tell his parents that someone was asking, this should set alarm bells off, if this subtle approach doesn't work then I think that you have to approach a parent, once you have done that then try to let them deal with it but maybe approach the local authority to put up a "children at play" road sign?

Lawabidingmama Fri 19-Apr-13 21:33:48

YADNBU would dream of letting a child this young play out in a million years, IMHO this is completely irresponsible and no the alternative would not be that my children are inside watching TV its that I'm out in the garden playing with them!

Inthepotty Fri 19-Apr-13 21:35:29

My DD is nearly 4- and I let her play out in our cul de sac. There are now 16 kids who live here, ranging from 4 up to 12. Plus all their friends! The older ones play with the little ones, there is always a parent hanging around the front bit, I can see from living room windows. DD checks in constantly. They are not allowed past 'number 5' house. I have 4 DC though, so lots of pairs of eyes about.

Hard to judge without knowing full circumstances. For eg of siblingsc, My 7yo DTs are pretty responsible. My 9yo DSlives in his own little world!

everlong Fri 19-Apr-13 21:45:39

Inthepotty if your 4 year old went missing or had another accident ( god forbid ) would you blame the other children for not looking after her?

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 19-Apr-13 22:00:00

YANBU, its way to young.

We live in a very quiet area but am still reluctant to wllow DS out alone and hes much older.

Even if there are older children playing out, the parents not other children should be responsible for them. Siblings are not childcare, well unless teens and being paid to babysit.

expatinscotland Sat 20-Apr-13 09:32:31

I'm agog at peoples' abdication of responsibility under the pretext of fostering independence in children too young to even be able to cognitively understand the concept fully.

Children aged 7-10 aren't capable of being responsible for any other child. Come to that a 7 yr old shouldn't be playing out either - they aren't old enough to manage traffic safety which is the most likely disaster to befall them. I think the usual age quoted is 8-9? My daughter is nearly 6 (tomorrow). She doesn't play out and won't be doing so for two years. If she wants to scoot outside we go with her or her 12 or 15 yr old sister does - they ARE old enough to be responsible and independant. There are a lot of kids who do play out and have done for years. The weekend after April Jones went missing one of the dads sat out at the front and read a paper whilst they played. I sympathised with his fears but the likliest thing to happen to any of those kids was a traffic accident and that's always been the case and always will be.

RedHelenB Sat 20-Apr-13 12:54:48

I think kids playing out is positive to their development. On a website we can't know if traffic wise it is safe or not but I would say that a quiet cul de sac where you can see/ hear from the house is ok. I do agree about the traffic awareness but I think that is more in line with crossing a road, (judging how big a gap to leave in order to cross safely )My ds knows that if a car comes he goes onto the pavement & he's not yet 7.

MomsNetCurtains Sat 20-Apr-13 12:59:25

YANBU. Older children around or not, if I had a 4 year old, they would not be playing on the road - cul de sac or not. What is wrong with people? sad

'I think kids playing out is positive to their development' only if they actually get to grow up.

Problem with cul de sacs are that drivers coming in often don't pay close attention because they're nearly home and are thinking about what's for tea or what to wear later rather than hazards on the road - because they're nearly home nothing will/can go wrong. Also there's a lot of reversing vehicles and a 4 yr old is too young to reliably get out of the way OR to be seen.

RedHelenB Sat 20-Apr-13 13:41:50

I was walking to school by myself age 7 in this country. In a lot of countries this is considered the norm. Ds age 6 is out now with his penny floater, I can see him from the window & hear cos the front door is open. We live at the bottom of a small cul de sac.

Soupa Sat 20-Apr-13 13:47:41

This child isn't seven he has just turned four, he isn't in view or within hearing. It is neglect and no more appropriate for him to be out alone than home alone.

CarpeVinum Sat 20-Apr-13 13:49:02

I'm agog at peoples' abdication of responsibility under the pretext of fostering independence in children too young to even be able to cognitively understand the concept fully.

I have a question. I'm British, but left when I was 21 and am now ...much older. Reading UK parent oreinted forums, independance is a thing. Not totally unlike it is here, but there is more importance placed upon it over your end.

I may be reading too much into it, but would it be fair to say that right from being very very small there is a great amount of emphasis on creating independance as fast as possible ?

And is this a new thing, or did I just forget it was part of the culture ?

I'm a bit taken aback by some comments on this thread and another in particular, cos while I and my peers value independence it generally isn't given a priority over significant risk and develpmental readiness. Rather the oppostie, it takes a bit of a back seat compared to other considerations (not saying that is always a good thing, and over here there can be some foot dragging creating indepdendance wise) so I'm wondering if there is a cultural leaning behind some of the posts ?

Saski Sat 20-Apr-13 14:07:38

I think the whole move towards kids independence is quite understandable given that they've been stripped of much of the freedoms that we enjoyed as kids, like playing outside unattended.

I live in London so it's out of the question for my kids to play outside alone (we have a postage stamp back garden with a wall; obviously they can play there) - I would welcome some kind of culdesac situation where they could safely play.

I think it's very hard to make an summary judgement of whether a 4 year old can safely play unattended in some area without understanding the area or the child. I don't even remember exactly what a 4 year old is like, my youngest is 7.

expatinscotland Sat 20-Apr-13 14:37:02

Sure are a hell of a lot of 'quiet cul de sacs' in MN land. hmm

AnyFucker Sat 20-Apr-13 14:40:38


And every single one of them has zero boy racers, preoccupied drivers, cars with 100% 3D surround-vision AND populated by children who never do anything unpredictable

It's quite marvellous, really

expatinscotland Sat 20-Apr-13 14:46:24

I'm 42, plenty of us 'played out' because our parents couldn't be arsed. Scads of accidents that I can remember - not just knee scrapes, but stitches/broken bones/requires a doctor sort - and 2 deaths (a drowning and a RTA).

What Northern said, what good is all this 'independence' to one who doesn't live to grow up?

We don't have a garden, we live in a flat. Is it a PITA to haul the 4 and 7-year-old out to play? Yes. But it's my responsibility to do the best I can to try to keep them safe until they are old enough to do it themselves, and they are not now, even though the 7-year-old is 'sensible'.

The April Jones' of this world are very rare, but they do exist and more than that so do many, many who are hit by a motor vehicle.

RedHelenB Sat 20-Apr-13 14:46:38

He was with other children though I think. As I said, it is hard to judge without actually being there. But it IS a car driver's responsibility to reverse safely & obviously if you can see/hear children playing then it is your responsibility TO CHECK CAREFULLY before moving off.

MomsNetCurtains Sat 20-Apr-13 14:47:33

Sure are a hell of a lot of 'quiet cul de sacs' in MN land. hmm

Exactly. FOUR years old?! Wouldn't be out of my sight! I'm 35 so I grew up in the age of 'playing outside', but that was from the age of TEN and up!

Redhelen - doesn't matter how carefully you check. If a very small child moves behind your car when you're reversing HOW can you see them? You may catch sight in your wing mirrors, you will see them in your rear view if far enough away but if they walk right behind you you won't see them. It's a nightmare - and one which lies with PARENTS not drivers to manage. Useful word for parents 'no'.

RedHelenB Sat 20-Apr-13 14:59:00

Not everyone lives in cities or London on MN! Surely if you see children playing out as you get in your car you take extra care Northern Lurker? I agree with you that a four year old by themselves is not a good idea BUT OP did say he was with a group of children & I've never known a group of children play quietly!!! And I agree that ultimately it is up to the parents to monitor.
Maybe it's where I live but kids play out & I think it's a plus point.

everlong Sat 20-Apr-13 14:59:01

I live on a quiet cul-de-sac. One where children play out from a young age because it's safe.

But at four I didn't trust ds. No chance. There is a river at the end of the path for a start and it's a cut through to get to the village so lots of people walking through.

hmm Of course I take care. However I cannot see through a car bonnet or boot. hmm

RedHelenB Sat 20-Apr-13 15:12:34

I appreciate what you are saying Northern but I personally would wait till that group of children were a safe distance away before reversing.

expatinscotland Sat 20-Apr-13 15:15:05

'I appreciate what you are saying Northern but I personally would wait till that group of children were a safe distance away before reversing.'

Because none of them would ever run after a ball, trip and fall, or anything like that.

McNewPants2013 Sat 20-Apr-13 15:18:01

I with allow DD and Ds aged almost 4 and 7 out the back garden unsupervised which has panel fencing all the way around, no way would I allow them to play out the front garden because they would be out of the front gate and where a car could run them over or they would go missing.

ShowMeTheYoni Sat 20-Apr-13 15:18:48

Where I live a 4 yr old plays out alone. Has done since he was 3. A lot of kids seem to play out young here, I don't like it. We live in a quite busy street right next to a main road too. Parents here Also let DC walk to school from age 5. I'd like to move!

McNewPants2013 Sat 20-Apr-13 15:22:08

My dd is tall for her ages, and when she helps me with shopping she struggles a bit because she can't reach.

It harder or impossible to see a small child behind a car,

livinginwonderland Sat 20-Apr-13 15:28:13

i used to play out with my neighbours kids at that age. we lived on a really quiet road and we had a limit on how far we could go (three houses to either side of our houses). my dad was normally in the garden but he would go inside too. i never came to any harm and i had a great time.

all the neighbours knew us and would look out for us to make sure we were safe and keeping out of trouble.

5madthings Sat 20-Apr-13 15:28:18

I am sat out the front on a bench in our front garden at the moment. There are eight kids from 4-10yrs playing out and my toddler. I am.out enjoying the sin and watching the toddler as she plays in the driveway but the elder ones are playing in the cul de sac. It is quiet, cars parked in driveways but none on the road and no cars have come in or gone out in the last few hours. Some cul de sacs reallu are quiet. So i can let five yr old ds4 play out with his brothers and our neighbours. I can sit in the sitting room and watch or when in the kitchen i can watch and the front door is open so i can hear and call out to them if necessary. They can only go up to a certain lamp post and are directly out the front of our house or next door with the kids from next door. Its a quiey estate no rat runs, our cul de sac is a dead end and the entrance is such that you have to turn in slowly. So yes its safe to let them play and i can see them.

CarpeVinum Sat 20-Apr-13 15:34:26

i never came to any harm and i had a great time.

That proves bugger all in terms of risk and benefit.

As I mutter darkly when it is trotted out by my firends as justification for never strapping their childen into a carseat or seatbelt so they can play at bouncing all over the back seat unhampered.

livinginwonderland Sat 20-Apr-13 15:39:07

That proves bugger all in terms of risk and benefit.

i never said it did. i am just saying that some roads are perfectly safe and quiet and that in some cases, there is nothing wrong with letting your kid play outside while you do the gardening or wash the car. where i was, nobody came down our road unless they lived there. it was a road full of elderly, retired couples except my family and the neighbours.

CarpeVinum Sat 20-Apr-13 15:45:45

It was appropos of nothing ?

It is an old chestnut used almost exclusively as suporting "anecdata".

See also

"my grandmother smoked 90 a day till she was 457 and it never did her any harm"

5madthings Sat 20-Apr-13 15:53:26

Our cul de sac has eight houses, four each side and then some flats at the bottom. The first two houses don't come in to the cul de sac to get to their driveway. Then there is us and the house opposite, my neigh our to the next side doesn't have a car. The next house is empty. On the houses on the otherwise two have cars, both on the driveway. Out of the eight flats only three have cars parked down the far end out the way off the road. There are four families with children including us, the others are a family whose children have grown up and left home and elderly in the flats. It is deathly quiet at times.

Dp's aunt lives in a similar road. The estate my parents are on is busier and wouldn't be suitable for children to play out. It depends where you live.

CarpeVinum Sat 20-Apr-13 16:12:35

bUt any cul de sac will have a mouth that opens onto the road that feeds the traffic in. Surely with a 4 yo what lies yonder is as relevant to risk from cars as the cul de sac itself.

Aside from the possibility of a child wandering off to a busier road there is also the possibility of what could come in. Somebody mentioned boy racers up above, and I think that's a valid point I hadn't considered before.

It doesn't really matter how quiet the road is usually when there is no control over what could come in unannounced, univited or by accident. (wrong turns, demonic SatNavs etc.)

I think "being able and prepared to keep self safe from any unusual/unexpected traffic and drivers" has to be factored in and the decsion can't safely be based on just "able and prepared to keep self safe from the usual/expected traffic and drivers" when deciding a child is old enough to play out street side without constant adult supervision.

Becuase no matter how quiet a road is typically, or how careful, slow and watchful for children the usual drivers are, it is still a road and unless there is a check point at the mouth anything could turn in at any time for any reason.

AnyFucker Sat 20-Apr-13 16:14:37

Being able to see your kids through your window is less than useless when their legs are getting crushed by a car, btw

5madthings Sat 20-Apr-13 16:24:14

It leads off a 20mile per hour limit road, you have to slow down considerably to turn in and they are playing a distance away from the turn in anyway. As I said in the last few hours no cars have come in or gone out. My five year old is quite scared of cars and if he even hears one he jumps onto the pavement, they are mainly in the driveway, directly out the front, playing kerby, or chalking, just playing with the neighbors whose parents are also in and out as we are and watching. From my sofa to the front door is ten steps if I need to go out to them.

Fillyjonk75 Sat 20-Apr-13 16:27:55

It's difficult when you have an older child and the younger one wants to play out. Mine are 7 and 4, the oldest one is allowed out anywhere on the cul de sac on her bike with her friends and has been since she could ride a bigger bike at 6.

DD2 is allowed to go out with her if they are just walking round to a friend's house or calling for friends and coming home again. I did let her just play out on the street with DD1 initially but think she is too young, and it's too much for DD1 to keep an eye on her, but walking 100 yards down the pavement without crossing the road is ok. It does make me feel a bit wobbly at times but I think small risks and gradual responsibility are worthwhile at what the parent believes is the right age as it makes them safer overall.

AnyFucker Sat 20-Apr-13 16:29:49

I didn't find it difficult at all. I just said "no"

sheeplikessleep Sat 20-Apr-13 16:29:50

I wouldn't let my 5 and a half year old out by himself.

We live on quite a quiet estate, and whilst he does (most of the time) show good road sense now, there are still times when he gets overexcited or distracted. When we're out and about, I've seen him lose any thoughts of cars - I still have to occasionally remind him to look before stepping off the pavement.

He is even more giddy when playing with friends, the thought of him like that near roads, without an adult there makes me nervous. He is just too young.

expatinscotland Sat 20-Apr-13 16:34:23

I'd love to have a back garden, so I'll never understand this. If you have a back garden, why a 4 or 5-year-old needs to 'play out' unsupervised.

Remotecontrolduck Sat 20-Apr-13 16:37:24

Obviously dependent on where you live, but about 7 seems right to me in most cases. I'm not overprotective at all or risk averse but 4 is just too young isn't it, they just can't be responsible for themselves or have good road safety awareness.

There's no need to get a 4 year old to be independent because they're er, 4.

AnyFucker Sat 20-Apr-13 16:37:32

When my kids were small, I had the whole fecking neighbourhood of kids in my back garden.

It was annoying at times, but I always knew where my young children where, and that they were safe (mainly from RTA's)

5madthings Sat 20-Apr-13 16:47:51

Our front garden is bigger than our back garden so dp often parks out of the cul due sac so they can play on it, paved bit to scoot up and down and grass either side, with swing ball, play sand and water table etc. Its big enough out front that they can run about, the back garden is small, trampoline and small climbing frame, which they play on lots as well but no space to run, scoot or kick a ball about.

At 5, 8, 10(almost 11) and often ds1 (13) they are old enough to play out whilst I watch, nip in and out if I am sorting dinner. Tbh they are mainly on the driveway and the bit in front of our house, the footpath is quite wide and they can do a u shape on the footpath, round and back (to dead end) whilst in view. I often sit on the front step or the bench but go in and out.

Lots of people drive everywhere and use cars for short unnecessary journeys, that's a risk as well but one lots do and deem acceptable. We walk pretty much everywhere, don't see the point in using the car unnecessarily, costs too much in diesel and you are taking a risk by driving. I let my children play out in a very quiet cul de sac, others take a risk by driving. There are plenty of places I wouldn't let them play, including one localish park that often has used needles in the bushes. There is risk in everything we do, its how you access that risk.

everlong Sat 20-Apr-13 17:10:20

The kids on my street that play out range from 4 upwards. They all have gardens. But they choose to play out together on the street. Up and down in the middle of the road on bikes and scooters or pushing their prams or kicking their ball.

The cars come down quite fast at times and I often flinch. I've told a few people to slow down quite often. Ds doesn't play out with them hardly ever. He's 7 in August. I would let him he just prefers not too.

Tbh I think folk prefer them playing on the street rather than having a garden full of other people's kids.

Fillyjonk75 Sat 20-Apr-13 17:15:59

"I didn't find it difficult at all. I just said "no"

God, you are incredible AnyFucker. How did I not think of that? hmm

Fillyjonk75 Sat 20-Apr-13 17:22:03

Tbh I think folk prefer them playing on the street rather than having a garden full of other people's kids.

Or, less judgementally maybe it's because the kids WANT to play in the street and not be confined to their parents' or friends' gardens.

everlong Sat 20-Apr-13 17:24:16

Maybe or probably not.

AnyFucker Sat 20-Apr-13 17:25:18

I didn't and don't always give my kids what they want

It's not incredible to parent like that, however

CarpeVinum Sat 20-Apr-13 17:44:01

God, you are incredible AnyFucker. How did I not think of that?

The thing is though, she's right.

I only have one, so don't have to deal with two in the same home being allowed different things. But I still have every sympathy with a mum faced with an ongoing onslaught of "but why can't I toooooooooooo!" cos I remember my mum dealing with "But how come Sarah's allowed...?" pleanty.

She said no. They didn't like it. There was whinging. It didn't stop them asking the next time I got a "promotion" that they were going to have to wait for. She still said no. Wash, rinse, repeat, wash some more....

I only have to deal with my son doing the same "s'not fair" routine as my siblings when it comes to the huge (cultural) differneces between his upbringing and his friends.

"why am I only only one with a bedtime?" <S'NOT FAIR!!>
"nobody else has to wear a seatbelt/use a carseat?" <cries>
"why can't I ride a bike without a helmet?" <pitiful face>

and there were/are times when it drove me potty.

It wasn't (and isn't) fun but I more or less just copied my mum and said no (also why, but he'd generally lost the will to live and was in full huff&flop mode by then)

And I'm grafeful I don't have that times 16million due to sibs in the home. Hell yes. I can totally see how that would so much more of a difficulty to deal with.

But I doubt very much my MO would change if I did have more than one and the volume of "me too"s was bigger, louder and persistant.

It's just part of having kids isn't it, if it's not saying no to something older sibs can do, it's mates and their freerange xbox useage, or issues like jumping on beds and using cream coloured sofa cushions to make a fort in the garden,.

Pain in the arse, wears you out, occasionally breaks your heart even if you know it's for their own good, but more or less what we signed up for and the reason why sometimes I wish I'd checked the small print before I concived

AnyFucker Sat 20-Apr-13 17:54:02

Thta's a much kinder post than mine, Carpe , saying exactly the same thing

My apologies for being snippy Filly

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