After Utah passed the United States' first law legalizing so-called free-range parenting, groups from New York to Texas are pushing for similar steps to bolster the idea that supporters say is an antidote for anxiety-plagued parents and overscheduled kids.
Critics say letting kids strike out on their own can expose them to serious dangers. But lawmakers and advocates in several states say the protective pendulum has swung too far. They want to send a message that parents who raise their children in a healthy environment can grant them more freedom.
They're looking closely at Utah's law. It specifies that it isn't neglectful to let well-cared-for children travel to school, explore a playground or stay in the car alone if they're mature enough to handle it.