How old must a child be to be left home alone? Answer: Supervision of children is basic to the prevention of harm. Adequate supervision means an adult caregiver is accountable for the child's care. Although, there is no Texas law that defines a specific age at which a child may be left home alone, 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. Can I use these same factors when deciding whether to leave a child in my vehicle for a short period of time?
Answer: No. We do not recommend leaving a child in a motor vehicle for any length of time. If children are trapped inside cars, especially during seriously hot weather, it can result in heat exhaustion or heat stroke, leading to permanent disability or death in a matter of minutes. Heat stroke, also known as hyperthermia, can cause shock, seizures, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, and damage to the brain, liver, and kidneys.
Leaving a child in a vehicle is punishable under the Texas Penal Code, Title 5, Chapter 22, Section 10:
Sec. 22.10. LEAVING A CHILD IN A VEHICLE. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly leaves a child in a motor vehicle for longer than five minutes, knowing that the child is: (1) younger than seven years of age; and (2) not attended by an individual in the vehicle who is 14 years of age or older. (b) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
Leaving a child unattended in a car is also a form of neglectful supervision. What is neglectful supervision? Answer: Adults who are attentive and aware of children's behaviors are in the best position to safeguard their well-being. When children are not adequately supervised, it may be considered “neglectful supervision”, which means: Placing a child in or failing to remove a child from a situation that a reasonable person would realize requires judgment or actions beyond the child's level of maturity, physical condition or mental abilities and that results in bodily injury or substantial risk of immediate harm to the child. Neglectful supervision is also defined as: Placing a child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of sexual conduct harmful to the child. Out of 50,529 confirmed child abuse/neglect victims in Texas for 2004, 28,370 were due to neglectful supervision. If you suspect a child has been abused or neglected, or if you have any questions about whether the concern you have constitutes abuse or neglect, please call the DFPS Abuse/Neglect Hotline at 1-800-252-5400.
For emergency situations, call your local law enforcement or 911 immediately.
Thank you. I did not realize there was no age. I have dogs and an alarm system. My kid is in jr. high. I was concerned that if I ran an errand and for some reason the alarm was activated calling the police I could get in trouble for neglect. So what are some opinions on the age for kids to stay alone at home during 6am to 7pm or 8pm? And what about 8pm to Midnight?
Your welcome. I found out that there was no actual age once myself. My neighbors were leaving a 10 year old with 3 younger children alone at night when the parents went out. Horrified me. I called the police to ask that same question. And that's how I found out...BUT, if something bad happens when they are left alone, it may catch up with them. Are you planning to leave them home alone for that entire time span, 6-7/8 ?? Or 8-12? And your kid is in junior high? How old?
In my opinion, I'd probably start in small intervals (short trips nearby - grocery store, parents' date night dinner, etc.) at the age of 12+, but that would be with cell phone access, multiple calls to check in and the alarm set with the child's knowledge of the panic button and how alarm system works. For 1/2 day, school holidays or extended time at night, I wouldn't feel comfortable until 13 or 14.
I agree with everything above. Plus I think a lot depends on the child. My oldest son could have moved out on his own and been just fine at about 14. His younger brother will be 23 next month and probably still should be under adult supervision. LOL
Like most things we do as parents, just use your head. I'll leave my little man home alone (11) if it's the middle of the day, the sun is shining, and the neighbors are around and I'm just running out to the store for <30 minutes. I make sure he has his phone in his hand and I lock the doors on the way out. He's a rule-follower by nature and responsible as can be expected for that age.
Not a chance his sister (7) is staying with him. She'd not listen to him and she's NOT so good at following rules. I'd not want to ruin my son's life by putting him in a situation where he was responsible for his sister and have something happen to her.
My dd was very mature by age 8- I started leaving her home alone for 5-10 minutes- I'd drive around the block and park- with my cell phone- extending the time a bit at a time. By the time she was 10- I'd have her babysit her 8 year old brother and run an errand that would take no more than 30 minutes. By the time she was 12 she had a babysitter's course- CPR and very basic first aid under her belt- I'd pay her to watch her brother so dh and I could go out for dinner. I'd also let her babysit the 3 neighbors across the street and made sure I stayed at home during those times in case she needed me. By the time she was 18 I left her in charge of her brother and all the animals for a weekend. Yep she was THAT reliable. Now her brother- no way! He's 25 and if we go away I ask dd to come in every day to check on him and the animals. I think it depends on the kid. She was a rarity. I've not seen many kids mature enough these days! By the time I was in 6 th grade I was responsible for my younger sister for 8 hours a day. Had to make lunch and sometimes do prep work for dinner. Guess I was mature too
I was thinking short errands between those hours not the whole time. My child does not come home to an empty home after school either. Totally agree with cell phones and checking in. I also have four neighbors surrounding my house where some is always home. Stay at home moms And retired folk.
I called cps years ago to make sure my two sons could stay home for a few hours after school til me and daddy got home. They were 8 and 6. Cps told me that as long as the kids weren't scared to be alone, knew to lock the doors and stay inside that it was perfectly fine. ANd we lived in a bad neighborhood in Pasadena. I also went to neighbors making sure they would watch the house for me while the boys were alone. My kids did great. Only lasted a few months til I got a night job and husband worked dys then one of us was always home with them
You would be surprised that you can dump a 6 year old off at MC Donalds or skating rink etc...My EX, about the ONLY time I got seriously law suiting pissed at him was when we separated and he wanted to go on a date, so he dropped my now 19 yr old off when she was only 5 at the skating rink with other friends with no REAL appointed adult care.
I called CPS and the skating rink, CPS said that would depend on the businesses policy, so I called them and they said 5 and older may be dropped off without parent
The reason I did not answer your question is 2 reasons........one, this was 15 years ago and laws change and 2 really wasn't my business but you didn't give an age in your original post and felt if you have to ask maybe said child should not be left alone. But again that was a personal opinion and really none of my business but in today's times I would be VERY VERY careful leaving any child that doesn't know how to use a gun and defend themselves alone
Just an opinion. Earliest I left my oldest was 11 for 10 minutes while I ran 1 block to get MILK We lived in the woodland hills apartments and went to that lil store right there.use to be stop and go I think, now super K?..............she wasnt left again till 13 for 2 hours when I had euthanize a dog and she was too upset to go with. Even at 16 after she graduated I made sure she knew where guns were and how to get to them.(Before people flip she knew how to use them properly, the danger and safety of them and had target practice many times)
I have a middle-schooler and I'm still not completely comfortable with it. I only do it on the late arrival days when I have to take the younger ones to school. There are so many service related people on my street everyday. Pool guys, lawn guys, cleaning services, etc... I would hate for someone to see me leave the house and feel like it's ok to come in and accidentally find my kid at home when they're trying to rob us. There's just been too much crime reported around here lately. I trust my kid, I just don't trust the world we live in.
we never left our kids at home alone during the day till they were 14 years old . And we always called to check on them every hour , just in case . Our neighbor was always willing to check in on them to make sure they were doing what they were suppose to be doing .
We were pretty comfortable leaving them alone in the evening once they turned 16 , but we were alwys home before 11 pm , we never , ever left them alone all night . Sometimes we let them have a friend stay over so they wouldn't get bored .