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Utah makes it official: Parents won’t be prosecuted for letting kids play by themselves

First state in the country to legalize common sense

Generation X grew up without parents hovering around them all the time. Millennials haven’t had the same experience, because of a combination of cultural pressure and legal risks.

But the next generation in Utah might have an opportunity to recover some of that freedom to do things by themselves under legislation signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert.

The Deseret News reports that Utah appears to be the first state in the country to officially bless “free-range parenting,” letting children “travel to school, explore a playground or stay in the car” without parents getting in legal trouble for neglect.

The bill was prompted by stories of parents in other states who were investigated or even lost their children when their children were spotted outside by themselves:

Republican Sen. Lincoln Fillmore of South Jordan has said allowing kids to try things alone helps prepare them for the future, though some have raised concerns the law could be used as defenses in child-abuse cases if not carefully deployed.

The law states the child must be mature enough to handle those things but leaves the age purposely open-ended so police and prosecutors can work on a case-by-case basis, Fillmore has said.

Lenore Skenazy, the author and activist who launched the free-range kids movement nearly 10 years ago, urged her readers to take the “Let Grow Proclamation” to their elected leaders and pressure them to let kids grow up the way they used to.

Read the News article and Skenazy’s post.

IMAGE: Zambri Zakaria/Shutterstock

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