49 answers

9 Years old....is That Old Enough to Leave Home Alone?

Ok..before everyone goes nuts on me...I'm only talking about leaving child for apprx 6-7 mins.

Here's the story...
My 9 yr old son has been sick with the flu, but I have a 6 yr old daughter that I need to get to school. So instead of getting him all bundled up and loading him in the car...after vomitting all night and a high fever...just leave him in my bed watchin tv. Letting him know exactly what is happening.

So, seriously, what does everyone think? Am I crazy for asking? Is it against the law?

Thanks Moms!!!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

WOW!!! I'm soooooo thankful for all your helpful responses!!!! =)

-For those who say bus...the stop is too far...I would still have to drive to the stop.
-For those who say have neighbor drive....too much to ask...when they don't even have school age kids.
-And he was not vomitting at the time...I knew he was good enough to last 7 mins.
-Neighbor was aware and he had phone and remote in hand...and knew what to do...just in case.

Still a little confused. I've google it and some links say 14yrs old and some say just not leaving them overnight! I'm tempted to just call the police department.
Thanks for all the wonderful well wishes!

Featured Answers

Interestingly, when my oldest was 9 I'd've said no, don't leave a 9 yr old alone, but when my youngest was 9 I left her alone quite frequently to go pick up/drop off the other two.

:)

7 moms found this helpful

As long as he knows how to use the phone and who to call, I would have done exactly what you have done.

4 moms found this helpful

In California it is completely legal and to be honest I would do it because I have done it with my 7 year old for 3-4 mins. It depends on the child but IMO a 9 year old is old enough to know what to do in an emergency, not to answer the door etc.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I've done it, even going to the grocery store to pick up some things for dinner,. I am not gone for more than an hour and they have been younger than that.
I also tested them by calling the phone, and have sent people to my house whom they didn't know.

7 moms found this helpful

I think if he's old enough in your eyes then it's fine. You know your son best and whether or not he will be comfortable with it. I think the comment someone made earlier about watching the Changeling first is like telling someone to watch Titanic before booking a cruise. Just silly.

7 moms found this helpful

Interestingly, when my oldest was 9 I'd've said no, don't leave a 9 yr old alone, but when my youngest was 9 I left her alone quite frequently to go pick up/drop off the other two.

:)

7 moms found this helpful

I've done this. My kids have been well trained in "here's the phone, you know my cell number", "if the doorbell rings, just ignore it as if nobody was home, NEVER even go to the door if I'm not home", "only answer the phone if you recognize the number as mine or daddy's cell", etc. I've been leaving my 13yr old home alone since he was 9 (starting with 5 minutes at a time, up to a couple of hours these days). If my child was sick like yours, I would prop him up in bed, hand him the phone and take my other one to school. And drive VERY carefully to and back...

5 moms found this helpful

wow 40 replies already! If I were in the same situation I would leave my sick child at home because I wouldn't want to make his tummy upset again by driving around. I would put a phone next to him and make sure dad, grandma or close family friend/neighbor knows that he is there alone just in case anything would prevent you from returning in 10minutes. Write those numbers down or have them call the house after you've been gone 15-20minutes. I think you're doing the right thing. Hope your son feels better soon!

5 moms found this helpful

for that short amount of time, yes, I would do it. I would tell him who to call if you aren't home by a certain time (say you get in a car accident) or have your husband plan to call at a set time to make sure you got back from the school run, but yes, that is ok in my book.

The law in IL is that it is not by a set age but rather by ability and circumstances - overnight is the ONLY thing by set age - short daytime amounts are not. I have researched this and know for a fact.

5 moms found this helpful

I do not think you are crazy at all. My mother used to not come home until 5 sometimes 6 when we got out of school at 3:30. (i think i was in 5th grade when it started, and i had two younger brothers that i had to watch too) The bus dropped us off near our home, we walked home, had to get started on homework and/or house chores. Maybe it was too much for us (there were 3 of us) at the time, but we were definitely more independant than others our age. AND there were no CELL Phones! We had to call her at work as soon as we got home.
If its just for 6-7 min or even a half hour i really don't see a problem with it. Make sure he know he can use the phone, write down your cell. Don't answer the door and all that good stuff. He's 9, so he'll be just fine. I don't think we give our kids enough credit these days. Just lay down the rules.

4 moms found this helpful

A nine year old should be perfectly fine left alone for a few minutes.
If he's sick, make sure he has a trash bin next to him if he needs to throw up (God forbid). There were times my son was sick and I had to run to the post office and just left him sleeping. He was still asleep when I got back. He never knew I was gone. I left a note right next to his bed that said, "Be right back" in case he woke up. It's something we had talked about on many occasions along with our other safety plan talks.
He knew I would never just take off and be gone shopping or anything like that. It worked for us. He knew how to use the phone and the number of the neighbor across the street if anything serious happened, which never did. And the neighbor knew I was going out as well. Bases covered.
You're not abandoning your child. It would take you more than 7 minutes getting him dressed and in the car.
I think it's fine. I've done it.
I don't know what the laws in your state are. I don't know what the laws in MY state are. I live in a very rural place so anywhere I would go is within walking distance, let alone driving there.

I hope your son feels better soon!

4 moms found this helpful

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