What Age is it OK to Leave Kids Home Alone?

What Age is it OK to Leave Kids Home Alone? I used to think there was a designated age that was the “legal” age for a child to be left home alone, and that parents would be taken away by social services if caught leaving their kids home before that. But, in actuality, there is no law. It’s up to the parents’ discretion.


My son tired of trips to the store when he was only 7. He begged to stay home by himself with his 5-year old sister and promised to hold down the fort. Really? At seven, this kid was going to be in charge? I don’t think so. I had to explain that he wasn’t ready. And, at the time, I wondered when he would be.

So now parents are left with the “judgement call.” It’s up to us to decide when our kids are mature enough, responsible enough, and wise enough to handle being left home alone.

I was recently asked to participate in an interview on WXYZ TV Channel 7 Detroit to talk about how parents feel about leaving their kids home alone for the first time. Channel 7 went the extra step and spoke with a representative with the Michigan Depart of Health and Human Services who issued the following statement in regards to Michigan Child Protection laws:

Per MDHHS: “Please note: According to the Child Protection Law, there is no legal age that a child can be left home alone. It is determined on a case-by-case basis, but as a general rule, a child 10 years old and younger is not responsible enough to be left home alone. A child over the age of 10 and under the age of 12 will be evaluated, but the case may not always be assigned for a CPS investigation.

I appreciate the community programs that offer training for kids to stay home alone. They discuss topics such as walking home safely, key responsibility, securing the house, answering the phone, safe choices and emergency procedures. The classes is designed for kids ages 10-14. This is a nice place to start and I’ve even had my son attend some Home Alone Safety classes. My daughter will be attending professional baby-sitting classes which are CPR certified where she can learn how to handle home alone safety (for her or for babysitting).

What Age is it OK to Leave Kids Home Alone? I suppose it really does depend on the child… As parents, we need to assess our situation, know our kids, and prepare the best we can. I guess I had always thought there was a magical age requirement, like a weight/age requirements for car seats, for leaving your kids home alone. I guess I’m stuck trying to figure it out for myself.

What do you think?… What age is it OK to leave kids home alone?

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