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April 2015 - Volume 21, Number 2


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The Free-Range Kids* and Parents Bill of Rights

by Lenore Skenazy, Founder of Free-Range Kids and host of The Discovery Channel’s World’s Worst Mom

Free-Range Kids is a commonsense approach to parenting in these overprotective times. These are our rights, as parents, as kids, as humans. Think with me on how we can get them enacted into law, locally or beyond. Also, feel free to suggest changes. They aren’t written on parchment.


Statement of Findings


1. Violent crime is at a 50-year low.
2. The risk of child abduction by strangers is very low.
3. Car accidents are the leading cause of death among children.
4. Lack of exercise is a contributing factor to short-term and long-term health risks for children.
5. It is in the public interest for children to walk and cycle to their day-to-day destinations and to play outside unsupervised.

Rights of Children to Freedom of Movement


1. Therefore, this legislature decrees that children over the age of five may walk, cycle, take public transportation, and/or play outside by themselves with the permission of a parent or guardian.
2. Allowing children to exercise these rights shall not be grounds for civil or criminal charges against their parents or guardians, nor shall it be grounds for investigation by child protective services, removal of the children from their family home, or termination of parental rights.

Rights of Parents to Make Rational Decisions

1. More children die in parking lots than die waiting in parked cars while their caregivers run an errand.
2. The majority of children who die in parked cars were forgotten there for hours or got into the car unbeknownst to anyone and could not get out.
3. Punishing parents who let their children wait in the car for five minutes will not bring back the children forgotten there for five hours.
4. Therefore, parents should be allowed to make their own decision, based on the location, temperature, and duration of their errand, as to whether or not they wish to let their child wait in the car.
5. Laws against children waiting unsupervised for a short amount of time in a parked car shall be repealed.


* Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry) — Fighting the belief that our children are in constant danger from creeps, kidnapping, germs, grades, flashers, frustration, failure, baby snatchers, bugs, bullies, men, sleepovers, and/or the perils of a non-organic grape.


Reprinted with the author’s permission, originally published February 10, 2015, <>.


“You don’t remember the times your dad held your handle bars. You remember the day he let go.”



FACTS & OPINIONS is one of our quarterly membership newsletters, arriving in January, April, July, and October. It consists of short articles of public interest with an emphasis on current issues.


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