General Question

flo's avatar

What is the average age of a child of average ability, that's ok to leave alone? See detail.

Asked by flo (12572points) 1 week ago

Legally what is the average? And what is the consequence for leaving a child alone below age x, in whichever jurisdiction?

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27 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

12 years old for me. Is case by case, except where the law applies. I was nothing average at that time.

flo's avatar

@RedDeerGuy1 What is the consequence?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@flo I watched more tv and played more Nintendo. I turned out ok.

flo's avatar

I mean legally. If the social workers find out you left your 10 yr,. old alone for x number of hours, what would happen?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@flo In junior high school two school reps tried tracking me down. Nothing bad happened. I just wouldn’t answer the door. Eventually the school tried ratting me out through robo calls and then I learned that I could delete specific messages from the answering machine.
I was emotionaly sick and needed time to my self.

flo's avatar

Ok, but if you had answered the door, ...?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@flo I was never dumb enough to do that. I assumed that they would drag me kicking and screaming to school. I am glad that my dad didn’t give them a key to my apartment. , I was listening to the radio and playing the legend of Zelda and other nes games. Also I was up all night watching soft core porn on the French channel. I needed time to heal between assaults in school. Both mentally and physically. I was being bullied by older students and didn’t want to go to school. I usually showed up for exams, and tests.

josie's avatar

At the risk of sounding like age is creeping up on me…

I am thinking that these days average ability means very little ability.

There is only extraordinary ability, or negative ability.

I suppose I could be wrong.

flo's avatar

@josie Is that a big gap, between negative and extra ordinary

josie's avatar

First it is conjecture.
Second if it’s true I don’t have data to measure the gap.
But I have a hunch it’s true

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Sagacious's avatar

Law by state:

STATE MINIMUM AGE OF HOME ALONE CHILD REFERENCE
Alabama None Alabama Babysitting Laws
Alaska Unknown No Resource Found
Arizona None AZ Child Protective Services (CPS) Frequently Asked Questions
Arkansas None Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect – Arkansas
California None Sierra Sacramento Coalition
Colorado* 12 Colorado Department of Human Services
Connecticut None State of Connecticut Attorney General’s Office
Delaware* 12 Delaware Division of Family Services
Florida None Florida Department of Children & Families
Georgia* 8 Georgia Division of Family & Children Services
Hawaii None Hawaii Department Of The Attorney General
Idaho None Idaho Department of Health & Welfare
Illinois 14 Illinois Compiled Statutes
Indiana None Prevent Child Abuse Indiana
Iowa None Iowa State University
Kansas* 6 Kansas Department For Children and Families
Kentucky Unknown No Resource Found
Louisiana None Louisiana Department of Social Services
Maine None Maine Kids & Kin
Maryland 8 Baltimore County, Maryland FAQ
Massachusetts None Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries
Michigan* 11 The Michigan Child Protection Law (Appendix 2)
Minnesota None Dakota County, Minnesota Child Supervision
Mississippi* 12 Mississippi State University
Missouri None Platte County, Missouri Juvenile Office Resources
Montana None Montana Child & Family Services
Nebraska None Nebraska Dept of Health & Human Resources
Nevada None Las Vegas Review-Journal
New Hampshire None State Of New Hampshire Attorney General
New Jersey None Bergen County Department of Human Services
New Mexico 10 City of Albuquerque Child Safety At Home
New York None New York Children & Family Services
North Carolina 8 NC Health & Human Services
North Dakota* 9 Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota
Ohio None The Cleveland Law: Home Alone Children
Oklahoma None After-School Safety for Children Who Are Home Alone
Oregon 10 Oregon State Laws
Pennsylvania None Pittsburg Post-Gazette.com article June, 2007
Rhode Island Unknown No Resource Found
South Carolina None SCNow.com
South Dakota None South Dakota Law
Tennessee* 10 Tennessee Juvenile & Family Court Judges
Texas None Texas Family & Protective Services
Utah None Children’s Service Society of Utah
Vermont Unknown No Resource Found
Virginia None Virginia Coalition for Child Abuse Prevention
Washington* 10 Washington State Dept of Social and Health Services
West Virginia Unknown No Resource Found
Wisconsin None City of Madison Fire Department
Wyoming Unknown No Resource Found
SOURCE: Database Systems Corp. *These states do not set a specific age after which a child legally can stay home alone but do provide recommendations..

https://www.washingtonpost.com/apps/g/page/local/latchkey-children-age-restrictions-by-state/1555/

JLeslie's avatar

The legal age is usually 12 or 14. Some laws might say how many hours alone. Like it’s ok to leave 14 year olds alone after school, but not for an entire weekend.

My sister and I were alone after school from ages 7 and 10 respectively. It was really hard on my sister. I didn’t know it at the time, but she hated it. 7 was too young without an adult. Although, back in the day it wasn’t unusual for elementary age children to walk to school without parents, and play outside. Maybe not as young as age 5, but definitely by age 10 kids were out doing things on their own quite often. Walking to a friend’s house, playing in the playground, bike riding, that was common when I was a kid. As far as walking to school, the 6th graders were patrols and helped the younger kids cross the streets.

jca2's avatar

I can tell you from the CPS standpoint in New York state, they say it all depends on the child. There are 15 year olds you wouldn’t leave home alone, but there are 10 or 11 year olds you would. It also depends on the length of time. When My daughter was 9 and 10, I could leave her for an hour or two. Some kids at 12 you wouldn’t leave for an hour. A good question to ask is how responsible the child is. Also how comfortable are they being left alone? Would they do something foolish like play with matches? If there were an emergency, like a fire, could they get themselves out and get any other children out? I wouldn’t leave a 9 year old with a smaller kid and a baby for example, because in a fire, they’re not going to be able to get them all out. So in NYS at least, there’s no easy answer.

When I was young, I had babysitters up to 4th grade. In 4th grade, I could go home and then the babysitter would come later, or if, from her apartment, I could walk to my apartment to pick something up. It was just in the next building.

My daughter is 12 now and I can leave her in the day time or evening, but at night, like if I’m at a function and it’s ten o’clock at night, I know she prefers if I’m home so I try to get home and not do that to her too often. Anything I go to at night, she’s welcome to attend as well but some things she doesn’t want to do, like a birthday party for a 60 year old. She’d rather stay home, but then I have to leave around 9 or 9:30 to get home to her, which I do because I know she wants me home.

There was a mom at the school who was talking about another mom who left her child home alone at age 10, and the mom was saying she was going to call CPS on the mom. I didn’t want to argue with her, but I was thinking, go ahead, it’s just going to be a hassle for all involved but not necessarily something bad.

If the child is too young, the parent can get arrested, as you see sometimes on the news, a mom will be arrested for leaving the child home alone or somewhere alone, while the mom goes to a bar or something crazy. It happens more than we know, but most of the time I think nobody realizes it. For example, if a mom lives in a building, she could wait till the baby is asleep and then go out, and nobody would know.

JLeslie's avatar

Even though I stayed at home after school at age 10, I still had a babysitter at night if my parents went out. At age 11 that basically stopped and my sister and I stayed home on our own, but my parents never stayed out very very late, and they didn’t go out a lot without us.

Inspired_2write's avatar

1Years ago I asked that of our local Police department and he stated that age 12 yrs old was legal and sometimes 10 year old , depending on the maturity .
As long as they know what to do in an emergency ,like calling 911, a neighbor , how to operate the stove etc

I had a neighbor check in (phone) every hour or so .Just left my 123 year old for 45 min and the second child felt bullied by the older sister so SHE called 911..embarrassing as I was being interviewed for the job of a 911 operator when the call came in.
Of course nothing was wrong and my sister who was phoning them didn’t call, often enough?
I never had my older daughter babysit ever again.

flo's avatar

Thanks all.

@RedDeerGuy1 I just open a new box to edit /add to my previous post. I start with ”...” or “To edit/add my last post”: because I expect people who already read my last post are not going to keep checking for 10 minutes, (esp. if I have more than one post) even if we have 10 minutes to edit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When my daughter was 6 I needed to run to the convenience store. She wanted to stay by herself. I was only going to be gone less than 10 minutes so I pondered it. Then I called my sister, put her on the phone with my daughter, and took off! She was in the same spot, in front of the TV, I had left her when I got back a few minutes later.

@flo just edit if you need to. Not everyone on fluther is going to see your post at the same time. We’re off reading other posts and doing other things. And certainly no one is checking your posts several times during the 10 minute window.

JLeslie's avatar

I walked to the grocery store myself when I was 6. I think my mom was nuts. It was just walking from our building across the drive, then through about 20 feet of a slightly wooded area, and then I was in the store parking lot. I can’t believe no one in the store wasn’t more worried I was alone. I found out later my mom watched me from afar, but still crazy.

Remember that big to do about some kid who was 14 I think who took the subway himself and people freaked out? We road the subway at 14 by ourselves. I didn’t understand the big deal. Was that the age? I think it was either NYC or London, I don’t remember.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I walked to a convenience store when I was 5. I had to cross a 2 lane highway too. I think my mom was nuts.
We lived in Florida. This was in our back yard. No fence, no nothing. It was salt water and rose and fell with the tide. I was 5. My sister was 2. I was expected to watch after her. There were occasional crocodile sightings when they crawled in to people’s yards.
Yeah, our parents were nuts.

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