How Young Can A Kid Legally Be Left Home Alone In New York State?
So, you're trying to have a City Boy summer or a Hot Girl summer, right? But, your babysitter is less than reliable or says 'yesterday's price is not today's.' What is a parent who still wants to live their best life do? Before you go back to the 'latch key kid' days of the 80s, let's take a look at what New York State law says about leaving a child home alone.
How Young Is Too Young To Be Left Home Alone In New York?
Home Alone, the movie, starring Macaulay Culkin, was a smash in 1990 when it premiered. Not only did it make him into an instant star, it grossed over $476.7 million at the box office.
Credit: Movieclips Classic Trailers via Youtube
But funny movies, aside, it's less likely to turn into a hit comedy if you leave your child alone to fend off robbers by themselves.
Can A Parent Or Guardian Be Arrested For Leaving A Child Alone In New York?
Surprisingly, in a state where many things are governed by specific laws, New York State does not have a minimum age for leaving a child in their own care.
According to the law, there is no set age at which you can leave a child alone. The parent is responsible for deciding whether or not the child is mature and responsible enough to understand the circumstances and take care of her or himself.
However, there is a caveat, which could cause trouble for a parent if they were arrested and charged with neglect and then had to fight the case in a court of law.
According to the NYC Parents’ Guide to New York State Child Abuse and Neglect Laws,
While the law does not specify age, very young children cannot take care of themselves and should not be left alone.
Also, consider this. If a child is left alone during school days and does not attend class, that can cause a legal problem for parents. According to the guide,
Educational neglect includes failure to enroll a school-age child in school, allowing unexplained absences from
school, refusal of recommended remedial services without good reason, and failure to respond to attendance questions.
The bottom line is, that you can potentially put yourself at legal risk, even though there is no set law if you leave your child home alone in New York State. Teens, who are probably begging you to be left alone, might be your best bet. But then again, do you really trust them having free reign to the house without you there?
**This article does not provide legal advice