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Appropriate home alone age

Bremerton, WA |

Is there a statute or law declaring the minimum age at which a school aged child may be left at home alone? If there is no law or statute declaring the minimum age a school aged child may be left home alone what age and amount of time could be considered neglect or abuse?

Attorney Answers 1


  1. Leaving a youngster under 10 alone for any amount of time could be considered neglect. The reasonable idea is that a Middle school age child (11-13) should be able to stay alone for an hour to two hours. High schoolers can be left alone for four to six hours and after 16 should be able to stay alone over night. These are just however rule of thumb. If a child has attained an age level without also attaining the maturity necessary to stay alone, then it would be neglectful to leave that child for the amount of time we discussed. Additionally if a child is left to watch other kids, that could also result in a neglect charge.
    Hence you need to use your judgment but keep in mind that the need is for the child not for the parent. In other words base your decision on the needs of the child not on the parent's need to be out of the house.

    Good luck.

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