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Home Alone Rules by State

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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.

We have some great tools to get you started. First up, just because they meet the age requirement, it doesn’t mean they are mature enough to stay home alone. So here are 5 ways to know if your child is ready. If you decide that yep, we’re good to go, here are 6 ways to train your child to stay home alone and conversation starters to get talking about your expectations and their concerns. And chances are, you’ve got one kiddo who is going to assume the role of babysitter, so check out our Babysitter Checklist printable to make sure all the important details are covered.

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.

The National SAFEKIDS Campaign recommends that no child under the age of 12 be left home alone.

State Minimum Age Reference
Alabama None Alabama’s Child Neglect Law
Alaska None Alaska Office of Children’s Services
Arizona None Arizona Department of Child Safety
Arkansas None University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service
California None California Department of Education
Colorado 12* CO4 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 No resource found
Illinois 14 Illinois Compiled Statutes
Indiana None Prevent Child Abuse Indiana
Iowa None Iowa Department of Human Services
Kansas 6* Kansas Department for Children and Families
Kentucky 11*
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 8* Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare
Mississippi None 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 Department of Children and Families
New Mexico None** City of Albuquerque Child Safety at Home
New York None New York Office of Children and Family Services
North Carolina 8 North Carolina Fire Code G.S. 14-318
North Dakota 9* North Dakota Department of Human Services
Ohio None Ohio Children’s Trust Fund
Oklahoma 7* Oklahoma Department of Human Services
Oregon None Oregon Legal Research
Pennsylvania None Legal Zoom Info
Rhode Island None No resource found
South Carolina None Coastal Law
South Dakota 10* South Dakota Safety Council
Tennessee None 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 None No resource found

Some information taken with permission from

*Age is recommended, but not legally required.
**While New Mexico does not have a state law mandating the minimum age required for a child to stay home alone, a 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?


What do you look forward to most about becoming an adult?

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