Category Archives: free-range kids

Find the parent? or call 911?

Several times in the last few weeks I have heard of cases where a stranger finds a kid fine and safe but without their parent and calls 911 instead of just finding the parent.

This includes:
1. Stroller right outside starbucks. With dog attached on leash! Call 911 or find parent in line?
2. Mom picking up a car seat at an apt building — like a craigslist purchase — and kid is sitting in the car in the parking lot like 20 feet away. Call 911 or ask adult by open door if it’s their kid?
3. This article. (Kid playing at park within view of house)

Comment there from someone at that I hadn’t heard of before…

“At the National Association of Parents, in radio and press interviews, we have advocated for a triage of calls reporting children alone:

(1) Does the child appear to be hurt?
(2) Does the child appear to be in distress?
(3) Does the child appear to be in imminent danger of harm from an identifiable source of harm?

If the answer to all three questions is “no,” then law enforcement has no business getting involved (other than MAYBE to drive by to confirm that the answer indeed is “no”). Otherwise, the misuse of finite resources and the misapplication of authority becomes routine.”

That’s maybe more than some people can handle… but seems totally reasonable for folks to ask themselves the 3 questions and talk to the kid and/or look for the parent first.

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A “free-range parenting” reference which predates 2008

I doubt Lenore Skenazy in the US had heard this reference when she coined “free-range kids” but interesting nonetheless.

“Maybe it’s your rational free-range parenting which has made a bully of your son…”

From BBC sitcom: “My Family” Season 1 Episode 02 (2000)
Pain In The Class

at approximately 23min 30sec

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Today I walked to school. The Red sox won last night.

“Today I walked to school. The Red sox won last night.”

From my school journal when I was 7, turning 8 in 3 days. (back in the 1970s)

I think I walked pretty much by myself on the way to school, and maybe with 2 or 3 friends on the way back. I remember having to wait in class until all the buses had left before the walkers were released.

I mean, that’s pretty amazing, given that my school was a full 1/2 miles walk and on 2 roads without a sidewalk. But I don’t remember thinking anything of it. It was just normal. Today (2015) that would seem pretty unusual I think.


— Marco’s Village
“I wrote an article a year ago that described my son Marco’s roaming range. Well, he’s 6-1/2 now, and I’m happy to say that this range has expanded considerably. I call the area pictured below “Marco’s Village” because he’s familiar with many people and places within this area. He feels safe here, and we feel comfortable letting him roam within this area.”

— A 1979 first-grade readiness checklist asks if your child can travel alone in the neighborhood, but not if she can read.

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Filed under free-range kids, kids -- freedom and responsibility, safety, shifting baseline