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Is there a legal age that children can stay at home by themselves for several hrs?
Family & Parenting / 3:05 PM - Wednesday April 27, 2011

Is there a legal age that children can stay at home by themselves for several hrs?

I have a 12 & 9 yr old. Is it legal for them to be at home without me. For ex me grocery shopping, run errands, etc. I know tons of parents that do it all the time but Im a little timid to do it.

- Asked by withhim, Female, 36-45

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At 13 I had a job? If you raised them right they are plent old to be alone.
Do a google search on free-range children and read up on it.

- Response by jjcabin, An Intellectual Guy, Male, 36-45, Washington, DC, Technical

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Most states don't have a legal age.

- Response by badky, A Player, Male, 26-28, Who Cares?

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You would have to check with your state. Your state department of human services or child protective services should be able to answer your question.

If there is no legal age, then it will depend upon how well you know your children and how you assess their maturity/responsibility level.

I have no qualms in leaving my 11 year old home by herself for a couple of hours during the day while I go to the store, etc. Now, my 9 year old is a different story. She might be capable when she's 11, but there is no way I'd leave her by herself at this age. Sometimes I do leave her with her sister, but for very brief periods, and only rarely.

- Response by carinabay, A Cool Mom, Female, 46-55, Lawyer

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I thought at age 11 is the law but try and google latch key kids to be sure.

I would also use your gut instincts if you can leave your 9 year old home alone and trust them to do reasonable things then fine.
But if you cant trust the 12 year old then dont leave either of them alone!!

- Response by seasons4, A Sportif, Female, 46-55, Financial / Banking

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Here I think it's 11 they can be home alone and 13 they can watch their siblings but it may not be that way anymore. That's what it was when I was a kid.

- Response by misskitty420, A Cool Mom, Female, 29-35, Student

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I believe you could leave your 12 year old in charge if both of them are home together and I would only leave them for a short period such as an hour or two and give them your cell phone number in case they need to get in touch with you

- Response by hulagirl55, A Sportif, Female, Who Cares?, Who Cares?

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ask your local child services, they have the power to decide for you

- Response by A Career Man, Male, Who Cares?, Who Cares?

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I'd say 11-13 when they are capable of taken care of their selves and can be trusted

- Response by motherof12006, A Cool Mom, Female, 26-28, Who Cares?

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I had the same question when I was considering going back to work....and the kids would have been alone for 3 hours before my husband got home. I called the police station and the health dept ...they said that there is no legal age in our state---it is left to the parents/guardian as to whether the kids are ready to be home alone and for how long.

- Response by bobbysg1rl, A Cool Mom, Female, 36-45, Pittsburgh, Medical / Dental

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