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Forum -> Parenting our children
What age to leave kids alone?
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amother
OP


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 4:22 am
I did not grow up in a healthy home so my judgment of these things usually needs some help so please don't jump on me.

What age would you leave kid in the car and run into store to pick up one thing? What about if kid is also responsible for younger kids in the car?
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amother
Salmon


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 4:24 am
At the age I’d leave them home to babysit.
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amother
Zinnia


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 4:27 am
amother Salmon wrote:
At the age I’d leave them home to babysit.


This
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amother
Tealblue


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 4:29 am
I don’t love leaving kids in the car for many reasons. If my child is adamant about not coming into a store and they are old enough to stay home alone, I’ll allow it. If they are old enough to stay home alone with a younger sibling, and are happy to watch that younger sibling, I would maybe maybe leave them both alone. Maybe. Just for a couple of minutes if I have no other option and it works with all involved parties.
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amother
OP


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 4:29 am
amother Salmon wrote:
At the age I’d leave them home to babysit.


Thanks. What age is that? And is the age different if they are responsible only for themselves vs younger siblings as well?
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amother
Salmon


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 4:32 am
amother OP wrote:
Thanks. What age is that? And is the age different if they are responsible only for themselves vs younger siblings as well?


Really depends on the maturity of the kid. I’d say for sure not under 10. But most kids probably aren’t ready until older. So I might leave a 10 year old in a car, but I’d only leave an older kid with siblings. But also you leave the car on with the door locked and explain the emergency plan and not to open the door for anyone.
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amother
DarkMagenta


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 4:40 am
TRIGGER WARNING


There was a story in the last few years about someone who ran into the grocery store and left her twins - 6 years old and I think a baby for a few seconds - obviously turned into a few minutes, in the car. One twin played with the seatbelt while the other told him not to. Long story short. Nebach it got stuck around his neck 😭 he passed away. My friend was the one who found him in the car.
Never okay unless there’s an adult with them. Not worth the chance.
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amother
Daylily


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 5:01 am
Location matters, as well as size of the store and where you park. When I need to pickup the cleaners on the way home from school, I leave my 7 yo and 3yo in the car. I don’t love it but I park right in front of the store where I could see the car and it’s always quick. I wouldn’t leave them if I was going into the grocery store, even for 1 thing. I would leave my 10 yo for that, if I didn’t expect it to be too long.
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amother
Wine


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 5:04 am
I don't think I'm generally overprotective but I wouldn't leave younger than 13 or so, either alone or with siblings.
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amother
OP


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 5:11 am
amother Wine wrote:
I don't think I'm generally overprotective but I wouldn't leave younger than 13 or so, either alone or with siblings.


Is that the same age you would leave them home alone?
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amother
Wine


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 5:12 am
amother OP wrote:
Is that the same age you would leave them home alone?


No I feel they are safer at home than in an unattended vehicle in public.
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amother
Royalblue


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 5:20 am
amother Wine wrote:
No I feel they are safer at home than in an unattended vehicle in public.


I agree with this. It depends on the area of course. But I leave my kids home alone at a younger age than I would leave them alone in a parking lot.

Home alone depending on the kid, about 10-12.

Alone in a parking lot, more like 14,15.
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amother
Snapdragon


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 5:27 am
There's also the risk of police seeing them, or someone else calling the police. Legally if the children are too young to be left alone, you can get in trouble.

Another thing to take into account, is it safe for them to be left with the windows open? If not, is the weather cold enough for them to be left with the windows closed as cars heat up very quickly?

If I left them alone in the car, I would have to feel comfortable leaving my keys with the oldest (old car). That child needs to be responsible enough to put the keys in the ignition to run the air or open or close windows as need be.

Also location matters. A parking lot of a big box store is different than street parking right in front of a small store on the Avenue where you can see the car the whole time and be there in a second. I would not leave my 13 year old alone or with younger kids in the parking lot of a big box store like Target, but I would leave her alone in the car to run into a neighborhood store. For that matter, I would send her alone to a local store. I would not send her alone to Target.
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amother
PlumPink


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 6:03 am
I don't feel comfortable leaving kids alone in the car, even if they're babysitting at home already. Leaving them in the car alone just makes me nervous.
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amother
Clematis


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 6:18 am
I just started allowing my 12 year old to wait in the car alone, not with siblings (he watches siblings alone at home for short periods). It's easier to be in charge of siblings at home, it would be harder if they're all bouncing around inside the car, so I don't ask that of him.
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Chayalle




 
 
    
 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 6:53 am
You would have to know what the legal age of babysitting is in your state, if your child is being left to watch other kids. And most states have an age for being left alone, as well. Some states have a more lose interpretation. I think it's typically about age 13 or so.

BTW consider the Chilul Hashem aspect when sending your kids out alone. I didn't let my oldest take her siblings to the park alone until she was well in her teens, because she's very petite and didn't look physically old enough.....
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baltomom




 
 
    
 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 7:00 am
The law in my state, Maryland, is 13 for babysitting and 8 for staying home alone. I wouldn't usually leave an 8 year old alone (maybe for less than 5 minutes if I'm leaving and an older sibling is coming home) to I would leave an 8 year old home with a 10 year old for 30-45 minutes.

That's what I follow for leaving my kids at home. Somehow leaving them in a car makes me more uncomfortable--because they are publicly visible and things can happen in a car. I would maybe leave older kids in a car in front of a store where I can see them the whole time I'm running in to pick something up. I'm really not comfortable leaving kids alone in a car in a parking lot until they're almost old enough to drive!
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amother
Plum


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 7:07 am
I send my child into the store and I stay in the car from let's say 11ish and only a smallJewish store like a bakery. Not a big supermarket
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amother
Petunia


 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 7:48 am
Legally there's NO laws in the US for ages of children to be home alone but CPS does have guidelines they consider unsafe

Each state is different but in NY/NJ its over age 6 for a couple minutes and over age 12 for a longer time
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Chayalle




 
 
    
 

Post Mon, Feb 26 2024, 7:50 am
baltomom wrote:
Somehow leaving them in a car makes me more uncomfortable--because they are publicly visible and things can happen in a car. I would maybe leave older kids in a car in front of a store where I can see them the whole time I'm running in to pick something up. I'm really not comfortable leaving kids alone in a car in a parking lot until they're almost old enough to drive!


I agree. Also, in the parking lot of a non-Jewish area I'd be even more wary, especially in today's climate. Like, think parking lot of Kosher Supermarket vs. parking lot of your local mall.
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