At What Age Can You Leave Your Children Home Alone in KY, IN and IL?
Home Alone is one of my favorite movies of all time. No matter how many times I watch it, I still laugh out loud. I watch it throughout the year too, not just during the Holidays. Of course, I passed the love of this 90s classic on to my son who was obsessed with the idea of a kid taking on the bad guys and kicking their booties.
Because of that, he feels like he is totally capable of staying home alone if Michael and I should happen to both need to be somewhere he doesn't want to go. He is a really smart and cautious kiddo, so he could very well manage a couple of hours here and there, but the thought of an emergency happening makes me a little anxious. I don't know how he would deal with a potential fire or heaven forbid someone tried to break in.
Of course, we don't live in a gigantic mansion like the McCallisters with robbers casing the place waiting to steal my thrift store tchotchkes. We also only have the one kid, so I can't imagine a scenario where we forget to take Rollins on vacation with us to Paris. But I am still pondering whether it would be OK to let my nine-year-old have a nugget of independence. It's one thing to consider his capability, it's another to consider what state laws say about the issue.
At What Age Is it Legal to Leave Your Child Home Alone in Indiana?
According to the State of Indiana, there is no set age that kids can be left at home. Obviously, parents are responsible for their children until they reach their 18th birthday, but the Indiana code leaves it up to parents to decide when their kiddo can handle the responsibility. IN.gov states that "Under the age of 18, the law gives parents discretion to make these decisions based on the perceived risk and weighing such factors as maturity of the child, physical environmental risks, etc."
At What Age is it Legal to Leave Your Child Home Alone in Illinois?
Apparently, Illinois has one of the most specific laws when it comes to children left home alone. The statute states that in order to leave a kiddo without adult supervision, they need to be at least 14 years old. If left for an "unreasonable amount of time" parents could be charged with neglect. Once again, officials encourage folks to judge based on their child's maturity and ability to handle possible emergencies. Just because a kid is 14, doesn't necessarily mean they would be fine to leave alone at home. You can read the statute here for more details.
At What Age is it Legal to Leave Your Child Home Alone in Kentucky?
No law in the state of Kentucky determines what age a child can legally be left home alone. Like Indiana, it is left up to parental discretion. The Courier-Journal shared the federal code's definition for what is appropriate in a situation where you may need to leave your child by themselves, "activities or items that are generally accepted as suitable for children of the same chronological age or level of maturity or that are determined to be developmentally-appropriate for a child, based on the development of cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral capacities that are typical for an age or age group."
Tips for Leaving Your Child Home Alone
- Make sure your child has phone access to communicate in case of an emergency and clarify what true emergencies are.
- Lock doors and windows and discuss whether or not they are allowed to answer a knock at the door.
- If there are other younger children at home, the oldest should be able to properly care for them.
- Clearly explain any rules you would like them to follow.
- Check on them periodically while you are gone.
Of course, all children are different when it comes to maturity level. I think about my son Rollins and his friends. I'm sure some of his 9-year-old counterparts could be by themselves for an hour or so and perfectly fine, while others would be a hot mess.
What about you? At what age do you think is OK to leave your kiddos home alone?
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