NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Summer is upon us, and for most children school is out for the year. Many parents have already secured placement in summer programs and activities for their children. However, there are times when parents must decide if their child is old enough and responsible enough to be left home alone. The decision is not always an easy one.
The following standards from the Nellis AFB Youth Supervision Policy can assist parents living in base housing and the local community with information to determine the appropriate age at which a child can be left alone or baby-sit. Failure to adhere to these standards could result in a suspected case of child neglect, which must be evaluated through the Family Advocacy Program, and possibly a referral made to the local Nevada Division of Child and Family Services.
The Nellis AFB Supervision Policy states:
a. Children 9 years old or younger should not be left alone. This includes not leaving children alone in cars.
b. Children 10 to 11 years old, based on level of maturity, may be left alone for less than two hours, periods of time.
c. Children 12 years and older, who are at an adequate level of maturity, may be left alone and perform the role of babysitter, as authorized by the parent, for up to 12 hours.
d. No children younger than 15 or below the sophomore grade in high school may be left alone overnight.
Make sure the child knows:
• Emergency plan for the family.
• Parent’s phone numbers, work, home and cell.
• The availability of the parent during the time the child will be alone or babysitting.
• Environmental risk factors such as, dangerous neighborhoods, bad weather conditions.
• Environmental plus factors such as supportive and available neighbors.
e. It may not be advisable to leave an older child who has a special condition or disability alone. These situations are judged on a case-by-case basis.
f. Remember to have a conversation and ongoing dialogue with your child about being home alone to assess his or her feelings and level of confidence.
Most importantly, parents should strive to use good judgment to ensure the safety of their children.
If you have any questions concerning this information, contact the family advocacy program at (702) 653-3880.