In Kansas Children As Young As 6 Can Be Left At Home Alone



Each state has its own law defining the legal age a child can be left at home without an adult present. In Kansas, that age is 6, as long as they are left for only short periods of time. The state’s theory is that parents have to consider children’s abilities to fend for themselves. They must assess the maturity, general intellectual capability, and level of common sense of the child involved. Children must be educated in what to do in the case of an emergency — fire, tornado, stranger at the door, etc. — and must comprehend the information before being left alone. There is currently no clear legal definition as to what constitutes an unsupervised child. Generally, a parent or guardian must provide supervision and care for their children until they reach 18 years of age, but younger children have a greater need for supervision and care than older children. The rule of thumb across most of the country is that young children under age 10 should not be left without supervision at any time. Oddly enough, several states have no rules about the age at which children can be left at home alone. The state with the youngest home-alone rule is, of course, Kansas, while the state with the oldest is Illinois, which requires children be at least 14 before being left at home alone.