What is the legal age for a child to stay at home alone in Texas?
I'm not sure about Texas, and not positive about my native
Indiana (it used to be 13 yrs old), but I look forward to reading
the answer to this one. Only a very few states have laws that
address the age at which a child can be left without adult
supervision. Texas does not at this time have a home alone age
specific statute, although bills have been introduced into state
legislature for the implementation for "latch key" guidelines. The
criteria is the maturity level of the child rather than the
chronological age. Parents and caregivers should use caution when
making such decisions. Legal difficulties arise when a
child/children are injured or found in unacceptable living
conditions or otherwise come to the attention of authorities
(wandering the streets, etc.). Common sense should dictate that any
child that cannot fix a simple meal, have the knowledge and ability
to cope with an emergency situation, isn't informed on all safety
issues and so forth should not be left unattended. There are very
few states in the U.S. with legal minimum ages for children home
alone, but many state agencies have published guidelines. Georgia,
Illiniois, Maryland and Oregon are a few of the states with
specific ages mentioned in their laws.
12 years of age appears to be the most common recommendation.
Below in Related Links is an article entitled Latchkey
Kids Legal Age Limits state by state comparison with
One guideline from a California child welfare representative
suggests that 8 year olds and over can be left at home for a brief
amount of time(such as just after school). The most common
statement is that a child's maturity should be the determining
factor and not just age.