Another Mom Arrested For Letting Child Go To Park So Don’t Think This Can’t Happen To You

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floridaNormally, I don’t like to start a run-of-the-mill parenting tale with an over-hyped warning label like “it could happen to you,” but that is precisely why this news story is so disturbing. A Florida mother is now facing felony child neglect after giving her seven-year-old son permission to walk to a local park alone. All in all, the walk took roughly 15 minutes, and I fail to understand where this mother did anything wrong.

I would bet that my favorite, famous free-range mom and guru Lenore Skenazy is having a field day with this one, as this story is one more example of how utterly ridiculous it can be to police parents for making well-informed, responsible decisions. Basically, this woman was arrested because she trusted her son’s independence and didn’t overreact as a helicopter mom.

According to local news sources:

On Sunday, Nicole Gainey gave her son Dominic permission to walk from their house to Sportsman Park, a half-mile away, or about a 10- to 15-minute walk.

“I honestly didn’t think I was doing anything wrong, I was letting him go play,” said Gainey.

Along the way, the 7-year-old passed a public pool and someone asked him where his mother was.

“They asked me a couple questions and I got scared so I ran off to the park and then they called the cops,” Dominic said.

Police picked up the boy, took him home, and arrested his mother for child neglect. The officer detailed within his report that the child was left unsupervised at the park in the near vicinity of numerous sex offenders. According to the mother, the officer’s main reason for his frantic arrest was because of the possibility of “pedophiles everywhere.”

I personally hate this attitude of danger lurking around every corner. No matter how often parents wring their hands and cry out that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, statistics indicate that we are safer than we have ever been.

I don’t have a seven-year-old son yet, so I can’t entirely vouch for this mother’s decision. But I do know that my husband and I lean “free range” and are more than likely to send our kids off to play without a second thought. Not to mention the fact that this mother sent her son off with a cellphone to call and check on him throughout the day. Her arrest was unwarranted.