Home Alone – What Is the Right Age?

July 1, 2014

As summer starts, many working parents start to wonder when they can leave children home alone.  There is no federal law regarding the age at which children may stay home or babysit.  Very few states have any laws on the subject either.  National SAFEKIDS campaign recommends that no child under the age of 12 should be left home alone.  Fairfax County has child supervision guidelines of standards to adhere to if a child is going to be left alone.

Most authorities recommend to take into consideration the skills and maturity of the child.  Some questions to think about:

In the situation where parents are sharing custody during summer break, the parents should discuss whether they believe the children are responsible enough to be left at home.  If one parent thinks the children are okay to be left at home, and the other disagrees, consider going to a children’s counselor to seek some guidance.


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