All Things Family Law

Discussion of all things related to family law from an Indiana divorce attorney.

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This blog provides general family law and divorce law information. If you have a specific issue or case you need assistance with please contact me directly.

At What Age Can I Leave My Child Home Alone? - Indiana Juvenile and Custody Law

What is the minimum age to leave a child home alone?  

Most states do not have a minimum age.  However, in states that do have a minimum age it ranges from 8 to 14.  In Indiana, there is no minimum age, rather the answer is "it depends".  According to the Indiana Department of Child Services brochure appropriately titled "Home Alone", "[t}here is no right answer for every child. There is no magic age when a child suddenly becomes responsible and mature. But there are ways to evaluate your child’s capabilities in order to make a more informed decision."

The brochure includes some interesting statistics:

  • Nearly 4.5 million children ages 14 and under are injured in the home every year.
  • The vast majority of unintentional injury-related deaths among children occurs in the evening hours when children are most likely to be out of school and unsupervised.
  • Children are most likely to be victims of violent crimes by non-family members between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
  • Violent juvenile crimes triple between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m

Lastly, the brochure offers a "self-test" of questions and issues for parents to consider.   The questions include:

  1. Is your child mature enough to be home alone? 
  2. Can your child handle fear, loneliness, and boredom? 
  3. Is there a responsible adult nearby—a relative or a neighbor—who your child can call for assistance?
  4. Does your child know emergency procedures? 
  5. Have you reviewed fire escape routes? 
  6. Is there a first aid kit available, and does your child know how to use it? 
  7. Does your child perform everyday tasks such as fixing a snack, dialing the phone, and writing messages?
  8. Does your child regularly solve small problems without assistance, knowing when it’s okay to ask for help?  
  9. Does your child manage conflicts with/among siblings without adult help? 
  10. Is your child comfortable with the idea of staying alone? 

If this topic is important to you I encourage you to review the entire brochure. Also, there is a website with resources for "latch key kids" here.

The review or transmission of information at this site is not legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.   All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. Should you be seeking legal advice, I recommend you retain an attorney. Please contact me  here.