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Tennessee General Law Blog

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How Young is Too Young to Leave a Child at Home in TN?

Before leaving your children at home alone in Tennessee, it is important that you understand the regulations and take time to evaluate your children’s capabilities.

Whether you are just planning to run out to the market quickly or need to be gone for several hours, the decision to leave your children at home alone can be a scary one. From potential hazards to the fear of being arrested for child neglect, there are multiple factors to consider before grabbing your keys and heading out the door. Your child’s age can be used as a guideline in your decision-making process, but not everyone’s children mature at the same rate, either. In some cases, it is conceivable that your 10-year-old is more trustworthy and responsible than your 17-year-old.

In the event you or your child have been charged with a crime in relation to leaving him or her home alone, you need to contact a Manchester criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Burch, Morrison, & Stewart, our team of criminal attorneys have over 20 years of experience defending clients in the Middle Tennessee area.

Tennessee Regulations

Some states have laws on what the youngest age is for leaving a child at home alone. Tennessee does not have a mandatory cut-off age, but there are some regulations in place listed on the Tennessee State Courts website. Per the website, the decision to leave children at home alone can be left up to the parents, but that children under the age of 10 should not be left alone at home without supervision at any time. In most scenarios, children who are older teenagers may be ok to be left at home for a short period of time. What this means is you are probably fine to attend that lunch or dinner meeting while your 16-year-old is home, but you should not run off on an overnight business trip and leave your 7-year-old home alone.

Use Your Best Parental Judgment

Because the court leaves the decision making up to the parent, it is imperative that you use your best parental judgment before leaving your kids home alone. You are the person to judge your children’s capabilities and you know their behaviors. If your teenager is prone to getting into trouble, has taken the family car without permission, been caught with drugs, or thrown parties in your absence, it is probably not the best idea to leave him or her home alone. But, if you have a mature teenager, then attending that lunch meeting with a client is probably fine.

Something else that is important to remember is that just because a child may be mature enough to stay home alone, it does not mean the child is mature enough to watch other children. Tennessee law is quiet on the minimum age for babysitting, but again, you should use your best judgment on how much responsibility your child can handle.

Contact a Manchester Criminal Defense Today

Are you facing allegations of child neglect for leaving your child home alone? Or, has your child done something illegal while he or she was at home alone? No matter what the problem is, you need a skilled Manchester defense attorney on your side. Contact the Law Offices of Burch, Morrison, & Stewart today to schedule an initial consultation.

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