At what age can we leave kids home alone?

Nathalie - posted on 07/24/2010 ( 25 moms have responded )

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I have two girls 6 and 3 i leave them alone just to go to the shop,but at what age can i leave them for a night out.

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[deleted account]

http://www.latchkey-kids.com/latchkey-ki...

The above website may help answer your question. Since I am a teacher, I have always had the following guidelines on file:

The following represents minimally acceptable standards for the supervision of children. These guidelines have been developed by social work professionals in collaboration with the community. REMEMBER, they are guidelines only.

There may be situations, even within these guidelines, when it is not safe to leave a child unsupervised. Parents are ultimately responsible for making decisions about their child’s safety.

Whenever any child is unsupervised / unattended the following should apply ...

* There must be no emotional, medical, or behavioral problems which affect judgement or decision-making skills.
* Child must be comfortable being alone.
* Youth must have a safety plan worked out with the parent/caretaker, which includes:
How to access parent or other responsible adult at all times (including knowing the parent/caretaker’s whereabouts and having a telephone number where parent can be reached).
What to do in case of emergency.
Guidelines for acceptable behavior.
Knowledge of emergency telephone numbers.
* Youth must demonstrate the ability to follow the safety plan and to make decisions that reflect concern for personal safety.

Age Guidelines ...

7 years and under:
Should not be left alone for any period of time. This may include leaving children unattended in cars, playgrounds, and backyards. The determining consideration would be the dangers in the environment and the ability of the caretaker to intervene.

8 to 10 years:
Should not be left alone for more than 1½ hours and only during daylight and early evening hours.

11 to 12 years:
May be left alone for up to 3 hours but not late at night or in circumstances requiring inappropriate responsibility.

13 to 15 years:
May be left unsupervised, but not overnight.

16 to 17 years:
May be left unsupervised (in some cases, for up to two consecutive overnight periods).

Natasha - posted on 07/24/2010

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i felt so much rage when i opened this thread. who in there right mind would leave a 6 and 3 year old home alone ??? the things they could get into are endless. how horrible would you feel if you came home and one of them stabbed themselves because they grab a chair and were able to get at knives or if one of them turned the water on in the bathtub and both were floating in it when you got home ? does none of these things cross your mind.

your the adult you make the decisons. they arent old enough to do it for themselves. if you are not able to pack them up with you and you have no one to watch them then just suck it up and dont go period !!!

if i was family , friend , or someone that knew you then i would report you no questions asked !

if you think that leaving your children home by themselves at that age is ok then your not ready to be a parent !

Amanda - posted on 07/24/2010

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In my country, you can only leave a child 12 or older alone for a less then 4 hours, and never after midnight. Anyone younger must have a person watching them, at least the age of 12. Of course if you running to the corner store, and your child is 8-11 I dont see that being a huge issue.



Why are you leaving a 6 year old and 3 year old alone period? Other then checking your mail box, that age should never be left alone, esp together.



I leave my 2 year old daugther alone while I am on the front proch having a smoke, and the large door open so I can see in, and it amazes me the damage she can do while she knows I am watching. I cant imagine what is going on in your home with a 6 year old and 3 year old left alone, without a parent watching a few steps away.

Michelle - posted on 07/24/2010

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i whould never leave any little child alone i hve a baby nephew and i was watching him and hot noddles spill on him and got a 2nd degree burn all on his arms and back

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Deborah - posted on 07/24/2010

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As well as thinking what might happen to them for the couple of minutes you run to shop, think of what could happen to you? God forbid the shop could get held up, you could get hit by a car, a meteor could hit...

Something could happen which makes that 2 minute trip a 2 hour trip and anything could happen to your kids!

Amy - posted on 07/24/2010

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Why did you have kids if you are just going to leave them home alone at the age of 6 and 3? I think going out at night should be the least of your worries, I think you need to reach out for some help maybe your mother is willing to step in and help you!

Patricia - posted on 07/24/2010

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I agree, not that your a crack whore, but kids 6-3 should not be left alone not for 5 minutes. When leaving, if just to go next door to the neighbors for 1-3 minutes, put them babies in tow. they want to go out and say hi too. but please, please stop leaving then at home alone while you go shopping. they may decide to go look for you. get hit by car. There are so many sick people who would harm a child in ways you don't want to imagine. and someone may see that you are leaving them alone and report you. Show some the love for the kids. being alone scares them even if they say "I'm a big kid, I'm not scared". They really are.

Patricia - posted on 07/24/2010

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MY SON WAS ABOUT 12 WHEN I LEFT HIM ALONE FOR A FEW HOURS. IF I WENT OUT HE STAYED OVER AT MY MOMS. I THINK SIX IS MUCH TO YOUNG. (just my opinion)

JuLeah - posted on 07/24/2010

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In most states in America there are laws about the age you can leave your kid home alone. If America is where you live, the state will take your kids (age 6 and 3) if you leave them home alone.

I don't know where your shop is, maybe in the back yard or something, which paints a different picture, but if you leave a 6 and 3 year old home alone and you are more then the back yard in distance from them - the state will call that abandmont.

Leave them home for a night alone ..... age 18 and 15 maybe - in some place the older one can watch the younger once she is 15, but I'd not trust that for a night.

Debbie - posted on 07/24/2010

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I'm sorry but leaving your girls home by themselves is not an option. I know it's tough but you need to take them with you or have someone come by to watch them. It will be several years before you can leave them home for the a night out.

Always be prepared for the worse. Accidents, sickness, and random things happen, how is a 6 year old suppose to deal with that? The 3 year old can't help. You are asking for trouble.

Amanda - posted on 07/24/2010

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What does smoking have to do with a woman leaving her young children alone? If I had said I go out on my porch to get 3 minutes of quiet time, would you still be responding to me?

Patricia - posted on 07/24/2010

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I SURLY HOPE NOT. WHEN I BECAME PREGNANT I QUIT SMOKING AND DRINKING TILL MY CHILD WAS WELL OVER A YEAR OLD.

Lisbeth - posted on 07/24/2010

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Wow were exactly do you live , in Canada someone would call child services on you.YOU SHOULD NEVER leave children at that age not ever for a minute. Seriously at that age children do quite get the concept of danger if a fire broke out they are more likely to hide under the bed. You can start leaving the older one alone at ten but not with the younger one not until she is at least 12. And don't leave them alone at night until they are at least 13.

[deleted account]

I am kind of speechless and if I were a neighbor that knew children of this age were being left home alone I would call child protective myself. WOw!!! Common sense???

[deleted account]

My brother and I were left home alone at that age. My 8.5 year olds have never been left home alone. IF I had another phone I would consider it for 10 or so minutes, but since the only phone I have is my cell phone.... they'll be at least 10 to be home alone at all. For a night out? Not under 12 at LEAST. Get a sitter.

[deleted account]

legally it's 12, regardless of how long you are going out for. i wouldn't leave them alone until the older one is at least 9 or 10 and knows all the emergency contact and how to take messages and stuff, and even then only for a few hours. I wouldn't leave them alone at night until the older one is 14 or 15.

Michelle - posted on 07/24/2010

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I'm sorry but are you crazy? In what world were you brought up? There is too many dangers in the home itself for a child to be left alone. It was 12 to be left alone for a couple of hours but that depends on the child being mature enough. You should be careful that nobody reports you for leaving your children alone. I know it can be a pain to get them sorted and then they always ask for everything when all you wanted was some milk from the shop! But seriously you wouldn't trust a stranger to look after you children so you shouldn't trust them too. Children may not think like adults but sometimes that can be enough to cause an accident and you would be blamed for being neglegent. I'm only saying this because i would hate for you to experience any heartache. Just be careful. Just think if one swalllowed a sweet and it got stuck whilst you weren't there? That happened to me and i was 7 whilst with a babysitter. Luckily she was a nurse and had to use her skills to save my life so no boiled sweets from then on. I just hope you will be more careful and sorry if i seemed nasty i was just shocked thats all. xoxo

Angie - posted on 07/24/2010

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WOW, 6 and 3? That's a bit young to be leaving children alone for even a minue. I think 10 is an acceptable age to leave children for an hour or so. 12 or 13 might be okay for a night out - if you get home at a reasonable hour. 16 or 17 is a good age to stay overnight - if the neighbors know so they have a place to go if there is an emergency.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 07/24/2010

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I was just wondering that same question this morning. My son is 4 and when I was his age, I was already in kindergarten...when I was sick I would have to stay home by myself. My mom was a single working mother with 3 kids, so staying at home was not an option. Different times than now. I do feel like 6 and 3 are way to young to be left alone for any length of time. Who knows what could happen? I see my son doing things all day long that need supervision. I would think 8-10 would be ok for short spurts, but deffinately NOT overnight. I think 12-13 would be ok to leave alone at night for a little while.

Rebecca - posted on 07/24/2010

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3 and 6 is too young for sure. If someone saw you leaving they could report you and your children could be taken from you, even if you left for just a few minutes. Think about if someone came to the door...sure you've told your 6yr old not to answer but what if she does or if the person breaks in. What if a fire breaks out. The "rule of thumb" I guess would be that the oldest child should be old enough,but not necessarily take, a babysitting course. Which i think is 12yrs old. Why can't you just gather the kids and throw them in the car. Many times my husband was gone for work...and he's gone a lot(military) and i have a 3yr old and 1yr old and trust me, i understand it sucks to have to pack up 2 kids to go to the store but as a parent we need to make sure they will be safe. If you have someone right next door who is home, why not ask them to sit there for the 30 minutes you will be gone. My neighbor and I did this a lot when our husbands were both gone and it was like an exchange. We never once had to pay each other and they were right there. There is always a better way.

Jen - posted on 07/24/2010

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u should never leave children tht age on their own not even for a min. and at night do u mean with no adult at all or wud they be looked after by someone

[deleted account]

Ummmmmmm 3 and 6 is way too young to leave any chiild alone period!! I'm sorry I am not meaning to attack you but do you think it is ok for a 6 year old to watch a 3 year old??I agree with rennee as far as a night out 12 would be the youngest.

Carol - posted on 07/24/2010

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I personally think this is too young to leave them alone.Ofcourse it depends on how mature they are.For a night out I would get a babysitter,or have someone check on them close by.By twelve could leave by selfs.

Renee - posted on 07/24/2010

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wow thats too young to leave alone for just to shop.. i been told age 10 for a couple hours is ok.. but to go out for a night id say age 12

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