At What Age in Massachusetts Can You Legally Leave Kids Home Alone?
Growing up in Berkshire County my dad worked the second shift and my mother worked in the school system, so it was on a regular basis that I would get home from school before my parents arrived at the door. My brother is about 8 1/2 years older than me so it was like having a built-in babysitter, for the most part, at our Berkshire County home. However, there were times when he would be tied up with high school, friends, driving, working, etc. and as a result, I would be home alone for about 30 minutes before my mother came through the door. It was around age 10 or 11 that I started staying home alone.
Right around the time that it was okay for me to start staying home alone, I adopted my brother's paper route since he had picked up other work. I lived on Cady Street in North Adams and I would deliver newspapers in the afternoons immediately after school (at about 3:15/3:30 p.m.) for the North Adams Transcript in neighborhoods by the North Adams hospital including Liberty Street, Hospital Ave, Orchard Terrace, and so on. I had approximately 30 customers. I loved the holiday season as I would get great tips from some of the customers. So, being home alone wasn't a big deal to me. It actually gave me a sense of freedom. Plus, I was making money as a youngster.
You may be wondering if there is an actual minimum age in Massachusetts that kids can legally stay home alone. The answer is: there isn't. According to mass.gov, Massachusetts doesn't set a specific age at which a child can be left home alone. In Massachusetts, such issues are decided on a case-by-case basis. As a matter of fact, according to one of our Townsquare Media sister stations, The Shark (thanks for the content inspiration), none of the states in New England legally set a specific age at which a child can be left home alone.
As mentioned above, it's a case-by-case basis and I have seen recommendations where 12 is the age that parents can start leaving their kids home alone (only for 30 minutes or less) but obviously, that is up to the specific household.
So there you have it, there isn't an official law in Massachusetts regarding the minimum age kids can be left home alone.
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