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Safety Advice, Children Seen Playing In Street


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Have had a situation today where 2 staff members have both said they have seen one of our three year olds, playing out on the paths around his home on his bike. There were no adults in sight watching, and his 'journey' on his bike involved going near a fairly busy road.


Any thoughts on the best way to tackle this? They are a family which we have not had any other concerns about, so I was a bit surprised. Don't want to seem heavy handed, but can't believe 3 is old enough to be alone in charge of a bike, near a busy road.


What would you do?


(Should say, my gut feeling is to do a concern form and speak to parent but looking for other views)



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As the child comes to you, I'm sure you have an idea of his understanding of dangers so I'd think objectively about this rather than rush in because of emotions.

My youngest son used to play out, usually with older children but if they decided for whatever reason to go into someone's house for a few minutes or walk to the local shop leaving him alone, I know he would have understood not to cross the road, not to get into a car, not to gladly take someone's hand and walk off. Most probably he'd have come home for food or drink.

I do understand your concerns, but as a mom, I knew what I could trust him with and I was always popping outside to check anyway, maybe his mom did the same but your staff didnt see?

Being snatched off the street is a worry but not highly likely either despite what we read in the media.

Maybe you could tell mom he'd been seen and given your staff a bit of a shock, make it conversational rather than confrontational, maybe a relative or close friend lives at the other end of the road and between them, they and mom keep tabs on him.

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Well put Rea, I couldn't have said it better myself. A quiet word might be enough to either reassure you that the child was not in any danger, or to help her see it from a different perspective and take steps to make sure he isn't out by the road unsupervised.


If you believe the child is at risk then you have to speak to mum initially, however I would definitely adopt a softly softly approach in the first instance. If there is a problem or a worrying situation that you're not aware of within the family then she is more likely to confide in you if she feels you're on her side rather than criticising her from the off. At the least she'll know you have her child's welfare at heart, but these kinds of conversations can blow up in your face all too easily.


Those of us of a certain age well remember being out and about at a much earlier age than children are these days, but I remember how I used to look out of the window nervously as Mrs Weasley would walk the few yards along our cul-de-sac to visit a neighbour. She never left my sight until she reached the neighbour's driveway but it took a lot of willpower on my part to let her go by herself! :o

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Thanks for the calm words. I came on here to air the subject precisely because I didn't want to react before thinking about the situation, so its really good to 'talk it though' with people who don't know the people involved.


However, whilst I appreciate that there were good old days where we all played out in the street, there has been a significant in the amount and speed of traffic, and I cannot believe that a three year old who has only just learned to ride a bike should be doing so alone, albeit a few hundred yards from home, near a busy road on a bend. (an area I know well as it is just outside the school grounds). He is a very capable child and I am quite sure he knows right from wrong and how to cross roads etc, but it's other people I would be concerned about.

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Very interested to read this as I have been getting some glances askance recently because I have let my sensible eight year old walk from school to church by himself on two occasions recently (a ten minute walk). Means crossing busy roads three times - first time his teacher sees him across the road. I have done training with him and am confident he knows where to cross safely (there are light operated crossings). But still people look shocked and I wonder if I should be waiting longer.


Personally, I think a three year old should be under close supervision near roads, but it may be that parent was just out of sight at the time, so you would be right to tread very carefully.


Hope it works out happily,



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Im afraid I agree that at 3 years old a child is not able to make rational decisions for himself, unexpected things happen, dogs in the street or older less friendly children, and to be so close to a busy road on his own would make me very uncomfortable, and i did play out at 3 as a child, but in a quiet cul de sac and with virtually no cars in the road ( 1964!). There is a whole lot of difference betwen 8yrs old and 3yrs old. I know we have to be cautious and not jump in with two feet, so a calm chat with the parents is needed, but remember, the safety of the child is paramount isnt it?

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Thanks Sunshine61 glad to know it is not just me. We have also noticed that same parent lets same child run in and out of the cars in the staff car park at school pick up time. OK they probably won't move at that time, but they might. And in any case it's not good to let children think they should do that. Chat to come this week. Will let you know how I get on.

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