When is it okay to leave a child alone? - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

When is it okay to leave a child alone?

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For many parents. leaving their child alone is a daily decision, especially this time of year when school is out for the summer.

"It's just very nerve racking. You worry about your children being home alone," said a mother of four Kendra Wirtz of Poland.

There's no magic age and no set of rules.

Police say when they arrive at a scene, whether it's a car or someone's home, they look to see how the children are doing. Do they appear to be taken care of? Do they have enough food? Are they getting into trouble? Is the home or car a clean and safe place to be?

No situation is the same and the spectrum can run the gamut.

"A couple years ago, I remember I was thinking you're scared to death to leave them alone for even a couple of minutes but, once they start to get to that almost middle school age they can be home alone for a little bit," said a father of three Brendan Considine.

If you're struggling with the decision of whether to leave your kids alone and for how long, Dr. Deirdre Adduci of Restoration Counseling suggests the criteria should be that of a babysitter.

"The child should understand safety procedures. How do they react under pressure? How do they respond to emergency situations?" said Adduci.

She says sometimes a third party, like Safe Sitters, can help parents make that call.

"The gold standard, usually parents look at 13 and above. But you have to look at your child and just see how they respond to situations," said Adduci. "Do they have neighborhood support? Do they feel comfortable calling 911? Are they an independent child?"

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