Deborah Greenhouse, M.D.

Determining the right age to leave a child at home alone is a challenging decision for any parent, especially at the end of a school year as summer vacation begins.

According to Deborah Greenhouse, M.D., Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital pediatrician with Palmetto Pediatric and Adolescent Clinic, the age for leaving a child at home varies greatly from child to child because of a number of factors, including the child’s maturity and ability to handle responsibility.

A child younger than 9 years old should not be left home alone, even for a short period of time. At approximately 10 years old, a child who is responsible may be left for 30 minutes, but no longer than one hour. During this time, the child should be able to keep in contact with a parent. Greenhouse suggests using common-sense guidelines and establishing a well-defined set of ground rules.

Read the full story from Prisma Health, where she details those guidelines and rules that can help a parent make the right decision.

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