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To feel sick with worry when i see a parent crossing a busy road with a "just" toddling toddler

(71 Posts)
Lucyellensmum95 Sat 02-Mar-13 09:38:30

I know IABU, i suspect I have done loads it but recently whenever I see a parent with a child out of puschair crossing a busy road my heart is in my mouth and i have to watch to make sure they they cross safely. I just worry that the child might slip from the parents grip and walk out...........sad

A woman in London the other day was doing this and actually crossed half of the road and then stood in the middle until there was a gap in traffic, ok there was heavy traffic and the cars were going slow but not slow enough to stop imo. I wanted to wind the window down and scream at her!

Now i know that would be a crazy woman thing to do and its sort of turning into a bit of a phobia thing for me (no background reason for this other than general anxiety which is quite high at the moment so maybe why i have been reacting)

I just can't help but think - oh my god, what if she lets go, what if the child trips? Seriously, my DP thought i had gone mad yesterday when i saw another woman doing it today - i was ranting away in the car about it.

So yes, over reaction i know but really? would it be so hard just to pick them up or have them on reins or those little rucksack things.

Moominsarescary Sat 02-Mar-13 10:25:29

Even when ds3 nearly 2 is in the pushchair I have reins on him in case I have to get him out for any reason.

Years ago ds1s friend was ran over by a bus pulling away from the stop, he had reins on but his brother dropped his school books whilst getting off the bus and his mum bent down to pick them up.

Luckily he was fine, how he survived with just bruising we will never know! He's 18 now. So I guess yanbu, it does make me cringe when I see very small dc running out of reach of the parent near roads

IfNotNowThenWhen Sat 02-Mar-13 10:29:34

I get what you are saying OP.
I think training them to be road savvy is vital BUT doesn't it really depend on the road?
Ds and I have to cross a MAJOR road at rush hour, and drivers are just NOT looking out for pedestrians, let alone tiny ones.
Every other morning, I have to yell and wave my arms at a car that is still moving towards us as we cross, even though the light has turned red on them.
They are like zombies, totally focused on getting to work.
Usually a car will come to a halt across the crossing too, so we have to weave around it with my keys out literally squeezing round traffic that may or may not have noticed us.
Ds is nearly 7, but I still hold his hand tightly to do this.

I get ragey when I see parents walking along busy roads, chatting, with a toddler wandering along behind them.
FFS. YES, your 3 year old may be quite good at following you like a baby duckling, but you can't just trust they won't be distracted by that movie poster across the street or whatever.

I have seen a woman crossing a MAJOR intersection in South London, as her 2 year old toddled across the road BEHIND her.
I am sure she would claim to love her child above all else. Hell, she probably has his name tattooed on her arm, but imo, why bother making all that effort to push them out, if are going to take that sort of risk?
Risk always has to be calculated.

HorryIsUpduffed Sat 02-Mar-13 10:32:04

My toddler has been walking for over a year. He is slowly learning road awareness. He walks holding hands, holding on to the pram, or on reins/backpack. I step up the contact when crossing roads partly because we can't afford to be "stop at every pebble" slow, and also because obviously the risk is higher.

DH is extra anxious about roads, having seen a 4yo knocked down and killed by a car when DC1 was less than a week old. The child had been walking holding hands; the car was well within the speed limit and the driver was stone cold sober; he suddenly saw a friend, slipped his father's hand, and was gone.

I think within the restrictions of your anxiety YANBU to feel scared about it; but equally you have to trust that parents are paying an appropriate level of attention most if not all the time; and also remember that children need to learn, and you can't tell how far along that process they are.

Startail Sat 02-Mar-13 10:35:04

You are, perhaps being a bit nervous, but I can see both sides.

DD1 one was a little horror for bolting and lived in reins to preserve my sanity, because she vanished.

From not much over two, she understood to stop at drive ways and roads and I must have given nervous people a heart attack not worry about her at times.

DD2 didn't bolt and held hands, but was totally on another planet with roads and car parks, she was pretty much up to 10y not to be trusted.

I was forever reminding DH to remember that to keep an extra eye on DD2. It was incredibly easy to forget as she is my quiet, academic, sensible DC and DD1 dyslexic and scatty.

Lucyellensmum95 Sat 02-Mar-13 10:37:50

thankyou mrsjay - i think i explained my "over reaction" as being due to my anxiety issues.

I suppose if i didn't have anxiety i woould still think it was a daft thing to do, i just wouldn't feel upset about it.

Life is full of risk, i do risk assesments all the time - what they teach you is how to assess the risk, quantify it in some way and then take steps to reduce the risk - the best level of risk for me is 0.

0 = not gonna happen, so in this instance then - do not cross road with toddler
obviously not practical
The risk of child slipping out of parents grip - highly unlikely, but cannot give a score of 0. Risk of parent slipping iwth child, i would think - less likely. Having reins - decreases the risk. Its a no brainer really, even for a fruilt loop like me.

Saying that , i didnt have reins for DD2 as she hated them but she always held my hand. If i crossed the road, i picked her up. We live in a quiet area not that many busy roads.

On our trip to london the other day women were walking across mental busy roads at toddler pace, if cars zoomed around the corner.........again, unnaceptable risk pick the child up

LittleEdie Sat 02-Mar-13 10:40:15

So you're saying that if there is a 'one in a million' chance of something going wrong then people shouldn't do it. confused


mrsjay Sat 02-Mar-13 10:40:28

god I cant look at people on roller coasters because I am convinced they are going to fall apart every time and im worse if my DDs are on them I knwo it is daft i know rollercoasters dont usually fall to bits I cant help it,

BinksToEnlightenment Sat 02-Mar-13 10:43:02

No I know what you mean. I do take my toddler across roads if we walk somewhere, but I try to avoid it. He's very good and stops when he's told and holds my hand very tightly, but it still gives me the creeps thinking about what might happen.

Two toddlers were killed near me recently. They were both in pushchairs, but a car ran a red light and hit them.

Lucyellensmum95 Sat 02-Mar-13 10:44:51

I know IABU - i let my 7 year old DD ride horses shock I should shut up now!

I just think, take the steps to remove as much risk as you can.

My DD wears a hat and body protector, is lead around on old plod horses, there is risk, probably more risk than crossing the road, but we re reduce it and i watch with my heart in my mouth.

So no i am not saying people shouldnt do something if ther eis a million to one risk ( i daresay its higher than that for crossing the road but i don't know) i am saying that people should take whatever measures they can to minimise the risk.

Lucyellensmum95 Sat 02-Mar-13 10:46:01

I am looking or a change of career - im thinking HSE, i'd be perfect grin

GloriaPritchett Sat 02-Mar-13 10:48:36

YANBU at all. I can't believe people think that you are U!

lockets Sat 02-Mar-13 10:59:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ChairmanWow Sat 02-Mar-13 11:00:38

I don't think YABU because it's connected to anxiety, though personally I don't see a problem provided it's at a crossing and the child either has road sense or is on reins/holding hands. Unfortunately my DH, though lovely, can be quite daft so if he's out with DS I ask them to stay in the buggy next to and crossing busy roads. Might sound a bit OTT but he's very absent-minded and forgets to hold DS hand.

However I deffo don't think YABU about this: A woman in London the other day was doing this and actually crossed half of the road and then stood in the middle until there was a gap in traffic

I think that's shocking. Dangerous in the short term but also a terrible example to set her kids re road safety.

aderynlas Sat 02-Mar-13 11:09:15

I wait for the green man at lights if there is a mum or dad trying to teach their children how to cross. It suprises me how many mums and dads just rush across without waiting.

OxfordBags Sat 02-Mar-13 11:54:22

Svrider, did I not also add that he wears reins? Also, by unrestrained, I mean not in reins but still totally controlled by me, ie holding hands at all times, etc. I think I have got things confused as I didn't realise people were meaning toddlers wandering about without the adults paying them any attention whatsoever or not even being right by the adult, I agree that that's dangerous. I'm so busy watching Ds, even in reins, that I don't really see what other parents are doing. I do agree then, that toddlers shouldn't just be wandering around willy nilly near roads, sorry OP!

(Also, I generally sling him, so the reins/handholding issue is pretty small for us)

Moominsarescary Sat 02-Mar-13 12:22:32

Funnily enough we were waiting for the green man yesterday and even though traffic lights were on green a car stopped for us to cross, very nice of him but it's a busy road 3 lanes outside a shopping centre with busses and cars coming from all directions so not really safe.

Hawkmoon269 Sat 02-Mar-13 12:39:19

I carry my toddler across roads because he's not very fast. No reins yet because he never let's go of my hand (and I'm holding his hand in a at that he couldn't untangle himself from me!). I get lots of positive comments when I'm walking with him on the pavement but I just don't trust drivers enough to let him walk across roads yet - obviously he would still be holding my hand, but still.

QueenOfCats Sat 02-Mar-13 12:48:17

I'm exactly the same - probably worse in fact, I hate seeing any child whatever their age crossing the road.

I can't drive near school going in and coming out times at all - my heart is in my mouth.

When I'm out with dd and we're crossing a road I still try and hold her hand (much to her disgust - she's almost 14!)

But, thus is because one afternoon I saw, quite close, a child of 5 run over and killed by a slow moving car. It will haunt me forever. The mothers screams, the drivers screams, the screams of her 9 year old brother who saw it too..... One of the worst moments of my life so far sad

QuickLookBusy Sat 02-Mar-13 12:56:52


A toddler is not the correct age to teach road awareness. If you think it is, I'm sorry but it shows a lack of understanding of the way a toddler thinks and behaves.

Toddlers should be on reins or in a buggy/back pack near a busy road.

Meglet Sat 02-Mar-13 13:00:01

Yanbu. I have huge problems with 'free' toddlers near roads. Maybe mine are extra feral but all the road safety talks and bollockings haven't made much difference. DD is 4.6 and will still tear off towards the road angry, she often has reins when we walk to town.

I won't even park outside the school as I cannot bear watching the kids pootling about and the cars playing dodgems. We park way up the road and walk on a back path to avoid all the chaos.

I hold mine like limpets and don't care how much they holler, better to be screaming at me than in an accident.

VinegarDrinker Sat 02-Mar-13 13:09:22

I don't understand why holding hands counts as "unrestrained" - you have a lot more control over them and they are a lot closer to you than if you rely on reins.

My DS has never attempted to pull his hand from mine on a road. When he was just walking I carried him for speed, but I am sure I am one of the London mums is ranting about because at just 2 he walks across every road, holding hands (at the crossing, having told us when to stop, where to look, when the green man comes on etc).

VinegarDrinker Sat 02-Mar-13 13:10:25

Oh and he walks along pavements totally unrestrained on a daily basis. He has never tried to go anywhere near the road, and if he ever did I'd be there way before him.

Thumbwitch Sat 02-Mar-13 13:11:34

YANBthatU at all, IMO.
I have anxiety when I see small children running free on the pavements, often with a parent 50m or more away from them shouting "stop at the road!". Worse when they're on a scooter or bike shock.

My DS1 was always on reins as soon as he was walking (1yo) and I've only in the last few months reached a point where I'll let him walk along the path without holding my hand/the pushchair (he's now 5.3). I still make him walk "inside" me, so that he's further from the traffic; and he has to hold on to cross roads.
He has never been a bolter but never had the chance anyway because he was on reins.
He had a tendency to slip his hand out of mine while I was holding him, very eel-like he was about it too - so we practised holding hands etc. while he was still on the reins.

I don't give a flying fuck what anyone else thought/thinks about my using reins for my DS (and I'll be doing the same for DS2) - what matters to me is that he was kept as safe as I could reasonably manage under normal circumstances.

5madthings Sat 02-Mar-13 13:15:39

As long as they are holding hands or have reins on its fine.

OverlyYappy Sat 02-Mar-13 13:18:25

YANBU I too have anxiety 'issues' but even before they manifested I would often grab onto my friend Dc hands when we walked to school together (my DC had a little backpack with reins), I ended up buying one for my friend too.

I don't like them walking over bridges either, I don't like ME walking over bridges, which is tricky as I cannot get into town, without crossing a bridge.

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