How Old is Old Enough to be Left Home Alone?

 Yellow Medicine County Family Services policy:

 Children age 7 and under are always to be supervised!!!

 Children under age 11 cannot provide child care!!

 Older children can stay home but there are still time limits depending on age:

  • Children ages 8-10 who are left alone for more than three hours.
  • Children ages 11-13 who are left alone for more than 12 hours.
  • Children ages 14-15 who are left alone for more than 24 hours.
  • Children ages 16-17 may be left alone for over 24 hours with a plan in place concerning how to respond to an emergency.

 Older Children may babysit following these guidelines:

  • Children under age 11 should not provide child care.
  • Children ages 11 – 15 who are placed in a child care role ae subject to the same time restrictions of being left alone as listed above.
  • Children ages 16 – 17 who are providing child care may be left alone for more than 24 hours with adequate adult back up supervision and an emergency plan.

Please Note…

A child’s age, mental ability and maturity level is different for every child.

These guidelines may not fit all children.

Your child may not be ready even if they fit the age requirement.

If children are left alone at the time the report is received by the local child welfare agency, and the circumstances fall outside of the timelines listed above, the local agency may refer the matter to local law enforcement for a child welfare and safety check.