Can I Leave My Kids Alone?


By DullesMoms, Feb 2024

Tempted to leave your kiddo at home alone? Check out your county’s/city’s suggested guidelines for how long it might be safe to leave a child unsupervised below.

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Fairfax County
Loudoun County
Prince William County
Arlington County
City of Alexandria
Washington, DC


FAIRFAX COUNTY

UP TO AGE 8
Should always be in the care of a responsible person. Children this age should never be left unsupervised in homes, cars, playgrounds, or yards (Source).

AGES 9-10
May be ready to be left unsupervised for up to 1.5 hours during daylight and early evening hours (Source).

AGES 11-12
May be left alone for up to 3 hours during daylight and early evening hours (Source).

AGES 13-15
May be left unsupervised for more than three hours but not overnight (Source).

AGES 16-17
May be left unsupervised overnight for one to two days with a plan in place (Source).


LOUDOUN COUNTY

UP TO AGE 8
Should not be left unsupervised for any period of time (Source).

AGES 9-10
May be ready to be left unsupervised for up to 1.5 hours during daylight and early evening hours (Source).

AGES 11-12
May be left alone for up to 3 hours during daylight and early evening hours (Source).

AGES 13-15
May be left unsupervised for more than three hours but not overnight (Source).

AGES 16-17
May be left unsupervised overnight for one to two days with a plan in place (Source).


PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY

UP TO AGE 8
Should not be left unsupervised for any period of time (Source).

AGES 9-10
Should not be left unsupervised for more than 1.5 hours (Source).

AGES 11-12
Should not be left unsupervised for more than 3 hours (Source).

AGES 13-15
May be left unsupervised all day (Source).

AGES 16-17
May be left unsupervised all night and over the weekend (Source).


ARLINGTON COUNTY

UP TO AGE 8
Should not be left unsupervised for any period of time. This includes leaving children unattended in cars, playgrounds, and yards (Source).

AGES 9-10
Should not be left unsupervised for more than 1.5 hours and only during daylight and early evening hours (Source).

AGES 11-12
May be left alone for up to 3 hours but not late at night or in circumstances requiring adult supervision (Source).

AGES 13-15
May be left unsupervised, but not overnight (Source).

AGES 16-17
May be left unsupervised for up to two consecutive overnight periods (Source).


CITY OF ALEXANDRIA

UP TO AGE 8
Should always be in the care of a responsible person. Children this age should never be left unsupervised in homes, cars, playgrounds, or yards (Source).

AGES 9-10
May be ready to be left unsupervised for up to 1.5 hours during daylight and early evening hours (Source).

AGES 11-12
May be ready to be left unsupervised for up to 3 hours during daylight and early evening hours (Source).

AGES 13-15
May be ready to be left unsupervised for more than three hours but not overnight (Source).

UNDER 16-17
May be ready to be left unsupervised overnight for one to two days with a plan in place (Source).


WASHINGTON, DC

Washington, DC law does not provide age-specific child supervision guidelines; parents are expected to use their own good judgment. However, they do provide some insight into when leaving a child alone can cross the line into neglect.

In general, infants and young children should not be left unsupervised for any period of time. For older children, how long they may be left unsupervised depends on their individual maturity level, and they note that there is a difference between leaving a child or teen at home unsupervised for a couple of hours during the day versus all day, overnight, or for several days. The less time children are left unsupervised, the lower the risk (Source).

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