According to the law, there is no set age at which a child can be left alone. The parent is responsible for deciding whether or not the child is mature and responsible enough take care of herself or himself.
While the law does not specify age, very young children cannot take care of themselves and should not be left alone.
There is no law about the minimum age that a person must be to babysit children. Parents are responsible for deciding whether or not the babysitter or caregiver is mature and responsible enough to take care of their child.
Babysitter or Child Caregiver Safety
Parents should be cautious when leaving children with caregivers or babysitters. You should be sure that the person you choose has the patience and experience to deal with a crying baby.
You can find a licensed Child Care Center or get Child Care Financial Assistance from a center or network associated with the Administration for Children's Services (ACS).
You can also report Child Abuse if you think that your baby's caregiver or babysitter may be abusing or neglecting your child.
Download the Child Safety brochure for tips about keeping children safe.
Picking a Safe Caregiver or Babysitter
When choosing a caregiver or babysitter, you should select someone who:
- Has experience caring for babies and young children
- Is patient and mature enough to care for a fussy, overexcited, or crying baby
- Understands that young children must always be watched
- Will never shake, hit, yell at, make fun of, or keep food from a child as punishment
- Does not abuse alcohol or drugs, or carry a weapon, and will not surround a child with others who may be drinking, using or selling drugs, or carrying weapons
Avoiding a Dangerous Caregiver or Babysitter
There are warning signs of a potentially dangerous caregiver or babysitter. They include someone who is:
- Angry or very impatient when children have tantrums, cry, or misbehave
- Violent or controlling with their partners
- Physically or verbally abusive with children
- An abuser of alcohol and drugs, including marijuana
- Using prescription medications that have bad side effects or make them drowsy
- Not trust-worthy for any reason