August 16, 2011,
B.T. asks from McKinney, TX on May 14, 2008
Age That Kids Can Walk Home from School or Stay Home Alone
My daughter is interested in walking home from school next year. I trust her, but I don't trust the world. She and a friend could walk to our home which is right next to the school. They would be alone for about one hour and a half until my husband got home. They will be ten. I know that I was out all day alone at a much earlier age (but that was 100 years ago! and things have changed in the world). Is anyone aware of any legal issues for an age that kids can be left alone?
So What Happened?™
Thank you for the responses. We are going to do a trial run and see how it goes (one day that I am home and can wait for them.) My daughter is very responsible at school and around the house, but I am still apprehensive. Kids are sometimes too trusting and sometimes kids are just so absent minded. I wondered if anyone has kids that already walk home and how it has worked out for them. How do you monitor the process?
R.B. answers from Dallas on May 14, 2008
I think (not 100% positive) that the "legal" age to be left alone is 12 or 13. That seems really old.
BUT, I also know that when a stay at home mom gets called to do Jury Duty, they do dismiss you until the child is age 10. So, maybe 10 is the magic number.
I would love to hear if anyone out there knows for sure.
M.R. answers from Dallas on May 14, 2008
I beleive that there is no legal age in Tx but as long as the child is safe and can take care of theirself and they can not be responsible to take care of another person.
I hope this helps.
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A.M. answers from Dallas on May 14, 2008
Michele is right. There is no Texas law that defines a specific age at which a child may be left home alone. However,there is a Texas law about leaving a child under 7 in a car alone for longer than 5 minutes.
I found this when looking:
On when deciding to leave your child at home unattended:
"Your child should be more than competent at everything that you would expect from a babysitter before they're mature enough to be home alone. Could your child call 911 and give clear directions to the emergency services? Do they know what to do if there's an accident? Are they aware of where the fusebox is? And where to turn off the water and gas if necessary? "
At the end of the day, you'll need to use your own judgement.
T.O. answers from Dallas on May 14, 2008
I still walked mine to school in middle school... I kept it up till they told me I really had to leave them.
But 10 s/b old enough. You might give her a pay as you go cell phone for emergency's only that she might have btwn home and school. And set a routine of her calling you when she gets home etc.
C.A. answers from Dallas on May 14, 2008
Our world is scary whether they are younger children or even teens and up! You just have to teach her the rules and what to do in certain situations. At 10, she's old enough to walk home from school. You said it's nearby. I was walking home at 9 with my kindergarten age sister. Of course that was the 80's, but there were crazy people then too! I'm not working right now, still in school, so I've arranged classes where I can still pick mine up. At times, that's a total pain with the carpool lines-they could sometimes walk home faster! But, there are occasions where they have to be home alone for a couple hours, and they know the routine, to keep the doors locked and have emergency numbers on the refrigerator and do fine! I will tell you that my ex brother in law called the police once when he was mad at my step-sister and told them that she was leaving their son who was 2 with her 12 or 13 year old sister while she worked during the day(it was summertime), and they said that if my step-sister felt her sister was adequate and able to watch the child there was nothing they could do, she wasn't breaking any law! I've left my younger kids with my 11 year old daughter who is perfectly capable of watching them for a couple hours on different occasions, in fact-she is better at watching them than my 14 year old son! And, it's my decision and I feel comfortable with it, and that's where the decision lies-with me! People who neglect their children, leave very young children alone, or with obviously inadequate caregivers are the one's who can and should get in trouble.
M.S. answers from Modesto on August 16, 2011
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K.C. answers from Dallas on July 08, 2008
Hi, my 8 year old walks home from school..He is very mature for his age...I wouldn't trust my 11 year old because he is really not very mature...Just depends on the kid...I would set up rules though...My son has to call me the moment he walks in the door if I am not already there...He knows the routine...I told him he is allowed to have a snack and do homework...He must stay inside...not even go in the backyard...and if there is anything else he wants to do...he must call me. Our kids suprise us sometimes at how wonderful and mature they are..=)
S.W. answers from Dallas on May 14, 2008
In some areas, the city you live in might have a rule/policy. For example, in my city, any child left unattended at the library (for example) must be at least 8 years old (if I'm remembering correctly). You might contact your child's school and see if they have any policy about not allowing children to leave campus without an adult and at what age. Also, schools are usually kept apprised of crime issues in your neighborhood, so ask them if they think it is safe for them to walk home. If they know that the girls are walking, they might even keep an extra eye out for them along their way. If you have neighbors you trust that are home during that time of day, ask them to keep an eye on her too.