Thursday, March 22, 2007

How old must a child be to be left home alone?

How old must a child be to be left home alone? Answer: To my knowledge there is not one specific law that clearly and definately addresses that issue. Supervision of children is basic to the prevention of harm. Adequate supervision means an adult caregiver is accountable for the child's care. There are several factors that should be taken into consideration when deciding how closely to supervise a child, including: the age, emotional maturity and capability of the child; layout and safety of the home, play area, or other setting; neighborhood circumstances, hazards, and risks; the child's ability to respond to illness, fire, weather, or other types of emergencies; and whether the child has a mental, physical, or medical disability. The number of children left unsupervised, the accessibility to other responsible adults, the length of time or frequency with which the child is left alone, and the child's knowledge of the parent's whereabouts are additional relevant factors.

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