Getting kids to and from school can be a difficult proposition, particularly for working parents or parents with multiple children attending different schools. Staggering start times and adjusting for traffic can be problematic. Even managing bus pickup times and but stops can be a multi-hour logic puzzle that yields unmanageable results.
As the kids grow older, the option of walking to school unsupervised becomes more and more attractive to many parents. In some cases, the kids themselves begin to push for more freedom and personal responsibility. Once this possibility is on the table, there are a number of factors that should be considered before proceeding, including:
- The maturity of the children
- Street safety skills
- Whether other neighborhood children may be available to walk with
The maturity of the children is of primary importance. If your child cannot be trusted with stranger danger, or if the child might wander off, or if the child is likely to skip school altogether, then trusting them with this responsibility might not be the best idea. Getting yourself to and from school is a big deal, and the child should appreciate the trust being shown.
Street safety skills are rarely a problem for children mature enough to handle the responsibility of walking to school, but some children are more absent-minded than others. Children given to daydreaming or distraction by their phone should receive additional instruction on paying attention to traffic and what is going on around them.
Other children can make walking to school safer, particularly when it comes to stranger danger situations. If there are other responsible children in the neighborhood who might make good walking partners, reaching out to their parents might be a good idea. If you see other children walking to school who are behaving unsafely, partnering your children with those children is likely a bad idea.
If you or someone you love has been injured while walking to or from school, either in a car accident or other incident, please consider reaching out to an experienced attorney. Evaluating the scenario that led to the accident can be a difficult process, and a qualified lawyer can guide you through the difficult work of getting the answers you need.