What Are the Home Alone Laws?

What Are the Home Alone Laws?

The term "home alone laws" generally refers to the legal age at which a child may be left at home without parental supervision. These laws vary by individual states, and many states do not establish a minimum age for leaving a child unsupervised.

These laws may also be referred to as "latchkey laws." It is possible that a city or county may have local laws where there are no established state laws. Age guidelines can be verified with the state DHS or a local child welfare agency.

As of January 2015, states that are known to have no minimum age restrictions for leaving a child at home alone include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

States that do not have a set law but provide official guidelines on appropriate age are Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Tennessee and Washington. These guidelines vary by state and range from age 6 in Kansas to age 12 in a number of states.

States that have legally established limits are Illinois (age 14), Maryland (age 8), New Mexico (age 10), North Carolina (age 8) and Oregon (age 10).