Tammy Cooper was sitting on a lawn chair, watching her kids, ages 6 and 9, play in the street on their scooters. She was seriously surprised when the local police showed up and hauled her to jail for child endangerment after a neighbor called and reported that the kids were unsupervised. She was subjected to an "orange jump suit, in a cell, slammed the door, for 18 hours," she told reporters. For real?
Tammy is now preparing to sue the parties involved — the police department in La Porte and the arresting officer, as well as her neighbor. She has disputed the charges, saying she was there watching them the whole time. But it raises the questions — do we, as parents, need to supervise our children playing outdoors at all times? And if we don’t, will we be arrested?
Most parents can remember what it was like when they were young — playing outside for hours without a parent hovering nearby, sometimes leaving in the morning and not returning until dusk. With the childhood obesity epidemic in America and the allure of sedentary indoor activities such as video games and television, shouldn’t outdoor play be encouraged in our youth and by their parents?
“At 9 and 6, there's no reason those two kids shouldn't be completely allowed to run around outside (on a cul-de-sac, no less) with minimal supervision,” wrote a commenter on the Yahoo story. “As long as Mom is at home and the kids are mature enough to go to her if they need help.”
What do you think? Should kids play outside unsupervised?
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