risk factors (and the likelyhood of anything bad actually happening) aside... I have a hard time understand WHY anyone would leave their child(ren) at home short of an emergency, or say not enough room in the vehicle (and really, then the DH could call himself a cab, or take the bus). Not wanting to wake a sleeping baby b/c you don't want to deal with them potentially screaming for the 20 min drive, or making an 8 yo stop playing video games b/c it's time to go are no way in heck valid excuses for doing this. I'm sorry, and I know I responded yesterday w/o sounding this harsh, but it's been bothering me to the point I talked to DH to see if I was way off with my feelings (something I almost never do, he rolls his eyes a bit about my "cyber mom homies" whatever). Really, even a small risk, to me, seems not worth it. Yes, there is a risk in taking your children in a motor vehicle, and possibly more so than leaving them at home unattended -- but in the responsible scenario you are physically there with your children.
My neighbor leaves her 8 yo granddaughter home alone for hrs sometimes, and when her DD does go with she will often leave her in the car alone to go into stores. I guess I just don't get it at all. This is a well behaved, easy going kid. What the heck is the big deal with taking them with you to run errands? My DH, BTW, thinks CPS should be called and I would guess that the vast majority of adults would agree with him.
When we have children, we commit to being 100% responsible for their safety. Sometimes that means running late to places, or being inconvenienced in other 'dragging the kids along' ways. That's pretty much what you sign up for when you become a parent, IMO.
I know that there eventually comes an age where you feel comfortable enough leaving them home alone (I'm not saying you have to be attached by the hip until they are 18, or anything) I just, personally, would never in a million gazillion years think it would be a good judegement call to leave an 8 year old at home with an infant (baring an unavoidable true emergency situation).
Clearly, there are plenty of loving mothers here that disagree with me. I guess I'm just surprised, is all.