I'm not saying these are all community members who should make these decisions for our kids (though they all happen to be mandated reporters), but that if you don't feel at ease sharing that information with them, maybe there is a good reason you should reconsider and wait a few more years.
Quoting isn't working for me for some reason....anyway, while I get where you are coming from in that you (generally speaking, not you in particular) don't want to invite trouble in the form of CPS or other "official" people in your life, I disagree.
If someone is not a person who should be making decisions for my kids, then they.....just don't. If *I* make a decision based out of fear of how someone else is going to react, then they essentially made the decision for me.
As an example, I am planning a home birth with baby #3. I don't go around advertising it to everyone, but inevitably it comes up when people hear i'm pregnant, and I tell the truth. I have no doubts that it will eventually get back to the same family members who have called CPS on me in the past. While I don't relish the thought of being investigated again and going through that drama, to me it's a cowards way out to either a) lie and hide it, which does nothing to normalize natural birth and promote change, or b) give in and do it the way this other family member thinks it should be done, just to avoid trouble.
No one should be apologizing for how they raise their children, as long as they are making decisions thoughtfully and from a place of love for their individual child. That basically just reinforces these arbitrary rules (about whatever-- leaving your kid home alone, letting your kid sit in the car alone, home birthing, breastfeeding for 3 yrs, etc.). Just my two cents.
And to answer the original question, while I'm fine with ds playing outside alone to his heart's content, where all messes are forgiven, no way am I leaving that boy home alone for years to come! He never gets into anything dangerous because even at 3 he is trained not to touch the stove, daddy's tools etc, but I think even with a few years on him, I'd come home to find my house turned upside down. He's emotionally immature. And I imagine his anxiety would be through the roof at the thought of one of us not being accessible. I dread the day his sister surpasses him in what she is allowed to do, just because she is more even keeled. I imagine for her or any other typical kid 5 or 6 woul be ok for a few short minutes (like to walk to a neighbor's house down the street). i wouldn't get in my car and drive away before my kid was 8-ish, I think.