How old do children have to be before they can to be left home alone?

Sherry - posted on 08/01/2010 ( 53 moms have responded )

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I have my daughters 12, 10, 9 and almost 7. I was wondering how old children have to be before they can to be left home alone? I live in Florida and don't know what their law is. I let my 12 almost 13 year old stay home. My other children go with me. Thank you all!! You guys are helpful and I appreciate u guys!!

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Brandy - posted on 05/03/2012

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my 10 and 7 year olds walk home from school (1 block) and stay home for about an hour. They have all the numbers they need. Plus my daughter's best friend lives across the street and their Grandparents are a block away.

Donna - posted on 08/03/2010

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Each county/state has it's own rulings on this. You really need to look at more than just age: Think about maturity, responsibility level, easy access to emergency help. A supportive neighbor/relative available to just be around for them to check in with? Phone access? Length of time alone? Problem solving capabilities? Think about how they will feed themselves, are they stove/microwave savy? Are they responsible for the care of younger kids or just themselves? If they have to care for the 7 year old, will she listen to them? Just some questions for you to consider. Good luck!

Racheal - posted on 08/06/2010

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@ jennifer, i think 13 is way to young to be responsible to watch your other 3 children for an 8 hour work day, that is to much responsibility for such a young lady who should be enjoying her childhood.

Christy - posted on 08/04/2010

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I think the 12 year old is old enough, but not the rest. A quick trip to the store may be ok, but no longer. For a 12 year old babysitting 3 younger ones can be overwhelming. They aren't exactly mature enough yet.

Farrah - posted on 06/18/2013

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my step daughter is 13 and her mother has left her in charge of her grandfather who is in need of constant care for over a week by here self at home while her mother was gone on a house hunting trip i was just wondering if this is illegal to do so and do we have grounds to have imminent custody of all three children for child disbandment

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Shawnn - posted on 06/17/2014

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Again, to everyone wanting to know 'what age'...look up the laws IN YOUR AREA.

A simple search, such as this: https:https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=Age%20to%20be%20left%20alone%20in%20nevada

Will save a TON of grief.

Sophia - posted on 02/18/2014

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I think 13 but that's just me. And just in the day time for a hour or two. I know people are not nice and I have a fear of fire and not being at home .

Megan - posted on 04/30/2012

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Check your homeowners policy. Some policies have certain ages for things like this. But please, for the love of God, your kids, and your peace of mind, DON'T ADVERTISE IT OR POST IT ANYWHERE!! Sites like this especially, people can figure out your name, your address, and knowing when your kids are alone can make them targets. Please, don't make it public information AT ALL. Even with family (loose lips sink ships ya know). Just a safety tip!

Sylvia - posted on 04/19/2012

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I was babysitting at 12, and so were most of my friends. The Red Cross here offers babysitting certificate courses for kids 11+. Three younger siblings is a lot for a 12-year-old, unless you can count on them being very cooperative, but I certainly wouldn't worry about letting her stay home on her own!

Chelanne - posted on 04/19/2012

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Most states do not have laws but recommended ages (at least the last time I checked). My daughter was about 12 and son 8 when I would leave them for short periods during the day. I think the age depends on your children. How responsible are they? Can you trust them? Do they know how to deal with emergencies? Are you available via cell phone? I would begin with small increments during the day where you are close by. Make sure you and your children feel comfortable with the arrangement.

I would also suggest making rules like the children must stay inside, no friends over, and not open the door for ANYONE. My children are taught to talk through the door to people.

Melissa - posted on 04/19/2012

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I know here in minnesota the age is eight but that is only for kids to bee left alone. They can not babysit at that age. My daughter is eleven and I can count the times I've left her alone on one hand. I just don't feel she's truly ready for long periods of time or being left to much. You really have to taje in consideration their age and maturity.

Elaina - posted on 02/24/2012

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It depends on their machurity. Personally I was left home alone starting from 6 years old! But that it because iived in Russia Nd they didn't have laws About that.

Lisa - posted on 10/23/2011

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OK I have a very responsible 13 year old and a two year old.
During the evening if we need to go out without the children we ask a relative to sit in with them.
The daytime is different. Firstly I do now leave my 13 year old home alone for short amounts of time but only if I am going out somewhere nearby, where as my 2 year old come with me. If ever my 2 year old is a little sick, I would get a relative or sitter to sit in rather than leave my 13 year old with any responsibilty regarding looking after his 2 year old brother.
On the odd occasion where my 13 year old is home alone I insist he stays in the house until I return.

Ashley - posted on 09/30/2011

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I personally wouldn't leave my kids alone. That's when they do things they shouldn't. Also, predators are lurking where you would never expect and they know when your kids are alone. A predator could be not necessarily a rapist or killer but someone who is looking to exploit your absence. It could be a boy next door, a spouse of your blood sibling, your in laws, one of you children's cousins, or even one of your children's teachers.



Why take chances?



Do you think girls are losing their virginity at 14 because they are making bad decisions on dates with their 16 year old boyfriend? 16 year olds can't afford hotel rooms. They are doing it IN YOUR HOUSE, AFTER SCHOOL, WHEN YOU'RE NOT HOME.



Also, if you let your kids have too much freedom, they see you coming home as an intrusion onto their turf -- especially that most parents come home fussing at them for something. That's just messed up, and it wouldn't be their fault for seeing adults and authority as annoying, when kids are used to raising themselves and each other.

Mailey - posted on 09/30/2011

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Many parents agonize over leaving our kids home alone, even during daylight hours. Unfortunately, there is no magic age at which children develop the maturity and good sense needed to stay alone. I have a 12 year old son and I always leave him at home alone for the minimum of 5 hours. He's responsible and he was trained on what to do if he encounters an emergency. I always strive to be the best parent I can be. Sometimes that means a bit more freedom for my son than I feel comfortable with. Being a parent, I always found it a fine line between wanting to protect your teenager and giving them the freedom they want. I found this blog and it had the perfect solution: http://www.radicalparenting.com/2011/08/...

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technically - you probably want to check out your state's law or regulations on Age of Abandonment. That is what a court would go by. If you are just interested in what is the 'right' age, well that is an independent decision. Maryland's Age of Abandonment is 8... but do I think 8 is ok.... no. Some parents do. Very personal decision based on your situaution and the child. This link may help from a 'legal' perspective: http://ndaa.org/pdf/ncpca_statute_child_...

Devona - posted on 08/11/2010

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I live in cleveland ohio. I have thee girls 13, 9, and 5. I leave them all home alone for an hour at the most. I leave the older two for longer. I think it gives them a sense of trust and responsibility when I let them do things on their own. You have to let them grow up and learn to do thing for themselves.

Sherry - posted on 08/10/2010

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Thx all!! I never thought to ask the neighbors,my friend lives down the street.I have a hard time shopping with all my kids,but its the oldest who starts fighting with her sisters.She don't want to go anyway,but having my friend keep an eye and ear out will help me so no more fights.Thx!!

Yaima - posted on 08/09/2010

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i think is 13. I live in Florida too. But i agree with everyone else in that it should be based on the level of responsibility.

Alison - posted on 08/09/2010

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In Canada, a 12 year old can be responsible for other children for an extended period of time. I would check your local laws and consult your heart. YOU know your kids best...what do you think?

Michelle - posted on 08/09/2010

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Well I am no where near that stage yet, but I just think it depends on just how responsible your children are. Will your 12 year old know what to do in an emergency? Will she let a stranger in the house? Ya know? I think that is the most important thing to consider.

Verna - posted on 08/08/2010

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My kids are 13 and 9 years old, they prefer to stay at home when I go to the shop.

Lynn - posted on 08/07/2010

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Obviously there are many factors to consider here. In my opinion, I would not leave all four home alone at one time. I might leave the oldest two for a short time, or the oldest and one other. I personally would let them stay at home and make arrangements with a neighbor to watch from next door. This gives the girls a sense of responsibility as well as confidence that help is close by. After doing that for a few times then you can work into something longer and more independent.

Sherry - posted on 08/07/2010

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I should of said for my 12yr old.I'm sorry.I just didn't know the age.She wants to stay home,not the other children.She says mom I'm old enough,but to me she's still my Baby.My other children go everywhere with me,it was my 12 yr old that wants to stay home.I tried it and she didn't show me she was old enough at all,so she'll be going with me unless theirs another adult home.Thx all,I do apologize!! I like input from other moms it helps alot!!

Sherry - posted on 08/07/2010

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They microwave stuff and eat fruits and veggies out of frig They r not allowed to use stove.Theyre good at listening to that rule.

Sherry - posted on 08/07/2010

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Theres always copies of numbers around the house and i'm a stay at home mom.I was scared to leave any of them home.

Sherry - posted on 08/07/2010

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Thanks everyone!! I always tell my children rules and safty but I was scared to leave any of them home in these days.I thought by telling them everyday they'd actually listen,lol.I left my 12yr old home and guess what she did,she broke all my rules.I trust her with just about everything but now her breaken my rules I don't.She answered doors,phone and went online and said I'm alone,so I guess i answered that.I do Thank u guys for sharing.Now I learned a lesson too.I thought by telling them what can happen,they'd want to b careful and listen.My 12 yr old is usually great with listening,but not when i left her home.She's come to me telling me about kids trying to get her to smoke and drink even sex.She'd come home quick and cryin.She told me and I was so proud.I thought by her letting me know that,that she'd actually listened.But as 4 the home thing,maybe I'll just hold off.Thx again

Louise - posted on 08/07/2010

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I think you bave 4 young children...that many together could get in trouble...However for short trips I believe the 12 year old would be fine home alone...I would get a sitter for the rest though.

Shannon - posted on 08/06/2010

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Call your local law enforcer. Our law is they have to be 13. Each state is different.

Trinna - posted on 08/06/2010

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alone age 12 with a babysitting course..it always pay to be safe than sorry!

Rachel - posted on 08/06/2010

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Florida does not actyually have an age limit. I live in Illinois and its 14 years of age.

Rachel - posted on 08/06/2010

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My son is almost 13. I have 4 children (12.5, 7.5, 5.5 and 1.5). I can leave my oldest home alone and my 7.5 year old.. however my 7.5 yr old I am only 10 mins from home and gone no longer than 20 mins.
I dont know about your laws but heres the questions you shoulde ask your children. What do you do if the phone rings, what do you say, so and so comes to the door what do you do, fire alarm goes off what do you do.. questions like this so that you know what they know and how they would respond. Also make up different things... have them act them out. Be open, be real and be positive. Encourage your children and make them responsible. Only then can you make your best judgement for your children.

Sarah - posted on 08/06/2010

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I do not know what the law is in Florida, but, in Washington state there is no age law (shocking) However; if something happens, you are in deep water.
I think it would depend on the maturity of the child.

Tammy - posted on 08/06/2010

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our law in montana is 11 -12 they can baby sit with a certification, but they need to be checked on every 2-3 hours

Heather - posted on 08/05/2010

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I think every parent has to make a decision based on how mature the children are and the length of time they are to remain unsupervised by a responsible adult. I think that at about 13-14 they can be left for short periods of time. I do not think it fair for children under 15 to be responsible for other children though.

Monica - posted on 08/05/2010

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They are way to young to be left alone. You must not only take the law into account, but how emotional mature your children is. If you leave them alone, and there's a crisis, like a fire in your home for example, will they know to ring the fire brigade immediately and take everybody out of the house? Do they know that oxygen helps a fire on? Or will they become panic-stricken so much that they will harm themselves in the end? And how is the crime in your area? You must be able to live with yourself if you leave them alone, and something happens.

Sarah - posted on 08/04/2010

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I wouldn't leave them all alone together. Is it fair for the eldest to be responible for what the younger ones might get up to? I have four children and know that it doesn't take long for a disagrement to get out of hand and for someone to end up crying. Anything can happen in a short space of time and four children together is differernt to a 12 year old on her own. If you are asking advice surley you know your own answer in your heart.

Natalie - posted on 08/04/2010

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Here in california my friend's ex calld CPS on her because she had to work and her daughter who is 9yrs was home sick. Good news here, is that there is no set age, an officer told her that age doesn't matter, however, the child needs to be able to know how to handle situations if they arise. Ex. Don't answer the door for anyone, don't let people know you are alone, smart enough to know that they are not to play with matches, gas, etc. And do you trust them. My girls are still to young, but after this past week with my stepson, who is about to turn 10, I don't trust him. His mom and grandparents left him alone in their home at 7 or 8 and he started the place on first b/c he was playing with a lighter or matches. Well I went into my inlaws office/gameroom, at just shy of being 10yrs old I saw him trying to light a match. I said to him, you know, I'm suprised you would try that knowing that you almost burned yr other grandparents home down . Needless to say, I am so disguised that he even did that, I don't know if I should tell his father about the occurance....

Monica - posted on 08/03/2010

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10-12 years depending on their maturity. Since you have girls, they are more mature and you are probably okay with leaving them for a short time. Mine are 11 and 8, they have been left home when I run errands. If I do leave them, I am with in 15 minutes from the house and they contact numbers on the fridge. I would not leave my 8 year old alone though.

Tyler - posted on 08/03/2010

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I believe it is 13. I dont know if your oldest can handle watching all the younger ones, but you know your kids best.

Jennifer - posted on 08/03/2010

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My oldest is 13, and she watches her younger siblings all day while I am at work. They are 12, 10, and 8. I won't leave any of the younger ones at home alone. However, she is very mature and has a list of numbers to call in an emergency. I think it depends on the kid.

Ashley - posted on 08/02/2010

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I have a 10 year old and am not to ready for this step. I live in Virginia and believe the law here is 8. My sister-in-law also has a 10 year old and they leave her home alone all the time. I guess it depends on it you and if they are ready (plus what the law is)

Laura - posted on 08/02/2010

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Go by the age minimum if there is one, and I would make sure my kids were responsible enough to handle things on their own. The 12 and 10 year old girls most likely, but I wouldn't consider it with your 9 and 7 year olds. Unless you wanted your bigger girls to watch the smaller ones. I would leave emergency contacts on the fridge, have them learn your cell number by heart, teach them common ways to prevent hazards and how to use things to help them in an emergency (ie: where the fire extinguisher is, how to do the heimlich maneuver, etc) As long as they're knowledgeable about these safety practices then they'll be fine :) good luck!!

Angie - posted on 08/01/2010

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I think you could leave them for an hour or so as long as you're not far from home so they can call you and you can get there quickly if they need you.

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