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At what age can a child be left home alone?

Child Welfare
Child Abuse and Neglect


State child abuse and neglect reporting laws do not specify the age at which a child can be left home alone. No consistent community standards exist describing when and under what circumstances children can be left alone or in the care of other children. Information about the age at which it is considered appropriate to leave a child alone may exist elsewhere in your local, county, or state policies or ordinances that address this special topic.

Local police departments or child protective services agencies may also be able to provide information about specific local regulations or ordinances. Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children’s Bureau, maintains a listing of State Child Welfare Agency Websites on its website. Childhelp®, a national organization that provides crisis assistance and other counseling and referral services, can also direct callers appropriately to resources in their community. Its toll-free number is 1.800.4 A CHILD® (1.800.422.4453)

Child Welfare Information Gateway also highlights some tips for parents and caregivers in its factsheet Leaving Your Child Home Alone.

Last Reviewed: May 16, 2019