What age is safe to let kids out?


Married to Night Train
Salford, UK
I'd say, you know best. You know your kid, and his level of responsibility and maturity. I bet there are 16 year olds out there who really oughtn't to be out alone. If you never let him do little stuff lie this, he'll never learn how to avoid risk and so on.

I was 10 before I went anywhere alone, but until then we'd lived in Belfast, and things were a bit different. Once we moved over here, and had a house in the suburbs, my sister and I were out and about all the time (sister is five years younger than me - I reckon she would have made her first solo trip earlier, maybe at 8?)

Mind you, my Mum still worries about me now....


Jaffa Cake monster
Manchester, UK
User76 said:
However, he met one of our neighbours in Tescos, she is appalled I took such a huge risk:ohmy: What do we think?
I agree with your neighbour.... think what could have happened if he'd accidentally mixed up the sherbert and the oxo cubes??? His tastebuds would never have forgiven him.

I'll get my coat. :tongue:
i was hitch-hiking into the centre of town about 8 miles away when i was between 8-12, never had any problems. a 10 minute walk for an 8 yr old shouldn't even be considered a problem.


Über Member
You should give them as much freedom and responsibility as you can at the earliest age practicable.

The only real threat out there is the roads, once they are old enough to act responsibly around roads then they are old enough to do almost anything.


My kids were flying to Canada on their own at age 12 and 10. Admittedly, BA would look after them on the flight. but it demanded getting a taxi to Heathrow from school and then reporting to the BA desk.


Legendary Member
I nearly got run over crossing the road aged about 17, I ended up lying on the poor bloke's bonnet. My fault entirely.


New Member
Ours have gone out on their own from about 8. Short trips, admittedly. The boy earlier than the girl.

A neighbour made a comment about it being dangerous, them going up to the park on their own. "I know", I said, "However we teach them where to cross the road and how to, so we are comfortable with that." Got a great no-comprehend look back.


Married to Night Train
Salford, UK
I think the best thing you can do is set a good example, drum the rules into them, and let them get on with it. My Dad always told me to look before crossing, even at lights, because the green man doesn't actually physically stop the traffic, and that habit has saved me before now, when a car has gone right over a red. I think part of it was that he explained WHY I still had to look, so it didn't just seem like a pointless rule. And when I was about 8 or 9, I saw a girl knocked down in the road, and it made a big impression on me.

It's the same sort of thing for all dangers I guess. Lay down the rules, but credit kids with the intelligence to understand an explanation of why the rules are there.


Rare Migrant
There was this interesting article in the Grauniad before Christmas:

By and large, the feedback was very supportive of the mother's actions in trusting her son:

Maggot's example appears to show very responsible parenting - giving the child a taste of freedom and responsibility, whilst retaining a measure of guardianship and responsibility.

I hope if and when I have kids I'll be able to act in a similar fashion.


Married to Night Train
Salford, UK
My first independent trip was to a grocer's, about 50 yards from my Gran's house, to get potatoes.

I got the wrong sort of potatoes.:thumbsup:
It's all about perspective, circumstance and situation which only you can judge and others can't. Whatever you do there'll always be 'tutters' and interferers.

For instance if I told you that the other day I let my two kids 8 and 10 walk down the main A road, with no pavement with cars going past beeping so they could play in a tree with a rope a 1000 yards away out of sight and hearing, you'd rightly raise an eyebrow or two.

If I then said the main road is a singletrack and the people beeping were also waving hello, the tree was outside their friends house and both of them at that age are also accomplished cimbers with ropes and harnesses the whole thing would look very different.

The situation of alowing your children freedom is something only you can judge but others often insist on doing it for you these days.
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