How Old Does a Kid Have to Be to Legally Be Home Alone in Iowa?
It can be a thrilling moment for the kid or a terrifying one for the parents.
One of my favorite movies from when I was a kid was 'Home Alone.' While I loved my parents, I'd often dream of what I'd be able to get up to if I had the entire house to myself.
Now, that I'm an adult with bills to pay and all the other responsibilities of living by myself, it doesn't seem as glamorous...
While I was terrified of being left alone, I kind of liked the idea of being able to do things my own way!
My parents started leaving me home alone at around the age of 13-14. It would be for short periods, like going to the store or going to drop my sister off at school on days I was sick. It was around that same age that they started to trust me to watch my younger sister during short periods of time.
These sorts of thoughts have been popping up in my mind recently, and they got me thinking about the age a kid has to be to be left home along (legally).
Before we dive into it, if you suspect that a child is being neglected or "being left home alone inappropriately," then make sure to bring these concerns to Child Protective Services.
According to the World Population Review, nearly half of the states in our country have a "home alone" age or a legal babysitting age. Only fifteen states actually have a legal age requirement for those two scenarios.
Some of the states seem to have questionably low age requirements. For example, in Kansas you have to be at least six years old to be able to babysit by yourself.
That just reminds me of John Mulaney's bit about babysitters!
Iowa has a similar outlook to the rest of the country about this rule. In the Hawkeye State, there is "no specified age" that a child needs to be so they can be left unsupervised.
Again, there is no legal precedent for this in Iowa homes. However, this seems like a very subjective choice from parent to parent. The Department of Health and Human Services actually created a guide that should help parents determine if their kid is capable of staying home alone.
For kids that are eight to ten years old, this guide says kids at this age can be, "home alone only during daylight and early morning hours for no later than 1 and ½ hours."
Once your kids are in the thirteen to fifteen age bracket; then they can be left alone, but not overnight.
The question isn't necessarily "what age can I leave the kiddos along without having to find a babysitter?" It's more like, "is this child actually CAPABLE of being home alone?"
That question is still probably up in the air for different parents.