The Legal Age You Can Leave a Child Home Alone in Connecticut
With parents being pulled in all sorts of directions, and in many cases both parents working full time jobs, this is a question that pops up often. What's the legal age you can leave a child home alone in Connecticut?
In the ongoing struggle to be a successful parent, and to be able to support your family, many parents are faced with the daunting task of making the decision to either leave their child home alone, or get some type of child care.
With the high cost of child care these days, many parents are opting to leave their children home with little or no supervision. So what's the age when it's alright and legal to leave your child home alone in Connecticut?
This may come as a surprise to you, but according to 211ct.org, there is no specific legal age requirement where a child is allowed to be left home alone in the State of Connecticut. In fact, there is no set age requirement in any of the New England states.
However, experts do suggest that a child age 10 is the absolute youngest appropriate age to leave your child home alone. The state site recommends that the decision is a judgement call on the part of the parents. They are the ones who best know their child, and at 10 some kids are ready to be left alone, while others, even though they are the same age, are not ready.
If you are considering leaving your child alone for the first time, it is important to go over the following guidelines set by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families:
- First you have to consider the child's age. Some experts use 12 as the mean age when you can leave a child home alone for the first time, and at least 15 if you're leaving a child home alone to care for a younger brother or sister.
- You also have to consider the child's maturity level. Some kids at 12 are just not ready to be left alone, while others may even be younger but more mature.
- Another consideration is his or her ability to handle urgent situations. Does that child know how to get help when needed? Does he or she know how to handle things like a fire, a stranger at the front door, or a suspicious phone call?
- Are there people nearby who you can trust to watch out for your child while he or she is home alone? Is your child confident enough to handle being left alone? Can he or she handle certain situations, or does that make the child too nervous?
- Finally, how long will that child be left alone? For some kids, an hour or two might be fine, but the whole day may be too long of a time.
If you feel your child can stay alone, give him or her what they need to be safe, including the house key and phone numbers they might need in case of a problem. Post a phone number where you can be reached and numbers of two neighbors who are likely to be home and who have agreed to look out for your child. Also very important to let your neighbors know what time your child comes home from school, or when time wise he or she will be home. Also make sure you teach your child how to use 911 in an emergency, when to call, and what to say.
If you or your child have any doubts, it is best to make other arrangements. Maybe another parent, college student, or local after-school program can help out.
With all this home alone talk, I don't know about you, but I'd like to see some of the best moments from the first two Home Alone movies.