One of my fondest memories as a kid was driving down a two-lane highway that connected my small hometown to the cities; just as you left town there was a string of abandoned homes followed by what urban legends say was an old psychiatric hospital. Kids who were brave enough, not me, would dare each other to go inside the empty bungalows and worn down sheds; and once you got into high school, you were allowed to attend parties at the spooky psychiatric facility.

That was how you spent time and had fun back in the day, at least where I'm from. You're not exactly thinking about your safety when your adrenaline is already pumping from showing your friends that you aren't too chicken to toss back a beer you stole from your parents fridge in an abandoned home.

Now that I'm a parent, when it comes to my kids, safety is a priority; it's also a priority of the Rockford Fire Department. According to WIFR, the RFD has been placing red X's on abandoned homes all over Rockford. The X lets firefighters and residents know that the building is not structurally sound or that it's on a list of buildings scheduled to be demolished.

Moms and dads, make sure your kids know what these X's mean.

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