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What age do you let your kids stay home alone? - Page 2

post #21 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarrieMF View Post
That same stuff can happen while you are at home, or on a walk with your kids.
You can somehow manage to get in car accident while at home?

Statistical analysis will show that a car coming through your living room window (or even hitting you on the sidewalk while you take a walk) is a very rare occurrence.

Getting in a car accident while you are driving, however, is a much more likely occurrence.

Gotta go with the odds and not leave kids home alone before they are old enough (which I would vote is at least 13.)

PLUS: If you leave an 8 yo. home alone, you get in a car accident, something happens at home which injures your child, you'll be charged with child neglect.

If you take a walk with your kids and you happen to get hit by a car (again, very rare), you won't be charged with child neglect.
post #22 of 63
This link has guidelines by state in the US. Most states don't have strict laws, it would appear, but rather recommendations.
post #23 of 63
Well, if I were ever in a car accident I would prefer that my children were home alone--I certainly wouldn't want them in the car with me.

Seriously though, if your kids were home alone and you didn't come back don't you think they'd call someone? It's not like an 8 yo old is just going to sit inside the house and slowly starve to death because you didn't return. And talking about improbabilities, what would be the chances that you would both meet with separate accidents at the same time?

I've been leaving my kids home alone for short periods starting around 8 and they've always done fine with it.
post #24 of 63
Quote:
You can somehow manage to get in car accident while at home?
yeah that's exactly what I said(extreme sarcasim here). The person I was responding to also mentioned stroke happening if you were gone. There are the other things people mentioned too like a robbery, fire, injuries, etc that can all happen while you are at home. They happen even when parent is standing right next to the child.

Quote:
PLUS: If you leave an 8 yo. home alone, you get in a car accident, something happens at home which injures your child, you'll be charged with child neglect.
Maybe, IF the laws state that the child should not have been left home alone. You mentioned that the chance of a car coming through your house is rare, I'd guess that being in an accidnet & having your child at home injured around the same time are just as rare.

Quote:
If you take a walk with your kids and you happen to get hit by a car (again, very rare), you won't be charged with child neglect.
No but if you're on a walk with your kids & you get hit by a car(which is more likely to happen than a car-car accident in this town) & are knocked unconscious our killed your child is still left alone & not every driver will stop & not every situation will have a witness.

Again, I don't live my life in fear of rare events or what if's. I am not teaching my children to live in fear of the unknown & low chances of something happening. Ie, not directly related to leaving kids alone but a similar thought process. My neighbor is scared of storms, especially anything that may turn into a tornado. She in turn has put that fear into her kids. Every thunderstorm they're terrified. Yeah we've had tornados here, not as bad as in other places(3-4 times a year 1 MAY touch the ground). We live across the street from her, but do not hold the same fear she does. Living in fear of the rare chance of something occuring every time a storm came up I'd grab the kids & personal papers and hide out in the basement. We don't becuase we know the chance of it actually happening is slim, even when there is a tornado watch & warning we don't. We had a wind storm & thunderstorm watch the other night that brought us F1-F2 Tornado winds & we didn't hide out JIC there was that rare chance that anything would touch down.
post #25 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
PLUS: If you leave an 8 yo. home alone, you get in a car accident, something happens at home which injures your child, you'll be charged with child neglect.

If you take a walk with your kids and you happen to get hit by a car (again, very rare), you won't be charged with child neglect.
As an ex-lawyer I don't know why you think the first situation *would* be charged with neglect unless there are specific laws making it illegal to leave a child of a certain age home alone. Most jurisdictions don't have those. It always *might* be charged, but it doesn't seem likely unless the parent was doing something neglectful without respect to the consequences of the parent's car accident.

If you intend to leave your responsible 13 year old alone for 4 hours and have an accident and wake up in the hospital 48 hours later, I would think you would not be charged.

Similarly I doubt they would charge someone who intended to leave her responsible 9 year old for 15 minutes but woke up in the hospital 8 hours later.
post #26 of 63
My child is only 5.5, so I really don't know.

I think my Mom started leaving me alone to babysit my sisters at about 11, my sisters were 5 & 6 then. It was never for very long, we were not allowed to open the door or go outside and she had a cellphone that she would check in with.

My son is very mature and has always been a careful child ... even as a baby he was very aware of being cautious and not hurting himself or doing anything dangerous. I can see leaving him alone for short trips around age 11. I don't think I would leave him responsible for any younger children, but I can see leaving him alone.

I guess I'll know for sure once we get there. I actually trust that he would be fine for an hour or two by himself now, that's how careful he is, but there is no way I'd actually do that.

So I'm going to say age 11. We'll see if I still agree in another 5 years.
post #27 of 63
I want to add...

I wouldn't leave my child home alone unless I was sure that they were old enough (and mature enough) and able to go to a neighbor or call a relative if they felt something was wrong.

So - I don't see what the argument is about getting into a car accident and the kid being left alone for 48 hours is... I wouldn't leave a child who couldn't call their grandma or Aunt after I was gone longer than I said I would.

So I think that's a ridiculous example to bring into this.

And that's why I think age requirements are stupid. It all depends on the child. If the kid would sit forlorn by themself for 48 hours when their mom didn't come home - that kid isn't ready to be left by themself. That's pretty common sense.
post #28 of 63


Y'all can do what you want with your kids, I guess. Personally I'm just not taking any chances with my kids being alone until at least age 13.
post #29 of 63
Somewhere around 10 we started experimenting with that for very short periods. By the time Ds was 13 and Dd was 11 they could be home alone for some good bits of time alone.
post #30 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post


Y'all can do what you want with your kids, I guess. Personally I'm just not taking any chances with my kids being alone until at least age 13.
What do you worry that could happen?

I'm trying to think of all the worst case scenarios... And I can't imagine what advantage a 13yo would have over a 12yo...

They are both old enough to exit the house in case of fire. They can work a telephone to call for help. They can fix themself a snack - or at the very least, help themselves to some crackers from the pantry.

Is there something magical that happens on the 13th birthday?

I would say that 'many' kids are fully competent to stay home alone by 10 or 11.
post #31 of 63
"The National SAFEKIDS Campaign recommends that no child under the age of 12 be left at home alone. "

From a PP's link.

Kudos to Illinois who made age 13 the law.
post #32 of 63
This is kind of off topic, but I had to tell the story since it has come up a couple times. My dad actually left me at home alone when I was little. I'm guessing I was about 6 months old. He wanted to drive to the store down the street and knew it would only take a couple minutes. I was asleep, so he decided to just go and not wake me up. Well, he got into a car accident on the way to the store. He actually told the cop that came out to investigate that he didn't have time to deal with the accident because he has a sleeping baby at home. The cop told my dad to just go home because it clearly wasn't his fault. The cop also told dad that it was a good think I wasn't in the car because I could have been hurt.

My mom didn't agree, and was livid when she found out what my father had done! He never left a kid home alone after that.

I guess things were different in the 70's...
post #33 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
"The National SAFEKIDS Campaign recommends that no child under the age of 12 be left at home alone. "

From a PP's link.

Kudos to Illinois who made age 13 the law.
How exactly do they hope to enforce that?

Will they take a child away and put them in foster care if a parent leaves them alone?????

That's completely ridiculous.

A HUGE part of North America's problems stem from how long we try to keep our kids babies.
post #34 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kessed View Post

A HUGE part of North America's problems stem from how long we try to keep our kids babies.
I can name numerous problems in America that are WAY bigger than that. But whatever. To each her own.

And I didn't say "magically on the 13th birthday." I said at least 13 for my child. We'll have to see. It may be older than that. (My oldest is 11 now.) And I really don't have any compelling reason to leave kids at home alone, anyway, even though I work full time. I use babysitters (even for the before/after school time.) Or I take my children with me. Or I just don't go to events where I can't find a babysitter and I can't take my children.
post #35 of 63
I started staying home alone (after school, and, occassionally if I were sick) when I was 8 (mom worked about 20 minutes away, grandma lived nearby, and I knew how to work the phone, go to the neighbor's, fix myself a sandwich, etc.)

I was babysitting at 11. I remember clearly my sister (2.5 years younger) and I being baby-sat by our neighbor when I was 6/7 and she was 5 years older than us, so, she was 11/12.

A lot depends on the maturity level of the child and the situation (how long, where will mom/dad be, are their neighbors you trust nearby, etc.). I don't think there's a one size fits all, but I think 13 is waaay over the limit for an across the board minimum (note: I said "across the board"...if your personal comfort level is 13, that's great, but, please don't try to enforce it upon me).
post #36 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
"The National SAFEKIDS Campaign recommends that no child under the age of 12 be left at home alone. "

From a PP's link.
Even though I am the PP who posted that link, the way our school system is set up has made that age guideline virtually impossible for us, personally, to follow. I'm still working on how we are going to work this out, but my older dd will be starting middle school right as she turns 10. There is no before or after-school care available at the middle school and I do work pt. I can't always be home exactly at the time the bus will drop her off and she can't stay at school later to wait for me to pick her up later. The highschools also get out too late to have a highschool student pick her up or be waiting at our house for her to get home.

I'm sure that we'll come up with something, but even though our state says that they recommend age 12 as the age at which you can leave a child home alone, at least half of the kids in the state will be starting middle school (6th grade) by age 11 and, presumably, quite a few of them will be in the same spot we are with no after-school care available and limited, if any, babysitting options with the highschoolers all getting out later than the middle schoolers.
post #37 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristaN View Post
Even though I am the PP who posted that link, the way our school system is set up has made that age guideline virtually impossible for us, personally, to follow. I'm still working on how we are going to work this out, but my older dd will be starting middle school right as she turns 10. There is no before or after-school care available at the middle school and I do work pt. I can't always be home exactly at the time the bus will drop her off and she can't stay at school later to wait for me to pick her up later. The highschools also get out too late to have a highschool student pick her up or be waiting at our house for her to get home.

I'm sure that we'll come up with something, but even though our state says that they recommend age 12 as the age at which you can leave a child home alone, at least half of the kids in the state will be starting middle school (6th grade) by age 11 and, presumably, quite a few of them will be in the same spot we are with no after-school care available and limited, if any, babysitting options with the highschoolers all getting out later than the middle schoolers.

Contact the PTA president. Ask her if any moms in the area would like to make a little money watching your child after school.

(And I agree that it's FRUSTRATING that there aren't more options for care for Middle Schoolers.)
post #38 of 63
I don't live my life in fear of "what ifs", but as a responsible parent, I feel it would be neglectful to not at least consider these items. If I am home and something happens (stroke, bad fall, etc.), I would probably have a good chance of giving my young children instructions on who to call or to go for a neighbor. But if it happens when my 8 year is at home alone and watching tv or playing nintendo, would they have a good grasp of how long is too long to pass before worrying? I wouldn't want to depend on a child younger than 12 or so to assume this responsibility. Here on MDC there seems to be a theme to keeping kids babies as long as possible, but not when it interfers with the mom running around without the kids or not having to pay a babysitter? I don't get it.
post #39 of 63
My dd is 8 and according to our state laws is old enough to be left alone. Would I leave her home alone? NO. She is mature for her age and would more than likely be fine for a few minutes here or there. I would feel more comfortable if she were around 10 or so.
post #40 of 63
I wouldn't leave my children home alone until they were at least 14> I would consider it before that age if they could prove to me that they are mature enough.
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