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Family law: At what point can a child be left at home alone?

Leaving a child at home alone may make a parent's heart race. Family law rules in Connecticut and other states make it clear that there is an appropriate age to leave children at home alone for short periods of time. Authorities in all areas agree that kids age 7 or younger should never be left alone and always need supervision. In most other respects much hinges on the maturity level of the child(ren).

There are some guidelines, however. For instance, children between the ages of 8 and 10 shouldn't be left for more than an hour-and-a-half and never during later evening hours. Kids between the ages of 11 and 12 can generally stay alone for about three hours, but again not during late night. Children 13 to 15 can be left unsupervised, although not overnight, while those from 16 to 17 may be left unsupervised usually up to two consecutive overnight stretches.

Children have individual personalities and maturity levels and parents know their kids best and are usually able to gauge at what age their child can be at home alone and be perfectly fine. There are other things at play as well such as the safety of the kid's surroundings, if a neighbor might be able to check in on the child or if there will be more than one child in the home without adult supervision. Sometimes leaving a child alone at home may be unavoidable, but parents can take extra precautions such as making sure a kid knows how to call for help should the need arise.

Family law rules may seem confounding at times. With all the laws in place to safeguard the interests of children, a Connecticut family law attorney may be able to offer a guiding hand when it comes to deciphering how these laws relate to individual circumstances. The more knowledge parents have, the better position that may be in to care for their children.

 

Source: findlaw.com, "When Can You Leave a Child Home Alone?", Accessed on May 20, 2018

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