Sarah's Reviews > Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry

Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy
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's review
Jan 17, 2011

really liked it
Read from January 17 to 18, 2011

I might have given this book 3 1/2 stars if I could. I enjoyed reading it, and it was quick read, but it isn't a must-read... unless you are one of those moms/dads that have every sharp corner of your house covered with foam.

The author of Free Range Kids is a columnist and mom who got a lot of negative (and some positive) press back in 2007 for letting her 9 yo son ride the NY subway alone. She strongly believes in giving children independence, real-world skills, and plenty of play outside to name a few. She gives several statistics that reveal that a lot of our fears as parents (i.e. child abduction) are so blown out of proportion by the media. Of course, the media spews all the fear-inducing stories (rather than positive news) and often times has the stories wrong in the first place or purposely leaves out the information that makes them less fear-inducing. And TV shows like Law & Order and CSI (two shows I don't find appealing, thank goodness) leave impressions on our mind that we can't shake. And its not just the media and TV but it's corporations. Products geared towards parents make us feel like we can't trust ourselves. One of the things that she points out that stuck with me is she implied that the toilet lid locks became popular when one professional baby-proofer on The Early Show said that "on average two children a week die in toilets" when in reality the CPSC received reports of 16 children under the age of 5 drowning in toilets between 1996 and 1999... which is on average 4 per year in America. It is annoying to think that a lot of effort and money is being spent in places that it shouldn't (yes, I bought a toilet lid lock), but more importantly we are worrying about things that are so remotely possible. I agree with Skenazy that we need to trust our children more, we need to worry less, and be a little more carefree. We need to get out more and explore more. We need to tell our children to talk to strangers but to not go away with strangers. All good advice... but a bit redundant at times.


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