Kids (4-12)

Home Alone Rules by State

home alone

Many parents are faced with the dilemma of whether or not they should leave their child home alone, especially during after-school hours. 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 U.S. 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.

StateMinimum AgeReference
AlabamaNoneAlabama Babysitting Laws
AlaskaUnknownJuneau Police Department
ArizonaNoneArizona Department of Child Safety
ArkansasNoneArkansas Department of Human Services
CaliforniaNoneSierra Sacramento Coalition
Colorado12*Colorado DHS Office of Children, Youth & Families
ConnecticutNoneState of Connecticut Attorney General’s Office
Delaware12*Delaware Division of Family Services
FloridaNoneFlorida Department of Children and Families
Georgia8*Georgia Division of Family & Children Services
HawaiiNoneHawaii Department of the Attorney General
IdahoNoneIdaho Department of Health & Welfare
Illinois14Illinois Compiled Statutes
IndianaNonePrevent Child Abuse Indiana
IowaNoneIowa State University
Kansas6*Kansas Department for Children and Families
Kentucky9*Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
LouisianaNoneLouisiana Department of Children and Family Services
MaineNoneMaine Department of Health and Human Services
Maryland8Baltimore County, Maryland FAQ
MassachusettsNoneMassachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries
Michigan10*The Michigan Child Protection Law
MinnesotaNoneDakota County Child Supervision
MississippiNoneMississippi State University
MissouriNonePlatte County Juvenile Office Resources
MontanaNoneMontana Department of Public Health & Human Services
Nebraska7*Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services
NevadaNoneLas Vegas Review-Journal
New HampshireNoneNew Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services
New JerseyNoneBergen County Department of Human Services
New MexicoNone**City of Albuquerque Child Safety at Home
New YorkNoneNew York Office of Children and Family Services
North Carolina8North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services
North Dakota9*Prevent Child Abuse North Dakota
OhioNoneThe Cleveland Law Library
OklahomaNoneOklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
Oregon10*Oregon Department of Human Services
PennsylvaniaNoneLegal Zoom Info
Rhode IslandNoneUniversity of Rhode Island
South Carolina12*Children’s Trust of South Carolina
South DakotaNoneSouth Dakota Safety Council
Tennessee10*Tennessee Juvenile & Family Courts
TexasNoneTexas Department of Family and Protective Services
UtahNoneChildren’s Service Society of Utah
VermontNoneTown of Williston, Vermont
VirginiaNoneVirginia Department of Social Services
Washington10*Washington State Department of Social and Health Services
West VirginiaNoneWOWK-TV
WisconsinNoneCity of Madison Fire Department
WyomingUnknownWyoming Child Protective Services

Some information taken with permission from

*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.


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  • Jeff

    Pittsburgh has an “h” at the end.

    • Family First

      Jeff – All fixed now. Thank you for pointing that out!

  • Angela

    Parents need to not leave too young of a child home alone. Even if you tell them not to open the door to strangers they may forget and do it any way or just think that if it’s an adult they have to open the door. This happened to a family member when she was 6 years old and she was sexually molested by a very sick person who had watched the house from a secret location to see when her parents left home without her. It ruined the rest of her life. She became untrusting and could not have good relationship even with her own husband when she grew up. She now takes medicine for depression and panic attacks. Small children need to be supervised. Don’t think you can lock them at home and they are safe just because you told them to never open the door. They could also be kidnapped or murdered. Please watch your kids.

    • Bruce Geidel

      Sometime the kids are safer home alone than with a babysitter. There are many physically and sexually abusive babysitters and daycare centers. Don’t forget the widespread daycare sex abuse in 1984 and 85. Teaching children to care for themselves afterschool is sometimes the wisest choice.

      • Jamie Dees

        I agree with there being the best action is to leave your child home alone instead of with sitters or day care facilities. I am a singlebworking mother and it became more of a necessity to either decide to be a stay home Mom and pull from my savings to support my family or make the choice to leave my children home alone. I was lucky that i b had great neighbors at the time and my children were mature and old enough to leave home while i continued working. I had horrible experiences with private sitters and daycare facilities.

  • Siobhan

    This chart is not accurate. I went to the latchkey kids site and I didn’t look at the other states but that is wrong for Wisconsin.

  • Greg

    I don’t agree with the way they handle this. I am having a huge problem with my ex. We have joint custody and I get my daughter every other week. Well I learned last week that she has been making my daughter stay home alone while she and her husband goes grocery shopping or whatever they do. my daughter is only 7 and it only takes a minute for something to go horribly wrong. Rapist, Murderers, Theives, hell who knows what else and she told me that I cant do nothing about it and she sees nothing wrong with what she is doing.

    • donna

      I agree with you!

    • Jamie Dees

      7yrs is definitely way to young to be left for even a trip down the street and back

  • Jamie Dees

    My boys are 16 and 14 but when i started thinking about when to leave them home alone i made sure to not only contact my local police department and DHS center so there would be no misunderstanding about what the legal age realy was. In my city in MS i was informed by both agencies the appropriate age was 12yrs for and child to be left alone and 13yrs to be able to supervise a younger sibling. They also had certain time allowances they could be left by themselves. You may also want to make sure you talk several times with your children about the rules. I sent a very close family friend by several times to knock on the door and try to make sure the rules were being followed. We also went over “what if” circumstances that could happen and what to do. Always remember just because it maybe legal at a certain age your child may not be emotionally ready for this kind of responsibility.