Legal Age .
There are very few states in the U.S. with legal minimum ages, but many state agencies have published guidelines (Georgia, Illinois, Maryland and Oregon are a f…ew of the states with very specific ages). Typically 8 year olds and over can be left at home for up to several hours (usually after school before a parent gets home from work). 12 years old appears to be the most common recommendation. http://www.latchkey-kids.com/latchkey-kids-age-limits.htm provides a state by state comparison. .
Any mentally normal child under 7 years cannot be left alone for any amount of time. Children older than that can be left for a range of 2 - 24 depending on age..
I think the previous response and question need clarification. I can't imagine my child being 14 years old, and not allowing her to stay home alone. Most baby sitters I know start baby sitting at 12 or 13..
For children with normal mental capabilities: Ages 7 and under cannot be left alone for any period of time. Children ages 8 through 9 can be left in their home alone for up to 2 hours. Children 10 through 13 can be left alone for up to 12 hours. Children 14 to 17 can be left at home up to 24 hours with adequate adult back-up supervision (an adult willing to take legal responsibility preferably within 5 miles). For children that are mentally handicapped you have to go by their maturity age and not their chronological age..
I disagree with the ages listed above and believe that Indiana Child Welfare would also. Ages below 8 should not be alone period. Ages 9 - 10 should not be alone longer than 30 minutes. Ages 11 - 12 should not be alone longer than 3-4 hours. Ages 13 - 15 should not be alone longer than 8 hours. Ages 16 - 17 should not be left alone longer than 12 hours. All this being said, there actually is NO LAW as to the proper or legal age of a child being left alone in Indiana. BUT there are things to consider however that could cause problems of a legal nature regarding Child Protection Services and need to be addressed for the safety of child and parent:.
Will the child have access to a telephone in case of emergency? .
Does the child know to dail 9-1-1 in an emergency? .
What constitutes an emergency to warrant calling 9-1-1? .
How long will the parents be gone, leaving the child alone thus subjecting the child to neglect? .
Is there proper food in the house? .
Does the house contain health hazzards? (ie: exposed wiring, falling ceiling tiles or plaster, broken steps, broken windows, etc...) .
Are there firearms in the home the child could access dangerously? .
Are there lighters the child might obtain and start a fire? .
Is there running water in the home? .
All of these issues are ones that the child protection agencies would be considering if a neighbor or interested party were to call in a neglect charge for the child being at home alone..
Leaving a sheet of chores or tasks to take care of and to occupy the child's interest and lessen the chance of mishap is always a good idea. Items that can be left on the sheet are things such as cleaning the child's room, drawing the parent a picture of what the school day was like or what they hope it to be like if they haven't gone yet, and watching television. Never allow a young child to clean dishes that would include sharp edges or sharp knives or cooking while they are unattended and below the age of 12. (MORE)