Is It OK To Leave Your Child Alone?


Did you hear about the Florida mother who was arrested for letting her son, 7, walk alone to a nearby park? Would you feel comfortable letting a young child walk alone locally? I walked to school at 7.

In South Carolina, a woman was charged with felony child neglect because she allowed her 9-year-old to play with other unsupervised kids in a park. I played outside unsupervised at 9.

Seems to me that, from a statistical perspective, it's far more dangerous to drive your children somewhere, even if they're wearing their seat-belts, than to let them stroll to the neighborhood park.

That being said, I won't let my kids out of my sight to 2 seconds.

Every day, nearly 300 kids are injured in car crashes, and on average, two die. Many parents drive their kids to destinations only several blocks from home. Genuine protection for your kids would mean never driving them anywhere or letting anyone else drive them (do you really know their friends' parents' driving habits? How do you know these other parents don't drive drunk or text while driving?).

What about leaving an unattended child alone in a parked car on an cool day? Statistically speaking, that child would have to be sitting in that immobile car for many years before a pedophile abducted him. Still I won't be doing that either.

Sure, there's a risk, but it's meaningless. Your kid can also walk past a huge heavy display inside the store with you, right as the display falls over and crushes him. But it happens: Young children, with their parents, have walked by something heavy and mounted, right as the object topples over-and kills the child.

Every choice a parent makes carries risk. Why is one choice legal and one gets you arrested? Maybe it's because some choices make parenting a little easier.

There's too much "what if" parenting and arresting out there. Just because an abduction could have happened is no reason to have arrested the Florida or South Carolina mothers.

Men climb through windows and snatch children. We've heard about that plenty of times. So why aren't the parents getting arrested for not securing their windows? Should everyone have a home security system by law? But that's going way too far. Well, so is putting those mothers mentioned previously in this article in handcuffs and hauling them to the police station.

Just because every single abduction attempt or success is reported on the Internet in every nook and cranny of the U.S. doesn't mean that kids are in more danger today than two generations ago. Or does it? I'm still not taking any chances. But when parents do, it takes conscious and thoughtful officials to determine if the child was in imminent danger before a parent is taken away in cuffs.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to discussingburglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.

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