At What Age Can You Leave Your Kids Home Alone In Washington?
Many years ago I had a run-in with the Department of Social and Health Services over allowing our 8-year-old son to be home alone. Do you know at what age you can leave your kids home alone?
My wife and I were living in Yakima at the time. We got a call from DSHS asking if we leave our 8-year-old son home alone. We asked why the concern about our child being home alone.
Can DSHS Contact You About Your Kids Being Left Home Alone?
Apparently, a little girl in the neighborhood had been doing something she shouldn't have and DSHS asked if our son had been involved.
DSHS had knocked on the door of our house at the time and they got no answer. They said they could hear video games being played in the house but no one answered the door.
At What Age Can Children Be Left Home Alone In Washington State?
We'd instructed our son to never open the door under any circumstances to anyone and he did just that. DSHS said they knew he was in there but he never came to the door.
At 8-years-old, our son was only home alone about an hour between the shifts that I worked and my wife worked in the afternoons and our son didn't want to be shuttled around so we made a deal that he could stay home alone as long as he never answered the door.
DSHS was impressed that he didn't answer and we discovered that our son wasn't involved with the neighbor girl but DSHS did make an interesting comment to us.
They said that there isn't any Washington law that states when a child can be home alone but they recommended that we don't leave him alone for long periods even though he seemed responsible.
Is There A Law In Washington State Concerning Home Alone Kids?
We discovered that there is NO set law in Washington State but they do recommend that children under 10 not be home alone.
Here is an excerpt from the DSHS.GOV site
Washington State does not have any laws or rules that say at what age a child can be left home alone. In general, children under 10 should not be left on their own.
March 30, 2020
The question was asked last year during the pandemic. I've known about the lack of law now for many years since our son was involved all those years ago.
At What Age Can My Kid Be Left Home Alone In Washington State?
It really comes down to the maturity of each child and each parent to make that choice for their own family but Washington State does have some guidelines that they'd recommend no kid under 10 be home alone but it's just that, a guideline and not the law.