Playing in the streets?

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I can’t believe I even have to talk about this!  Growing up, I lived on a dirt road just at the dead end.  The road itself had very little traffic and given our location on the road, it was nothing for us to play in the dirt at the end.  Sure, we road our bikes over to the few neighbors’ houses down the street and kind of ran a muck, but I think it was general knowledge not to play in the streets in town.

I’m not sure when the concept of playing in the street became acceptable.  I have been more than perturbed to find recently that a family member’s neighborhood is full of people who think letting their kids run around and play in the street acceptable.  More importantly, finding out that said family member was taking my own child’s life in her hands by allowing her to play in the street, was the most disturbing to me.

This isn’t a habit I want OR NEED my two year old daughter to be in.  The moment I realized what was happening, I took my child out of the street and tried to explain why she wasn’t allowed to follow the crowd including her cousins and the neighbors.  That created a melt-down and some glares as if I was a terrible mother for stopping my child’s fun.  Excuse me for understanding that my child’s life is in danger should a distracted driver happen to be barreling through the neighborhood!

How about some safety tips from safekids.org?   My daughter is two and I certainly don’t expect her to understand the dangers involved in playing in the street, but this site says “Every child is different, but developmentally, it can be hard for kids to judge speed and distance of cars until age 10.”  That said, even if you’re out in the street with multiple children, you’re not going to be able to account for everyone every moment and I wouldn’t put my faith in a child’s ability to pay attention to the road while they’re focused on play.

I feel like I need to support my beliefs with more statistics, so here you go!  If you’re a parent or care giver, please use this to educate yourself on the dangers of children pedestrians:

Regardless of speed bumps and speed limit signs, we cannot control drivers’ actions.  Not everyone out there obeys laws and I know there are plenty of distracted drivers out there that aren’t always paying attention to the road.  It’s common sense that a two year old can get away from us in a matter of seconds … and it’s in those seconds that a car can be driving down the road with a driver tired from work, distracted by their own child in the back seat, or texting away.  For those reasons, it’s a rule in this house that my child doesn’t play in the street!

If you’re choosing to allow your children to play in the street for whatever reason, you must accept the consequences should anything negative happen.  This also means that you can’t blame a driver if the unthinkable happens … you’re at fault as much as the driver in this case.

However the choice isn’t yours to make when another person’s child is in your care.  There are side walks, front and back yards, and play grounds created as a safer place for you and those precious children… if you don’t want to use them, stay indoors!

Do you agree?

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