SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — In Georgia, there is no law pertaining to the age a child needs to be to stay at home by themselves, but there are guidelines to fill in the gaps.
The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services guidelines note that children 8 years or younger should not be left alone at any time.
Children between 9 and 12 can be left on their own for no longer than two hours and mature 13-year-olds may be left alone.
A few exceptions do apply:
A child under 13 who shows exceptional maturity can be left alone to care for other children.
An older child with a special condition or disability needs supervision.
What needs to be discussed before leaving a child alone:
- Emergency plan for the family;
- Work and cellphone number or caregivers;
- Access to the phone numbers of nearby relatives, neighbors or family friends;
- The child should be able to recite the plan and numbers;
- Environmental factors such as firearms safety, water safety and any other potential hazards;
- How long they will be alone?
- How to safely answer the phone or the door;
- How does the child feel about being alone?
For additional information, check out the guidelines here.