Even though many of us come from a time when playing outside and roaming the neighborhood unaccompanied by parents was just an everyday occurrence, hearing a recent story about a mom allowing her young child to walk alone can be surprising. A Florida mom raised a lot of eyebrows and concern for her 7-year-old son’s safety after she allowed him to walk to the park alone and now she is facing serious legal repurcussions as a direct result of her decision.
Today reports about the incident that led to mom Nicole Gainey being charged with child neglect after allowing her son, Dominic, to walk a distance of one half a mile (about a 15 minute walk) to their local park alone. Gainey is now speaking out to the public saying she is shocked by the charges and after speaking with the Florida Department of Children and Families Services expects the case against her to be dropped. She also mentions that her son had a cell phone on him and she was able to check in with him at all times during the walk.
Gainey says, “I'm totally dumbfounded by this whole situation. I honestly don't think I was doing anything wrong. I was letting him go play.” Gainey’s son was found by a person at a public pool who saw the child walking alone and called the police after feeling concerned for the boy’s safety. In the police report the officer noted that the child was alone and that “numerous sex offenders reside in the vicinity.” The officers escorted the child home and later charged Gainey with child neglect.
What do you think of this mom being charged with child neglect after allowing her 7-year-old to walk to the park alone?
What age do you think is appropriate to allow children to walk short distances alone?
I used to be able to walk home alone, too, but times have changed and I would never allow my own kids to walk home alone at age 7. It is indeed a sad commentary on today's society.
I think 7 is way to young to walk alone, but I think by the age of 9 or 10 we can start allowing our children a little more independence of walking by themselves to the corner store or to the neighborhood park. However, as parents would should always encourage our children to walk in groups as much as possible rather than walking alone.
This story is a very sad commentary on our society. Back in the 1970s I walked home alone from school at the age of 5, but nowadays I would not allow that. I think 9 or 10 is a good age to start letting kids walk short distances alone, but even then I would only do it with great pause, and beforehand I would teach my children all the dangers of speaking to strangers.
I don't think she should have been charged because it was her call as a parent and if something had happened she would face repercussions, but in the world we live in today, there is a great risk leaving your children alone for any period of time.
7 is way too young in this day and age!! I am not sure at what age it would be ok as unfortunately there are too many predators always on the prowl...