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Children camping alone in garden - AIBU

(427 Posts)
UserA Fri 03-Jul-20 19:52:18

A close friend has asked if my dc, aged 10, 12 & 13 would like to camp in her garden (socially distanced of course!) with her dc, both aged 11 - but alone, with the parents sleeping in the house. Apparently her dc have done it a few times over lockdown. I was fairly surprised and I don’t think I’d feel comfortable with mine sleeping outside alone. We both have fairly large gardens which aren’t particularly enclosed, as in not backing onto other houses as such. Recently there have been some sexual assaults/flashing episodes in the area, which makes me even more uneasy.. dc obviously annoyed that I haven’t agreed! So, AIBU - would you agree to them camping out alone?

OP’s posts: |
MrsMcCarthysFamousScones Fri 03-Jul-20 19:57:52

This was very local to me. Kids camping in the garden.

Murder of Sophie Hook. ... She was from Great Budworth, near Northwich, Cheshire, but was staying at the Llandudno home of her uncle, Danny Jones, when she was murdered. She had gone missing from a tent where she was camping in her uncle's garden, and her body was found washed up on a nearby beach several hours later.

YaWeeSkitter Fri 03-Jul-20 19:58:24

I just couldnt let them camp out without an adult . I know it may seem to be overcautious but I cant get Sophie Hook out of my mind when this sort of thing is mooted in my family.

FromEden Fri 03-Jul-20 19:58:36

No way. Parents should take turns sitting up to keep an eye on them IMO. How could they even sleep anyway knowing the kids are outside? I wouldnt be able to anyway. Yes, the odds are overwhelming that nothing will happen but even the small chance is just not worth the risk.

justanotherneighinparadise Fri 03-Jul-20 19:59:09

Nope. Although my friend used to go off camping with her teenage friends in woodland at around the age of 14. Her family were cool with it!

darkcaramel Fri 03-Jul-20 19:59:48

Yes, poor, poor Sophie Hook sad

HalloumiSalad Fri 03-Jul-20 20:00:03

Not sure I would be at all comfortable with that. When I was that age I did it myself... Once. We lived in fairly rural 'safe' area, knew all the neighbours. Late in the evening I lay petrified listening to a person walk round and round my tent, pause at the zip, but not come in. Thankfully. Lay there scared stiff until I thought they'd gone, seemed like hours and legged it to my front door and dived into bed. I suppose they are a group which helps a bit, but it would be a no from me unless the adults were also staying out.

PurpleButterflyAway Fri 03-Jul-20 20:00:16

I voted YABU until I read @MrsMcCarthysFamousScones post (as I’d have been happy for mine to camp outside in the garden at that age if we had one). Didn’t think it was dangerous at all, now I think YANBU to be worried but I don’t think it let’s you change votes

Lindy2 Fri 03-Jul-20 20:00:24

The sexual assaults in the area would make me think not right now. Without that though and if the garden was enclosed I would think the children were old enough to camp outside and could come inside for help if needed.

However, how can they socially distance whilst camping together? Would each household have their own tent? If they were going to share a tent that would not be distancing at all. They'd be breathing the same air in an enclosed space all night.

Waitingforboristoletusfree Fri 03-Jul-20 20:00:27

I personally wouldn’t allow this for a child under 15 but I don’t have teenagers yet so may change my mind, 10+11 though ? Definitely not

Theforest Fri 03-Jul-20 20:01:38

Your kids, your rules. I certainly wouldnt be allowing it.

darkcaramel Fri 03-Jul-20 20:01:58

The Sophie Hook case was particularly chilling as it was planned: Howard Hughes watched them play and heard them talking about their plans to camp.

It was horrendous, the poor child and her family, and must have been so traumatic for her cousins in the tent too.

managedmis Fri 03-Jul-20 20:02:20


HelenaJustina Fri 03-Jul-20 20:03:24

Goodness, my 8 and 10yr old DC camped out in our garden for a week earlier on in lockdown! Garden gate locked, back door unlocked, quiet village. Never occurred to me that it might be unsafe.

Spied Fri 03-Jul-20 20:03:56


ItsReallyOnlyMe Fri 03-Jul-20 20:04:56

Never - and I'm quite liberal.

Noname1234567890 Fri 03-Jul-20 20:05:00

Mine camped in the garden at that age, our bedroom overlooked the garden and we kept the window open so we could hear them ( and shout at them to be quiet at 2am!)

chomalungma Fri 03-Jul-20 20:06:01

Many children camp in the garden safely and have a fantastic time.

The chances of anything happening to your children are remote.

Social distancing is an issue - but generally, with a garden, the chances of anything happening are slim.

They aren't camping alone - they have each other.

darkcaramel Fri 03-Jul-20 20:06:28

I love the assumption on MN that quiet villages are therefore safe.

Never have anyone passing through them, never have anyone they don’t know everything about.

Does a brief look back at some high profile cases over the last 30 years not give food for thought? Milly Dowler, Walton on Thames, not exactly the bronx, is it? Holly wells and Jessica chapman, lovely quiet village in the Fens. Sarah Payne, village in West Sussex. All quiet villages. All in the wrong place at the wrong time.

NotNowPlzz Fri 03-Jul-20 20:06:56

Yes I would let them

Aroundtheworldin80moves Fri 03-Jul-20 20:07:22

Mine (a lot younger than yours, from 7&8) camp in the garden without us. But we live in the middle of an Army camp so a lot less security concerns than in the general public.

Nothing is a 100% safe, and you have to make a judgement call on the area. 1000s of Scouts and Guides camp out from quite young for example (Beavers are 6 when they start camping for example). In some areas children walk home alone from school from 7&8. Some people think 11&12 year olds are old enough to babysit. Everyone has to make these calls based on their own vicinity.

CodenameVillanelle Fri 03-Jul-20 20:07:28

Mine has camped in our garden and a couple of friends but I trust our area to be extremely safe. I'm also a very light sleeper and wake up at any unusual noises.

chomalungma Fri 03-Jul-20 20:07:43

Does a brief look back at some high profile cases over the last 30 years not give food for thought? Milly Dowler, Walton on Thames, not exactly the bronx, is it? Holly wells and Jessica chapman, lovely quiet village in the Fens. Sarah Payne, village in West Sussex. All quiet villages. All in the wrong place at the wrong time

All tragic cases.

But over 30 years, it's very very very very rare for such events to happen.

Fantasisa Fri 03-Jul-20 20:07:58

Sophie Hook was a horrific case but highly unusual. I would let my children do this if I thought they wouldn't get scared in the night and I might let mine do it themselves in our back garden in the summer as an adventure.

ChaoticCatling Fri 03-Jul-20 20:09:04

DS did the scout expedition challenge at age 11 and they were alone in a small group (10 to 14 year olds) overnight, it was like the DofE but they only carried day packs and had their sleeping gear dropped off for them. Then did his DofE practice expedition at 13 just before lockdown. I don't think a garden is less safe.

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