How Old Does a Kid Have to Be to Legally Stay Home Alone in Texas?
When I was a kid, I'd beg my parents to stay home alone while they ran errands or went on dates. I'm pretty sure they stopped dragging me everywhere with them when I was about 10 or 11 years old. I didn't stay alone overnight and I was always instructed to keep the doors locked and not to answer the landline if anyone called.
So how old does a child actually have to be to stay home alone in Texas legally?
You may be surprised to learn that Texas doesn't actually have any laws against what age a child must be before they can be left unsupervised at home. However, the child's caregiver is still 100 percent responsible for whatever may occur while they're away from the premises, specifically if they're under the age of 15 and something bad happens to them.
Under Texas Penal Code 22.041(b), a person commits an offense if, having custody, care, or control of a child younger than 15 years, he or she intentionally abandons the child in any place under circumstances that expose the child to an unreasonable risk of harm.
Additionally, there's child endangerment charges that could be leveled against parents when it comes to kids under 15.
Under Texas Penal Code 22.041(c), a person commits child endangerment if he or she intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or omission, engages in conduct that places a child younger than 15 years in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.
Okay, what about leaving a child alone in the car while you grocery shop?
You're permitted to leave children under the age of 7 in a vehicle unsupervised for no more than 5 minutes. If they're accompanied by another sibling or someone who is at least 14 years of age, they're allowed to remain in the vehicle for longer.
I don't know about you guys, but I was definitely chilling in the car while my mom was in Walmart when I was about 8 years old and it's probably pretty lucky for her nothing bad happened. I was very interested in pushing buttons and getting in the driver's seat to play pretend. I don't know how much of a difference there is between 7 and 8 years old, but I was definitely still an idiot who probably should have been dragged through the store instead.
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