Oklahoma passed Reasonable Childhood Independence Law in 2021.

Oklahoma passed Reasonable Childhood Independence Law in 2021.

Oklahoma’s child protection law protects children and families who want to let their children have reasonable independence. Oklahoma’s criminal law does not address children’s independence except for a prohibition on children being in cars unattended if they are under 6 and in extreme weather or other dangerous conditions.

Oklahoma passed Reasonable Childhood Independence Law in 2021.

State Laws And Policies

Criminal Law:

Oklahoma does not have a criminal statute against children being unattended, except that 47 Ok. Stat. § 47-11-1119 (2019) prohibits children under 6 from being left in vehicles in extreme weather when inadequate ventilation, or hazardous or malfunctioning components within the vehicle present a risk to the health or safety of the unattended child or vulnerable adult unless they are with someone 12 or over who is not mentally incompetent.

Juvenile Court | Child Protective Services | Neglect Law:

Oklahoma became the second state to pass a “reasonable childhood independence law” as an explicit exception to its neglect law. It provides (a) policy against intervening against families for reasons of material, educational disadvantage, (b) narrows neglect findings to cases in which a parent willfully disregards danger to a child, (c) provides a specific definition of the category of neglect involving lack of supervision as the failure to provide supervision or adequate caregivers to protect the child from harm or threatened harm of which any reasonable and prudent person responsible for the child’s health, safety or welfare would be aware, and (d) enumerates independent activities as including Such independent activities include but are not limited to:

  1. traveling to and from school including by walking, running or bicycling,
  2. traveling to and from nearby commercial or recreational facilities,
  3. engaging in outdoor play,
  4. remaining at home unattended for a reasonable amount of time,
  5. remaining in a vehicle if the temperature inside the vehicle is not or will not become dangerously hot or cold, except under the conditions described in Section 11-1119 of Title 47 of the Oklahoma Statutes, or
  6. engaging in similar activities alone or with other children.

(Amending Oklahoma Children’s Code 10A O.S. 2011, Section 1-1-105, through HB2565, signed into law on May 3, 2021, effective, see also REFERENCE (Oklahoma policy guidance for parents).


This webpage is not a legal document, and Let Grow does not take responsibility for the content. Be mindful that some localities have rules and guidelines even when the state does not. When in doubt, consult your local authorities to confirm the laws where you live. What’s more, laws change, as do judicial interpretations of them, and this webpage may not be updated immediately.

We’ve Been Very Successful In Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s kids can do cartwheels – literally. No one is going to investigate their parents just for letting them play outside. A bill promoting greater childhood independence and protecting parental rights was signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt in May, 2021.

This is the second bill in the United States to affirm Let Grow’s foundational belief that children have the right to some unsupervised time, and parents have the right to give it to them without running afoul of the law.