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When children should walk to school alone

If you have a small child and live close to your child's school, you may be wondering when it's appropriate for your child to walk to school on his or her own. There's no federal law that says when it's okay for a child to walk unaccompanied, but you may want to think about talking to your school district about the normal times when children do walk by themselves. The school may also know particularly safe routes that children can take; perhaps your child can meet up with others on their way.

Tragically, sometimes kids walking to school are hit by cars. It's important that your child is ready to walk alone and understands the dangers of walking near and crossing roadways before taking that major step of independence.

The problem with randomly deciding on an age when a child can walk to school is that all children develop differently. Depending on their mental states, children in the same grade may be at different levels of readiness when it comes to handling traffic situations like crossing the street or knowing when a car is about to pull out of a driveway.

Usually, the age at which children can learn to cross a street safely by is age 10. Up until that point, it's safest to monitor your child at crossings and to walk with them, if you want to make the trip by foot. Teaching your child traffic safety from a young age can help you boost their confidence to walk alone sooner if that's necessary, and it may help avoid a collision for which you have to make a claim.

Source: SafeRoutes, "At what age can children walk to school by themselves?," accessed Aug. 04, 2016

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