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Government Pamphlet Says Children Under 12 Should Not Cross the Street

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Read Time: 2 minutes

A reader named Trish sent us this leaflet from Ireland. It begins:
Research shows that children under 12 should not cross roads on
their own. They cannot decide how far away a car is or how
fast it is going. They should be taken to school by a
responsible adult.
Said Trish, “I can find only one study on this on Google, it is based on a virtual simulation on American children, which seems like extremely weak evidence on which to make such broad claims.”
Agreed! The pamphlet was most likely inspired by this strange University of Iowa study. It concluded, thanks to a virtual reality test, that younger kids have a harder time gauging exactly when it’s safe to cross the street.


This is not surprising, is it? That’s why our job is to TEACH kids how to cross the street, and practice with them. Not to say, “That’s why we have to drive them.”

Unfortunately (as we wrote in 2017 when the study came out), America’s #1 parenting magazine, Parents, presented it in the most hysteria-inducing way:

Science Says Kids Shouldn’t Cross a Busy Street Solo Until They’re 14.”

How safe is it NOT to learn how to cross the street until you’re almost ready to start driving?

At Let Grow, we recognize that crossing the street is never perfectly safe. We applaud measures to make it safer and easier for everyone — young and old — to get around on foot or bike.

We do not applaud deciding that any danger to kids = no more freedom for kids, the prevailing message our society seems determined to extract from an imperfect world.

Here, by the way, is how kids get to school in Colombia and in Nepal.

Have you had to fight for your kids’ right to walk on their own? What advice would you give other parents?


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