It’s not uncommon for children to stay home alone. Some reasons are outside the parent’s control, and sometimes out of neglect. There are both safety and legal reasons parents should consider before leaving their children home unsupervised.
Legal Minimum Age to be Unsupervised
Most states (including Nevada) do not have a state law specifying the minimum age a child can be left home alone. However, Reno municipal code states “It shall be unlawful for any person who is a parent or guardian, or for any person who has been entrusted by a parent or guardian, to fail to supervise and attend a child or children under the age of ten years” (Reno Muni Code, Sec. 8.16.060). Children under ten cannot be left unattended at home in Reno city limits. It’s important to note, no two children are alike in cognitive ability and maturity at ten years old either.
Overall safety, including location and circumstance should be considered when determining if your child is old enough. Parents should consider the following factors before leaving a child unsupervised for any length of time:
- The child’s age and maturity level
- The child’s ability to follow instruction
- The time of day and length of time
- Whether or not other children will be left alone with the eldest child
- The safety of the home and the neighborhood
- Neighbor support for emergencies
Risk of Neglect
Abuse or neglect of a child occurs when a guardian has either abandoned that child or deprived him/her of proper supervisions, protection, food, education, medical care or other well-being necessities. If you suspect child neglect, contact Child Protective Services.
Contact a Nevada Family Lawyer
Your child’s safety is always paramount. Call Work Law if you are concerned about the protections of your child.