At what age can your children be home alone in Kentucky? Is it legal? What we know

At what age can your children be home alone in Kentucky? Is it legal? What we know

play

With summer in full swing in the Bluegrass State, some parents may be wondering how to best keep their kids entertained during work hours. If they’re not enrolled in something fun like summer camp or daycare, some are probably considering leaving the kids home alone. But is it legal?

This is what we know.

When to Leave Your Kids Home Alone in Kentucky: At what age can you leave children home alone in Kentucky?

Is it legal to leave your children home alone in Kentucky?

While Kentucky has no law setting an age at which children can be left home alone, KRS 600.020 defines what constitutes child abuse and neglect, Mike Wynn, a spokesman for the Legislative Research Commission, told The Courier Journal in a previous report.

The law states that child abuse or neglect occurs when the “health or welfare of a child is harmed or threatened with harm” as a result of the actions of their parent or guardian. This includes failing to provide adequate care, supervision or food, and mistreating the minor.

At what age can children be left home alone in Kentucky?

Kentucky does not have a specific age limit for when children may or may not be left alone. Instead, it follows the United States Code definition, which states that it refers to “activities or objects that are generally considered appropriate for children of the same chronological age or maturity level, or that are considered developmentally appropriate for a child based on the development of cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral capacities characteristic of a particular age or age group.”

How do you know at what age you can leave your child home alone?

Children left home alone should be assessed on a case-by-case basis, according to the Department for Community Based Services’ Child Protective Services division. They recommend considering the following:

  • Don’t base your decision to leave children home alone on age alone. Everyone grows at a different rate.
  • Consider the circumstances before making a decision, such as the time of day, the number of children left alone, and their willingness to be left alone.
  • Take into account the safety skills of the children.
  • Consider whether the oldest child can take care of the rest if there is more than one child in the house.
  • Consider whether the child has a reliable way to call the parent, caregiver or 911.