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  • EIGHT IS NOT ENOUGH

    Filed at 1:21 pm under by dcobranchi

    There were 5 tragic deaths in FAY in the last two weeks. The first was when a 12-year-old girl, home sick, was shot during a botched burglary. The other four were a result of a kitchen fire. The kids, age 12 and below, were left alone for a few minutes when their mom ran an errand. Awful all the way around. The Fayetteville Observer has the details here.

    This bit jumped out at me:

    Jamie Smith, the Fayetteville police spokeswoman, said it is a misdemeanor to leave a child younger than 8 alone in a house.

    Eight years old!? And, presumably, that means that an eight-year-old can legally be left in supervision of even younger siblings. That’s just too young.

    8 Responses to “EIGHT IS NOT ENOUGH”


    Comment by
    Ulrike
    September 30th, 2007
    at 2:22 pm

    Iowa has no legal age limit. They do have a set of standards: dhs.st...e.html (scroll down to Denial of Critical Care). A mature 7 year old could pass the standard while an immature 10 year old might not.

    Also, don’t just assume that you could legally leave an 8 year old in charge of younger children. Many places set that age limit higher than the limit for being home alone.


    Comment by
    NJRoadie
    September 30th, 2007
    at 4:19 pm

    I really think the age limit should be based on the individual child. I walk (a one mile loop, takes me about 15 minutes) and left my 8 year old alone (with a big dog as her companion). I think that is reasonable. Leaving my child at that age alone for hours would not be reasonable. On the other hand, I have friends who have children similar age to mine, and I wouldn’t trust the house in their hands!!


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    September 30th, 2007
    at 4:23 pm

    Every state treats this differently. In theory, it is illegal in DE to leave a minor home alone. Or alone in public for that matter. So, dropping your 17-year-old HS senior off at the bus stop was a violation of state law. Unenforced, of course.


    Comment by
    Ulrike
    September 30th, 2007
    at 6:37 pm

    BTW, this article says that spokesperson was wrong:
    html.w...75110/

    “There is one North Carolina law against leaving children under 8 years old exposed to a fire danger, but it is not specific beyond that.”

    NC DHHS also says there is no age limit: dhhs.s...qs.htm


    Comment by
    COD
    September 30th, 2007
    at 9:29 pm

    A child has to be 13 to be home alone legally here.


    Comment by
    Lillian
    October 1st, 2007
    at 6:29 am

    We’ve been leaving the older boy alone since he was 9; we still won’t leave the younger one alone at 10.5. It depends entirely on the child.


    Comment by
    Carole in DE
    October 1st, 2007
    at 8:27 am

    Hey Daryl, where can I find the DE law you referred to? If that’s the case in DE then I break it all the time, as do many of my neighbors. My kids are 15 and 11, get along great, very responsible, but at eight I never would have left either home alone.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    October 1st, 2007
    at 8:34 am

    Carole,

    There is no specific “Home Alone” law in DE. This came up during the Task Force discussion. We were told that somewhere in the code (I can’t recall where) there is a law that covers leaving minors unattended. I looked it up to confirm. It had never been enforced for anyone over the age of 13. Sorry I can’t be more specific.