As a mother of nine children, I wondered what the guidelines were for leaving children home alone or with older siblings. I live in Tennessee when my children were little, but here is some good information.
From Sherburne Sheriff Joel Brott’s March Newsletter:
Minnesota law does not determine at what age a child may be left home alone. However, there are laws that require adequate supervision of children, and counties have developed policies to enforce those laws and aid in their investigation of reported cases of neglect.
Several recommend considering the following factors:
- The maturity and behavior of the children.
- Whether a parent, caretaker or responsible adult is available by phone or in person.
- The children’s physical and mental health.
- Whether parents have discussed an escape plan or had a fire drill with the children.
- Whether the home has a smoke detector or unusual hazards.
- The children’s reaction to being left alone.
They recommend the following guidelines:
- Age 7 and younger should not be left alone for any period of time.
- Age 8-10 should not be left alone for more than two or three hours.
- Age 11-13 should not be left alone for more than 12 hours.
- Age 14-15 should not be left alone for more than 24 hours.
Children younger than 11 should not provide child care for younger children.
Source: Dakota, Le Sueur and Sherburne County Social Service Agencies