What Age Can You Legally Leave Your Child Home Alone in Texas?
Parents are constantly making decisions for their children; trying to decide how much screen time they get or whether they are old enough for a phone. There are tons of questions that have no clear answer, sometimes we just have to wing it.
What about the hard questions? The situations that carry legal baggage, like is it alright to leave your child home alone? Even just for a couple of minutes while you run down to the corner store because you forgot a can of tomato sauce and you're in the middle of making dinner?
TEXAS LAWS ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS- MAYBE NOT?
Surely, Texas has a law to answer a common question almost every parent has at one point in their life. Surprisingly, no, Texas law does not specify an age at which a child can be left home alone. Instead, the law simply points out that 'adequate supervision is critical to keeping kids safe.'
Which sparks the next question, what is considered 'adequate supervision?' The same laws insisting on 'adequate supervision' ironically do not define what 'adequate supervision is.
A SIMPLE GUIDE TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE
Here is a guide provided by Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to help keep children safe with proper supervision:
- How old, emotionally mature, and capable is your child?
- What is the layout and safety of the home, play area, or other settings?
- What are the hazards and risks in the neighborhood?
- What is your child's ability to respond to illness, fire, weather, or other types of emergencies?
- Does your child have a mental, physical, or medical disability?
- How many children are being left unsupervised?
- Do they know where you are?
- Can they contact you or other responsible adults?
- How long and how often is the child (or children) left alone?
Even though there is no definition for 'adequate supervision, an adult caregiver is accountable for the child's care and inadequate supervision can be a type of neglect, leading to criminal charges.