11 Answers

Various sports require children to be on their own in urban and urban park spaces as they compete – eg bike races, cross-country running, community fun runs, orienteering and probably other sports. They can be partially supervised but not fully. How do you feel about them taking part? What sort of age is ok? And while some sports do have age limits, or require parents to accompany, some do not. Should they?

Posted by mom176887, 5th April 2016

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  • I think parents should most definitely be there whenever their child is participating in any sport. Fun runs and marathons usually have check points, so the kids aren’t unsupervised for long, and they’re mostly in groups so I think it’s relatively safe.

  • I have always worried about this as a child of mine used to do cross country running and race walking. There are officials at various points of the route and other competitors as well. I think the officials are pretty vigilant and places officials at points where most of the route is in view of at least one officials.

  • My niece went mountain riding and she fell and may have damaged a nerve in her eye which she sees double vision . She is only 15 and sports like this at her age is risky . I think if the kids are under 18 . they are considered a minor and some sort of supervision is necessary to cater for any emergencies etc.. Better safe than sorry is how I see it .

  • I think the answer will depend on the age and responsibility of your child, as well as the level of your comfort and the risk assessments put in place by the sport. Eg. if your child would be orienteering by themselves in unsupervised woods I would think most parents wouldn’t be comfortable with that regardless of age these days. If your child was going to be doing a triathlon with lots of other kids and they were old enough to know what to do if they got in trouble, then perhaps it would be fine. It’s such a grey area these days isn’t it? I know that I would never be comfortable with my kids doing what I did growing up but I think times have changed and our awareness of the dangers have too. In the end, you just have to decide what’s best for you and your child. All the best!

  • If there is supervision from an adult i.e. a coach etc that’s fine but if they’re left to their own devices especially if they are running through parkland etc I wouldn’t be comfortably, you just hear too many horror stories. its a shame because children should be able to do sports they enjoy without limitations because of some unsavoury people out there.

  • I would not leave my kids in a public space/park unsupervised. Bike riding I would sit at a park bench or in the car and ask the kids to check in every half hour. Sometimes they are with lots of other kids and other parents would gather and talk great for meeting others but we all talk about what’s going on in the neighbourhood. Bike trails can have people there of all ages and you never know who is there so keep a eye on your own kids at all times.

  • My son attends Karate without me. I know he is safe and supervised so it doesn’t bother me

  • if you dont feel comfortable then dont leave your child.

  • Sports at all Schools is supervised by a fully qualified sports teacher, sometimes more. If a parent doesn’t want to go they should at least make sure there are other adults there that agree to keeping an eye on your child. Don’t expect the same parents to do transport to sports matches all the time. We all need “me time out” occasionally. Some sports such as those listed above have volunteers in specific spots to check children as the go past. Maybe you could help form a volunteer group to do that.

  • My kids do karate and swimming and are required to be supervised by a parent while under a certain age for karate and fully supervised by a parent on the sidlines while swimming even though they have a teacher with them at all times.. But i can remember as a mid aged primary school kid 8 or 9 with the sports i did my parents never stayed to watch… I dont know how much freedom is to much.. Unless my kids insisted and were over 10 possibly 12 years old I dont think i would like the idea of it been unsupervised at all.. If they are old enough to go to high school well that another story..

  • As a parent I have taken decisions of these based on observations, recommendations and feed back from my child and others. Mine has done cross country since age 8. I also try to ensure she is doing such activities with friends as this increases her support during such activities.

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