When is a child old enough to stay at home alone? While a kid’s maturity level should definitely come into play, some states have age restrictions—or at least guidelines—for how old is old enough to be unsupervised.
Database Systems Corp, which provides a call reassurance service that calls latchkey kids and seniors to make sure they’re safe, compiled this data for each state.
Surprisingly, most states don’t have any minimum age requirements. The ones that do range from age 6 a recommendation in Kansas to 14 required in Illinois. The most common ages, among the states that have a recommendation or legal requirement, are age 8, 10, and 12
Note that city and county laws within each state might also differ. Also, even if there aren’t any laws for home alone children in your area, basic guidelines can help you decide if your kid is ready:
Lynn Yaney, spokeswoman for the agency that handles child welfare in Contra Costa County, California, states:
“A general rule of thumb is that kids under age seven aren’t capable of thinking logically and putting cause and effect together,” Tanner said. “They are reliant on caregivers to structure their day.” Children between ages 7 and 10 years aren’t generally ready to self-supervise for an extended period, but in a routine and predictable environment, such as just after school, they can manage, Tanner said. Children 12 and 13 years old should be judged on a case- by-case basis but should not be left alone overnight.
via The Age Kids Have to Be Before You Can Legally Leave Them Home Alone.