Have you been in a situation where you need to leave your kids home alone and aren't sure if you are ready for it, or if it is even legal to do so?

What's the law in New York? Can you get arrested for it?

While there is no legal age that you can leave your kids unattended, the New York Office for Children Family Services (OFCS) says that it is legal to do so if you think your kids can handle it. Keep in mind that this is a summary of what they had to say.

Here are a few more guidelines from the OFCS website:

  • Consider the child: How mature is the child? How comfortable is the child with the circumstances? What has the child done in the past to show you he/she is able to take on this kind of responsibility?
  • Consider the child's knowledge and ability: Does the child know how and when to contact emergency help? Is the child able to prepare food for him/herself? Are there hazards to the child in the environment such as accessible knives, power tools, a stove, or an oven?
  • Consider the circumstances: Where will the child be when left alone? How long is the child to be alone?

Did your parents leave you alone at what you now consider a "too young" age? Or did you need to be home alone because of your parent's work schedule? So, if you have kids, at what age do you think that your kids can be left alone?

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