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How Old Must Children Be to Stay Home Alone?

Posted by Sandra On April - 10 - 2012

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Washington County Child Protection Citizen Review Panel is providing some important information regarding child care arrangements to promote the idea that “It’s not Safe for Kids Under Eight.”

While it is recognized that most parents want to keep their children safe, in these trying financial times, parents are often forced to make many changes concerning child care arrangements. Law enforcement and child protection services across the state frequently receive phone calls requesting information on how old children must be to be left home alone, or to babysit other children.

Child neglect reports alleging inadequate supervision may be accepted for a child protection response, including:

  • children age 7 and younger who are left alone for any period of time;
  • children ages 8-10 who are left alone for more than three hours;
  • children ages 11-13 who are left alone for more than 12 hours;
  • children ages 14-15 who are left alone for more than 24 hours;
  • children ages 16-17 may be left alone for more than 24 hours with a plan in place concerning how to respond to an emergency.

Neglect reports alleging inadequate child care arrangements may be accepted for a child protection response according to the following guidelines:

  • children younger than age 11 should not provide child care (babysitting);
  • children ages 11-15 who are placed in a child care role are subject to the same time restrictions of being left alone as listed above;
  • children ages 16-17 may be left alone for more than 24 hours with adequate adult back-up supervision.


By the time you finish reading this, 15 children will have been abused; In the next five minutes, 30 more; Within the next hour, 360 more; And by tonight, close to 8,000+ children will have suffered from abuse, 5 of which will die. Child abuse has increased 134% since 1980 and is now considered a worldwide epidemic. The high jump in child abuse deaths and the shocking increase in statistics highlights the frightening lack of public knowledge.
Educate Yourself--Learn the Facts--It may Just Save a Child's Life!!

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1 Response

  1. noonecares Says:

    My step children have been growing up alone since ages 8 and 2 (the oldest babysitting the youngest of course). No one ever cared. We documented every occasion. We had the mother admit in court to a judge. and the judge said it was “ok”!
    Society asks themselves: what’s wrong with our youth!!! If kids are being raised by themselves inside “their homes”…what can you expect? This children will never know no boundaries!

    Posted on April 12th, 2012 at 7:45 pm

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