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Thread: Walking to school & crossing roads

  1. #1

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    Default Walking to school & crossing roads

    Just saw an add on TV that was about walking to school and how children should always cross the road with an adult until the age of 10. Is this a law or a recommendation? This would imply that most children should not walk to school without an adult. What constitutes an adult in this situation?

    I am shall we say paranoid. Rough upbringing probably the cause so my kids have never walked to school on their own. But I have never heard these recommendations before. Our school discourages children walking to school without parents. Our school has close associations with family of a child that was abducted and murdered, his father gives talks every year. So I'm pretty sure this has a lot to do with the schools stance on walking to school. We also have walking buses. Where parents roster on for walking a group of kids to school. They have a designated route and parents walk to the route and the walking bus meets them.



    Thoughts?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Walking to school & crossing roads

    I have heard before that children have difficulty processing their perception of distance and speed until a certain age and that that could lead to poor judgement about when it is safe to cross a road but I can't remember where I heard that from nor am I completely convinced. But it is something I've always kind of had in my head, maybe from my parents when I was growing up actually (they were big on explaining reasons for rules).

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Walking to school & crossing roads

    We live around the block from the school with one road to cross. DS keeps asking to walk alone and I have told him a definite no, not just because of his very young age but the road that needs to be crossed is so busy during school drop off times that I worry that he would get hit. The amount of illegal parking that occurs because people just don't want to walk that extra minute or two astounds me. How do they expect to see their own or other peoples children like that? Not to mention the number of parents who cross their children in the middle of a busy road (different road to the one DS needs to cross) rather than using the children's crossing not even 10 metres away! Its there for a reason, yet it seems that parents choose to cross in the middle of the street dodging traffic rather than walk those few extra steps and wait for the guard to stop the traffic. Why is this? Why do we have her when she is so under utilised?

    So after that rant, in answer to your question, I don't really know. As kids walking the same route we walked with my grandma until I was in year one? so my sister would have been around 9 and we walked together alone. I don't know why my parents and grandparents trusted her as I remember almost getting squished a number of times (no crossing guard in those days).

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Walking to school & crossing roads

    As Jellyfish said, children's brains aren't mature enough to use the skills needed to process information necessary to them to cross a road safely until between 8 and 10 years of age.

    As you say, children lack the maturity to process situations of danger or perceived danger from other people. They do dumb things, being kids and all.

    Walking my kids across a road, or 10 mins to school is the least of my parenting duties. It's a no brainer for me, and one of the easiest ways I can keep my babies safe.

    I used to walk to school when I started year 6, so would have been about 11 or 12. It was a good 20 min walk for an adult. I had men stop and ask me to get into their car about 3 times during the few years I used to walk to school. Luckily, I was a suspicious and un-trusting child. Otherwise, I suspect I would have been one of those tragic kidnapping statistics too. It's part of the reason I won't let my kids walk to school alone. They could go with friends when they're a little older (maybe!) but certainly never alone.
    Last edited by MrsFabuloso; April 29th, 2014 at 11:51 AM. Reason: Adding words

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Walking to school & crossing roads

    The 10 years old is a guideline that is bandied around but it is not law and I would be strongly against it ever being made law. Each situation needs to be judged accordingly, different roads and situations are all different as are children, and there are many many places where walking at less than 10 years old would be perfectly safe. Any type of abduction risk I personally am not concerned about because the likelihood of it happening is so small and the benefits to a child of the independence of walking to school on their own or with friends outweighs the risk in my opinion, and I believe that everyone should be allowed to make their own assessment so I don't like the idea of schools prescribing an age myself. The more people that drive their children to school the more at risk the children who walk to school are, especially around the school drop off areas - so it becomes a vicious cycle, so I think schools should be tougher on illegal parking, and traffic dodging - given the many benefits of walking to school.

    My DD thinks by 6 she will be walking her brother to childcare and walking to school by herself! I think that is a bit young myself especially to have the responsibility of DS, but I expect by 7-8 she would be ok on her own, given the route she would need to take (she has already been walking it for two years with me). The distance perception thing doesn't particularly bother me as we were just taught as kids you don't cross if you can see a car - doesn't matter how far away it is, and that principal would work fine around here, but not in all places.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Walking to school & crossing roads

    There is a roundabout just a few metres down from the main school entrance. This roundabout is ...mental. People fill it up, no one can get though, when someone gets a chance they floor it sometimes. Some drivers just let the pedestrians walk through all the time, others make them wait.

    Just last week I saw two boys, probably 11ish, teasing and taunting each other. They both looked upset at one another. One stepped out to cross one part of the road without looking or realising there was a car approaching. The driver obviously had her wits about her (unlike many on their phones or too busy trying to shove their own kids out of the door whilst still in traffic). She stopped, the boy crossed and went on his way. No harm done. The boy remaining on my side of the road was gobsmacked. He saw it all and it seemed to dawn on him what so nearly happened.

    I am more worried about getting into trouble in traffic than getting kidnapped. I am not sure when I'll let DS walk to school. It's so very very close. But with one crazy roundabout to cross, it just doesn't seem like it will happen anytime soon.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Walking to school & crossing roads

    In my town there are about 30 kids using the school and most of them walk. There aren't very many streets so the longest walk would be from my place, 15 minutes. They'd have to cross 2 minor roads.

    If we used that school, I'd let my kids walk on their own as soon as they can show me that they can be responsible, don't go near the road and don't cross even if there is a car going beside where they will cross (T-junction) because you don't know if a car will turn without blinkers. No running or mucking around etc.

    I have seen kids on their way to and from the school just being... silly I guess. They have no concern for cars, they don't seem to even realise there could be cars on the road. They randomly run out on to the road, they cross even if there's a car coming, they're just jumping around all over the place. They'd be 10 or 11 too. So I think rather than age, it comes down to the maturity of the kids and where you are.

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Walking to school & crossing roads

    Yep, just a recommendation and very unlikely ever passed as a law I'd say.

    DD1 has walked or ridden a couple of times when the little kids were sick/asleep, but when I told her dad he was horrified and told me he wasn't ok with that at all. We only live 600metres max from the school and 2very minor and 1busy (for us - not you city folk ) road away and she's very responsible and perceptive and I rang my gfs at school to check she had gotten there - but she's still a kid and I do understand. We are both part of a rare breed of the population Jo have seen and know too much too IYKWIM.

    I also don't think she should have to shoulder the responsibility of looking after a small boy either.

    There are, however heaps of latchkey kids that go to the school. They walk both ways every day. OOSH here is hideously expensive and there are few places. When DD1was in transition, one of the little girls in her year was picked up by a random (nice, thankfully) over 3km from where she should have been. It prompted a rash of safety talks, but ultimately I think that is really only preaching to the believers. The community here is a bit different to most of yours.

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Walking to school & crossing roads

    I had heard 12yo as being the ok age for walking to school.
    In our area, as it is a small town and the school only has 160 students, there are many students who walk or ride unsupervised under the age of 10.
    There is a walking school bus, but it is only 3 days per week due to lack of volunteers.
    The township is mainly just one long road, so most students walk it. Many parents still drop off, plus many locals are around. As a community most people there know each other, so it would be pretty hard to a kid to be taken. If I saw a car pull over near a group of kids, I would take note.

    As mentioned before, traffic itself is the main concern. Some of the students are pretty reckless on their bikes, plus many really don't take any notice of driveways.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Walking to school & crossing roads

    The 10 years recommendation is due to their cognitive abilities - children still don't have the depth/speed perception to calculate whether they are safe from an oncoming vehicle.

    Mined used to walk alone from the shops to school in Canberra. Except they weren't really alone because lots of us let them walk from there and there were other children to walk with and other parents driving and walking along that stretch that kept an eye on them.

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Walking to school & crossing roads

    I live 700m from our school and I walk my boys to and from. I give them some responsibility by letting them walk ahead of me. They are responsible 3 out of 5 days so im not quite ready to let them walk on their own just yet. My oldest will be 10 in october then there is a 7yo and a 6yo and I am definately not comfortable with the idea of letting them walk on their own just yet.

  12. #12

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    Default Re: Walking to school & crossing roads

    I walked 2kms to and from school each day from the age of 4 unsupervised.

    That being said, my DS1 is 4 years old right now, and I wouldn't let him walk to the park 200m down the road unsupervised.

    I have heard 12 years as being the recommendation for when kids should go out and about alone (I was catching a train for an hour, with a 1km walk there and back from 10yo...) but would like to think that my children will be able to walk to school earlier than that - as long as I was confident that they were safe. I love the idea of a walking bus.

  13. #13

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    Default Re: Walking to school & crossing roads

    My son was 5.5 when he started school and I let him walk/bike there alone. He is very, very reliable and responsible and the school was only 150m away with no roads to cross. From about 6 I let him bike to the shops 4 blocks away but we were in a very small town and he could quite easily wait until there were no cars on the roads to cross. In the city I would not let him go alone. I highly doubt I would let my DD1 do the same at that age, it really depends on the child and the town.

  14. #14

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    Default Re: Walking to school & crossing roads

    I agree with the comment about the double parking and not using the crossings.. It seems crazy to me that you are willing to break the law/risk your children's and others safety for the sake of a few minutes or few extra steps..

    And that is the reason I don't let my DD walk from the top of the hill down to her school on her own. (we don't live within walking distance, so have to drive, but can park and let her walk). There is a driveway into a nursing home that borders the school, and with the amount of illegally parked cars near it, and the haste of some drivers in and/out the driveway is too risky. I do let both my kids (DD is 6, DS nearly 5) go ahead of me, but they know the marking before the driveway that they need to stop and wait. I am actually more relaxed about the idea of parking on the other side of the road, with more residential driveways, and letting DD walk to the crossing and cross with the crossing lady/man, rather than navigate one driveway..

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