SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – There is no law in Georgia that sets the age a child must be to stay home alone, but there are guidelines in place to fill the gaps.
Georgia Division of Family and Children Services guidelines indicate that children under the age of 8 should not be left alone at any time.
Children between the ages of 9 and 12 may not be left alone for more than two hours; older 13-year-olds may be left alone.
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Some exceptions apply:
A child under 13 years of age who demonstrates exceptional maturity may be left alone to care for other children.
An older child with a special illness or disability requires supervision.
What needs to be discussed before leaving a child alone:
- family emergency plan;
- work and cell phone number or carer;
- Access 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 firearm safety, water safety and other potential hazards;
- How long will they be alone?
- How to answer the phone or answer the door safely;
- How does the child feel about being alone?
For more information, see the guidelines here.