What Is the Legal Age to Leave a Child Home Alone in Texas?
Making sure that our children are in good hands here in Texas is a must! But sometimes we parents have to work late, or even go to work early, which leaves us looking for a babysitter or finding ourselves possibly leaving our child at home. Being a parent, when it comes to my child being supervised, there is no discussion. My child will be babysat by someone or my son will have to go wherever I’m going, and he’s almost a teenager.
CAN BEING HOME ALONE GET YOUR PARENT IN BIG TROUBLE?
I’m a big believer in not leaving your children at home because people are crazy nowadays, and who knows what can happen to a kid left alone. I feel like even people who have cameras around their houses still cannot protect their children. Sure, Texas kids are tough and smart, but they're still kids.
So again, I wouldn't leave my kid alone, but the question is, is it illegal? According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the state of Texas doesn’t say what age is really old enough for a child to be left alone at home. However...
CAN YOU LEAVE YOUR CHILD HOME ALONE AND STILL FEEL SAFE?
Even though there’s no specific age on the books, supervision and intelligent discretion are still musts.
In fact, leaving kids under the age of 15 home alone could get you charged with criminal abandonment. Even if your kid is older than that or mature for their age, leaving any kid alone in certain situations could be considered neglectful supervision.
What is that? Well, Texas authorities have two definitions for it:
Placing a child in or failing to remove a child from a situation that a reasonable person would realize requires judgment or actions beyond the child's level of maturity, physical condition, or mental abilities and that results in bodily injury or substantial risk of immediate harm to the child.
Placing a child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of sexual conduct harmful to the child.
So, you need to know your child well and use your best judgement and common sense to decide if leaving them alone is appropriate. Otherwise, you can find yourself having to speak with child services.
ASK YOURSELF SOME QUESTIONS
Would you leave the house for hours with your infant just lying in the crib or wandering the house? If your child has certain medical needs or anxiety issues, would you want them at home unsupervised? Is your neighborhood generally pretty safe? Even if it is, what would your child do if a stranger came to the door or tried to entice them outside and into a vehicle? What if there was a fire or other emergency? I think you should ask yourself if your kid is mentally and physically mature enough to be home alone.
I can't tell you how to raise your children, but what I can say is that there are plenty of questions I would definitely ask myself before allowing and trusting my child to be home on their own.
Let’s keep our babies safe, Texas.