Home Alone Rules by State

at what age can children stay home alone

Many parents are faced with the dilemma of at what age can children stay home alone, especially during after-school hours or the summertime. Before you consider leaving your child without supervision, be sure they are reasonably mature, able to take care of themselves, and completely prepared for emergency situations. Set ground rules, review basic safety guidelines, and establish routines that are designed to keep your child healthy and safe. Our iMom printable with 10 Home Alone Rules is a good start.

The following table lists the minimum age at which children may be left at home alone, categorized by state, within the United States. Please note that city and county ordinances within each state may have more definitive and restrictive laws. Call your State DHS or local child welfare agency to learn about age guidelines in your area.

State Minimum Age Reference and More Information
Alabama 12* Andalusia Star News
Alaska None Office of Children’s Services
Arizona None Doorways Arizona
Arkansas 12* University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service
California None The Orange County Register
Colorado 12* CO 4 Kids
Connecticut None Connecticut Department of Children and Families
Delaware 12* Delaware Division of Family Services
Florida None Florida Department of Children and Families
Georgia 9* Georgia Department of Human Services
Hawaii None Hawaii Department of the Attorney General
Idaho None Idaho Department of Health & Welfare
Illinois 14 Illinois Compiled Statutes
Indiana None Prevent Child Abuse Indiana
Iowa None Iowa State University
Kansas 6* Kansas Department for Children and Families
Kentucky None WBKR
Louisiana None Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services
Maine None Maine Department of Health and Human Services
Maryland 8 Baltimore County, Maryland FAQ
Massachusetts None Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries
Michigan 10* The Michigan Child Protection Law
Minnesota None Dakota County Child Supervision
Mississippi Unknown Mississippi State University Extension
Missouri None Missouri Department of Social Services
Montana None Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services
Nebraska 7* WOWT
Nevada None Las Vegas Review-Journal
New Hampshire 10* WOKQ
New Jersey None New Jersey Family
New Mexico None** City of Albuquerque Child Safety at Home
New York None New York Office of Children and Family Services
North Carolina 8 Felton Banks
North Dakota 9* North Dakota Department of Human Services
Ohio None Ohio State University Extension
Oklahoma 7* Oklahoma Department of Human Services
Oregon None Oregon Legal Research
Pennsylvania None Legal Zoom Info
Rhode Island Unknown No Resource Found
South Carolina None Coastal Law
South Dakota None South Dakota Safety Council
Tennessee 10* Tennessee Juvenile & Family Courts
Texas None Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
Utah None Utah Valley Pediatrics
Vermont None Town of Williston, Vermont
Virginia None Virginia Department of Social Services
Washington 10* Seattle’s Child
West Virginia None TEAM for West Virginia Children
Wisconsin None City of Madison Fire Department
Wyoming Unknown No Resource Found

Some information taken with permission from http://www.latchkey-kids.com.

*Age listed is the recommended minimum age a child may be left home alone in lieu of a legally specified age minimum.

**City of Albuquerque Ordinance states that children under the age of 11 may not be left home alone.

When would you feel comfortable leaving your kids alone?