I started wondering about my own daughter. She is 11 years old and we do not leave her home alone. At what age can a child be left home alone? Is this up to the parents discretion or is there a legal age. From latchkeykids.com:
The National SAFEKIDS Campaign recommends that no child under the age of 12 be left at home alone.
However, consider a child's age and maturity level. For example, if a child is extremely impulsive, it might be best to wait until he or she is older than 12.
There appear to be very few states with specific regulations about the age of a child left at home alone. However, since the number of latchkey kids is growing significantly due to 2 income parents and single parents and guardians, there is a growing movement within state agencies to set guidelines.
In Illinois, the minimum age requirement for a child to be left home alone is fourteen. In Maryland and South Carolina, the minimum age is eight. There is no minimum age limit in the state of Pennsylvania. Click here to see the chart by state.
I was in high school (13 yrs) before my parents left me home alone. My sister and I would walk home together from the bus stop. We would be home a few hours before our parents came home from work. My parents were overprotective. I was only allowed to ride my bike on the sidewalk in front of the house. My Dad logged countless hours sitting on the park bench at the playground. I was not allowed to see R-Rated movies or go to Under 21 nights at the local dance clubs. My husband lived in a neighborhood where it was easy to bike to school, to the pool or to friends. He would leave early in the day on his bicycle and return by dark. He was the youngest of four brothers and had more freedom at an earlier age.
Now that I have my own daughter...I have become my parents. I still walk her to the bus stop. I wait at soccer practice.
I am not ready to leave her home alone.
What do you think? At what age would you leave your child home alone? And for how long? Was it different when you were young?