At What Age is it OK to Leave a Child Home Alone?
There is no legal minimum age in PA for children to be home without an adult.
Moms Talk is a weekly feature on all Lehigh Valley Patches in which local parents are invited to share opinions and advice on parenting issues.
This week’s Moms Talk topic relates to leaving children home alone:
A handful of states do have legal minimum ages for children left home alone, but Pennsylvania isn’t one of them. Many state agencies across the country have published guidelines on this topic, with 12 years old being the age most frequently recommended. Beyond that, there’s a fairly common sentiment that the child’s maturity should be what shapes a parents’ decision, not the child’s chronological age.
What are your thoughts on leaving children home alone? At what age would you be comfortable leaving your child at home without supervision? Does it matter if it’s day or night? Does the amount of time the child will be left alone come into play? Have you left your child home alone? What guidelines did you give him/her? How did it go?
Join the conversation. Each week our Moms Council members discuss these and other issues.
Our Moms Council members include:
- Lisa Amey, of Upper Milford Township, is a stay-at-home mom to an 8-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter. A past president of the MOMS Club of Emmaus and long time member of MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers), Lisa is an Independent Consultant for Arbonne International.
- Lisa Drew, of Emmaus, is a certified nutritionist and personal trainer, wellness and fitness coach with more than 17-years experience. She is the mother of a 13-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy.
- Jennifer Elston, of Emmaus, has almost two decades of professional experience in child development and counseling. She is currently a stay-at-home mom to two beautiful girls. Together with her husband, Chris, she owns Christopher Elston Photography.
- Jeanne Lombardo of Nazareth is the mother to a 10-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl. She’s new to the Lehigh Valley, having moved to Nazareth from Bergen County, N.J. in January.
- Lisa Merk, of Lower Macungie, is a stay-at-home mother of four boys – a 12-year-old and 6-year-old triplets. Lisa is a past president of the MOMS Club of Lower Macungie East. In her “spare” time, Lisa teaches piano to school-age children.
- Megan Patruno, of Allentown, is a mother of three – an 11-year-old boy, an 8-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy. Megan also works as an admission counselor for Muhlenberg College in Allentown.
- Zoila Bonilla Paul, of Bethlehem, is a stay-at-home mom to two girls – a 5 year old and a 14 month old. Zoila is a member of her local “moms’ club” and says she is “well-versed in the fun that children can bring.”
- Beth Sharpless of Emmaus, works part-time in a local emergency department as a nurse and part-time from home as a customer support specialist. She has two children, a boy who is almost 2, and a 5-year-old girl. She says they love spending time outdoors and dancing.
If you would like to become a part of the Moms Council and/or have ideas for future Moms Talk questions, please email email@example.com.