At What Age Can a Child Be Left Home Alone?

Do you remember how old you were when you stopped needing a babysitter? It is common for parents to question how old their children should be before leaving them home alone. Children vary in intellect, maturity, and emotional intelligence, so no one situation is the same. One 10 year old might be perfectly capable of being left alone for a few hours, while another in comparison might not.

So which age constitutes child neglect? If you are wondering what age is an appropriate age to be left unsupervised, continue reading to learn what social workers, pediatricians, and other parents like yourself are saying.

Indiana Child Injury Lawyers 317-881-2700
Indiana Child Injury Lawyers 317-881-2700

Social Workers

According to a survey given to 485 members of the National Association of Social Workers, the majority of social workers surveyed agreed that 12 years old is generally a safe age to be left unsupervised. However, a small percentage of social workers suggested that leaving a 12 year old home alone would be child neglect, while an even smaller percentage thought leaving a 14 year old home alone would also be negligent. In the same group of social workers surveyed, almost all agreed that 6 years old was too young to be left home alone, 83% agreed that 8 years old was too young, and 10% thought 10 years old was too young.


Dr. Charles Jennissen, a clinical professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, suggests that 12 years old is an acceptable age to leave a child unsupervised for a short amount of time. According to him, “Every child is different, of course, and every situation may be different, but overall these social workers say that kids really shouldn’t be home alone under the age of at least 12.” He went on to say, ““I think in that 10- to 12-year age, depending on your child and so forth, one can start thinking about whether it’s OK or not to leave them home alone (…) it depends a lot on the situation. (…) Some kids may not be developmentally ready to be home alone for certain periods or they may have health concerns that make being left unsupervised a bad idea.”

According to Dr. Suzanne Haney, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Child Abuse and Neglect and the division chief of child abuse pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, “I certainly agree that 12 years of age and up for the most part, depending on how they are developmentally, is probably OK, but there also are 12-year-olds who are not able to handle it (…) so it’s really hard to give a safe age because of all the factors that play into it. We have lots of kids who have learning disabilities or cognitive disabilities or behavioral issues and they may be 14 and they’re not safe.”

Read Original Article From NBC News, here.

Negligent Supervision Laws in Indiana

Most states do not have laws that govern leaving a child home alone. However, all states have negligent supervision laws, which might limit when and when you cannot leave a child home alone. Furthermore, these laws govern the limit to whom you can leave your child in the supervision of, and to what extent. You see, anyone appointed the responsibility of caring for the safety and well-being of a minor (under the age of 18) also has a legal duty of care. If someone in a similar role neglects this duty of care in a way that causes a minor harm, they can be held legally responsible for the damages and losses suffered at the hands of the victim, and perhaps even their extended families. See our blog, “Defining “Duty of Care” in a Personal Injury Lawsuit” to learn more about your duty of care.

Was Your Child Left Unattended in a Negligent Way?

Ultimately, it comes down to your best judgement as a parent. Not only must you decide when your child is ready to be left home alone, you must also decide who is qualified to look after your child in your absence. If you believe your child was injured as a result of negligent supervision, whether with a teacher, daycare, babysitter, or friend, contact an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer to discuss your case and the best strategies for recovering compensation for your and your child’s damages and losses.

Indianapolis Child Injury Lawyers

Call Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 to schedule a free consultation with our licensed Indianapolis child injury lawyers who can determine the best strategies for your child injury lawsuit. Not only does our law firm offer free consultations, we never collect lawyer fees unless we prevail for you! Call 317-881-2700 to get started on your financial recovery, today.  We represent injured persons throughout Indiana.

Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers 317-881-2700
Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers 317-881-2700

How to Make a Personal Injury Claim for Your Child

Children are prone to an overabundance of accidents and injuries, such as day care injuries, car accidents, playground accidents, swimming pool accidents, and more. Since the law recognizes that children lack the mature judgment that adults typically have, it provides a separate set of rules and requirements when it comes to making a personal injury claim for minors. This means that the claim process is not the same as it would be for an adult.

If your child was recently injured in an accident, be sure you are aware of your rights as a parent of an injured child, as well as, the rights your child has as an injured victim. This can help you pursue a claim for compensation. Continue reading to learn more about personal injury claims for children, including the primary differences in law and where to get started.

Child Injury Lawyers

Indiana Child Injury Lawyers 317-881-2700

Child Injuries and Accident Claims

Most states provide laws that give children essentially the same rights to compensation as they do adults for accidents that involve personal injury. Although these laws differ from state to state, children injured negligently in accidents can pursue compensation for pain, suffering, permanent disability, and more, and parents may be eligible to receive compensation for medical bills and any other related expenses on the child’s behalf. Under such laws, parents and legal guardians are permitted to negotiate or file on behalf of their children as well.

When it comes to making a personal injury claim for your child, the best course of action is to contact a licensed Indianapolis child injury attorney as soon as possible to learn everything you need to know about your potential case. As mentioned, there are some key differences in laws and procedures for child injury claims, which can make it challenging for you to understand without professional counsel.

For instance, the statutes of limitations for making a personal injury claim is much longer for child cases than it is for adult cases. Additionally, courts recognize that child injury lawsuits are delicate and complicated, so they oversee these types of cases more carefully than they would otherwise because they are looking out for the best interests of the child.

Furthermore, courts must approve all settlements in child injury cases. They know that rewarded compensation can potentially be misspent by parents or guardians. So they will sometimes order for the compensation to be put into a safe investment or account until the child reaches adulthood. Then once a minor turns 18, they are either given full access to the funds or structured payouts.

Key Questions to Ask Regarding Your Child’s Accident

Here are some important questions to ask yourself when making a personal injury claim for your child’s accident:

“Why Did My Child Get Hurt?”

✏ “How Did My Child’s Injury Happen?”

✏ “Who Was Responsible for My Child When He or She was Injured?”

✏ “Could the Accident Have Been Prevented?”

Indianapolis Child Injury Lawyers You Can Trust

Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers 317-881-2700

Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers 317-881-2700

Call The Law Office of Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 for help with child accident injury claims in Indianapolis, Indiana and its surrounding counties. Our child injury attorneys are well-versed in the tactics used by opposing parties to try and avoid liability in such accidents. We have prevailed for numerous child injury victims, and can do the same for you. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.

Who is Liable for Driveway Backup Accidents?

Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers 317-881-2700

Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers 317-881-2700

Driveway backup accidents occur when a child is playing in the driveway, and a person unknowingly backs out of the driveway in their vehicle, causing serious injury or death to the child. Whether the gear was shifted into neutral and the vehicle rolls backwards, or the driver just didn’t see the child behind their car, some form of negligence is usually to blame.

The most common people involved in such accidents are homeowners, relatives, friends, and neighbors, since they are the ones most likely to be parked in or near the home of the child. But who is actually liable for driveway backup accidents? The guardians? The homeowners? The driver? Because such accidents vary in detail, assigning liability is not always so clear cut.

Guardians and Negligent Supervision

In most cases of driveway backup accidents involving child injuries, it is either the driver or the child’s guardian (parent, nanny, relative, sitter, etc.) who’s legally held responsible for any injuries or damages caused to the child. Under Tort law, parents or guardians can be considered guilty of negligent supervision, which occurs when a person is in charge of monitoring a child fails to do so, resulting in severe injuries or wrongful death to the child.

In the case that a child shifts a vehicle out of gear causing it to back over another child in the driveway, it can be the owners of the vehicle and the property who are alleged liable for the damages. These cases are tricky since it can also be the parents of the victim who are responsible for the accident.

Manufacturer Defects

Sometimes, the manufacturer of a vehicle can be held liable in driveway backup accidents. For example, if a vehicle is equipped with defective backup cameras and sensors that failed to sense a child behind it, and as a result a child was seriously injured or killed in a driveway backup accident, it could be a product liability case in which the manufacturer of the vehicle could be held responsible for the accident and subsequent injuries and losses to the family.

Criminal Action

Although rare, criminal action can be taken against the person or party responsible. They can possibly be charged with vehicular assault or involuntary manslaughter, depending on the circumstance of the case and the state in which the accident took place. Often times, a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit is filed instead to collect compensation for hospital bills, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.

Indianapolis Child Injury Lawyers

Personal Injury Lawyers Indiana

Personal Injury Lawyers Indiana 317-881-2700

Call Craven, Hoover, and Blazek P.C. at 317-881-2700 if your child was negligently injured in Indiana. Our seasoned personal injury attorneys, Daniel Craven, Ralph Hoover, and Keith Blazek, have extensive trial and litigation experience and can recover the full and fair compensation you deserve to get your life back to a functional state. And we do not collect attorney fees unless we recover for you! Call 317-881-2700 to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our Indianapolis child injury lawyers, today.