Staying Safe | Is Your Child Old Enough To Stay Home Alone?


If you're planning to head out for a night on the town and you're thinking about letting your child stay home alone, keep a few essential things in mind.


Is Your Child Responsible?

First, ask yourself if your child is ready for the responsibilities that come with being alone. Regardless of age, those who are immature or impulsive may be poor candidates for the task, as they may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors that put the safety of themselves and your home in peril.

You can test your child in the days before your night out by leaving him or her unattended at home for short stretches of time, a short window for error, to gauge your child’s level of responsibility and respect for your home.


How Old is Your Child?

The age of your child is important to consider before letting him or her stay home alone. The National Safe Kids Campaign stipulates that no child under the age of 12 should be left home alone, as this can result in exposure to a range of hazards. Your state may have unique laws regarding leaving children alone that you should research before a decision is made.

If you decide that your child is old and mature enough to stay home alone, you should educate him or her on a few important factors before you go.


Do You Have a Home Security System?

Security alarms will help protect your child from the risk of break-ins while you're gone, but if he or she accidentally sets off or misuses the device, problems may arise. Inform your child with the details about codes and any information needed to maintain the home security system while you’re away.

Also, be sure to remind your child not to answer the door for anyone, no matter what or who they think is there, to prevent emergencies from happening.