Lakewood Police Chief Greg Meyer answers your ‘Ask The Chief’ questions: At what age is it legal and safe to leave a child home alone?

The following is an ‘Ask The Chief’ question submitted to TLS, and the Chief’s response. Email your questions for the Chief to [email protected]

Question:

Thank you for giving us this forum and for everything you do for the town of Lakewood.

I want to know what the legal and safe age is to leave a child home alone. I am talking about a short amount of time like a half hour or so.

Thank you.

The Chief’s Response:

There is no legal age as a child does not become an adult until the age of 18. As a parent you must be able to make a rational decision at what age is it safe to leave my child alone. Here are some examples:

1. Can he/she phone 911 in the event of an emergency in case of fire, etc.

2. Can he/she safely answer the door if someone knocked

3. Can he/she fend for themselves, use bathroom safely, swim, etc.

4. Would he/she know the difference between a safe and unsafe action, getting into trouble.

5. Do they have first aid/cpr/knowledge

This decision has to be made by the parent(s) as they know their children and their capabilities. I would think we are talking closer to the age of 12 for a girl, 13 for a boy, not much earlier.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. When I was younger I babysat for all the neighborhood kids and my mom wanted me to take babysitting classes before I did so because they teach CPR, infant care and other skills such as what to do in emergency …. The minimum age required to even take the class was 13 so in my opinion, even without the age limit according to the class, I would say around 13 depending on the maturity and skill level of the teenager.

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