Leaving children alone in the house
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- This topic has 40 replies, 16 voices, and was last updated 9 years, 6 months ago by oomis.
September 28, 2008 8:19 pm at 8:19 pm #588375
My sister goes walking in the early morning, leaving her ten year old sleeping (with a cell phone). Is this okay, should I say something?September 28, 2008 9:39 pm at 9:39 pm #990814duvdlParticipant
Say something. Not only is it not safe, it is against the law. If chas v’shalom something should happen, and the police or fire department show up, and find her not home, she could be looking at jail time!
DuvdlSeptember 28, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm #990815MommishMember
She could invest in a treadmill, or walk when her son is in school or when her husband (or another adult) is home. Child Protective Services could remove your nephew from the home for what they see as negligence.September 28, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm #990816
Can you point out to me a site that shows this is the law in NJ, so far I have not found any specific age although they recommend age 12 and up.September 28, 2008 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm #990817
duvdl: not true. ny does not have any set rules as to when a child may be home alone. the c.s.a of new york wont interfere after about 10 (though they advise to wait to 12), since many pediatricians claim that the age of 10 is fine to be left alone. maryland has the age of 8, and connecticut 12.
shindy: have your sister check her local csa (children services administration, or similar state agency) for the guidelines, if such exist. if she cant find them, have her make a call, and get the persons name, time/date of the call, and the personnel number of the representative that she is speaking to. get a definitive answer, and she will be ok, LEGALLY.
as to whether it is smart, it truly all depends on the 10 year old.September 29, 2008 3:26 am at 3:26 am #990818
NO ONE should EVER leave a child who is sleeping alone in the house. By the way,mariner, I know someone in my neighborhood who left her responsible 12 year old babysitting at home, while she an her husband went bowling. Unfortunately, the burglar alarm went off unexpectedly (a loose wire or something), and the daughter did not know the code word for Central Station, so the police showed up. It was a whole mess, and Child Protection Services was called, and the parents had a whole gedilla to rectify the situation. CPS wanted to take the kids out of the home. TWELVE YEARS OLD, in NY. The police said the law is that the sitter must be at least 16 years of age.
Leaving a 10 year old alone is not IMO a criminal act, but it is extremely unwise, especially when the child is sleeping. What if there were an emergency, a fire, chalilah, whatever – what difference would it make that the child has a cell phone? I am with Mommish who suggested she invest in a treadmill. Is it worth risking losing one’s children to CPS and being charged with neglect?September 29, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm #990819
My friend told me the other day that her sister wanted to go to slichos and leave her BABY (~5-6 month old!) home and leave the phone on speaker and asked her sister (my friend) to leave her phone on to use as a moniter! I was sure she refused because it’s unsafe but no! She wanted to go to sleep! I was shocked. Besides for the fact that the phone could get disconnected at any time without notice, what if there is a fire? What if the baby stops breathing? I am aware that these things cannot always be caught even if the mother is home but there is a much greater chance. I don’t have a child yet but I find it hard to understand how a child is not precious enough to a mother to give up her desires for the sake of the child’s safety.September 29, 2008 1:00 pm at 1:00 pm #990820
oomis1105: the police can say what they want, but in ny there is no law of age minimum. if the city did take the kids, it would be a civil suit worth millions. the problem is when the police come, and they see things that may be a danger to the child as well. like, say, the mother left the oven or stove on. use seichel, and tell a child that age, not to open the door even for police, as they technically have no right to enter a house for anything. teach them to ask for warrants at about 10. it is something they can understand.September 29, 2008 6:22 pm at 6:22 pm #990821
wow, I still have trouble leaving my baby alone in the house (she is 17). How can someone who has half a brain leave a baby home alone to go say slichos??? I once read that there was a shul in europe that was waiting for the rov to come say kol nidrea, and he wasn’t coming and they went out to look for him..ends up they found him in someone’s house cradling a baby in his arms. The Rov said I was on my way to shul and I heard a baby crying and wailing. The whole family had gone to shul and left the baby by himself, so I couldn’t just leave him….
I think it is time for all of us, when we see parents being neglectful, to tell them in a nice but firm way that this is not safe! Weren’t enough yiddishe neshamos killed in all the wars and the Holocaust, we have to add to it with such vagrant neglect? One time I was at someone’s house shabbat morning and i noticed that my friend’s blech was sticking out, and very easy for a small child to pull it down, but i kept my mouth shut (for a change) i did not want to boss her around. Sure enough, TWO hours later, her two year old shlepped down the hot blech from the stove and then the baby crawled on it and hatzolah came right away to take them to the burn center. I always regreted not saying anything, boruch Hashem the kids are fine. We must verbally tell people and not be afraid.September 29, 2008 8:11 pm at 8:11 pm #990822
The parents in question had a really horrible experience keeping CPS at bay. They had to rpove they were not unfir parents. Maybe it’s because the burglar alarm went off (thus, the cops had EVERY right to enter the house). In any case, I personally babysat when I was 11 years old. I would never leave an 11 year old babysitting while SLEEPING, though, and I would never leave ANY child alone in the house sleeping, while I went off jopgging, walking, or to daven. The trend among some really UNBELIEVABLY foolish parents to leave the house with a baby monitor on, while (presumably) some other person is within earshot (and lots of young couples in apartment buildings or bungalow have done this), is beyond belief. And judgmental or not (and yes,when it comes to child safety, I am extremely judgmental), this is poor parenting at best, and outright sakana, at worst.October 2, 2008 2:56 am at 2:56 am #990823
Shindy, if you have trouble leaving your 17 year old alone, I think you have a bigger problem than just leaving your child alone. Who did you want to talk to about your sister? The cops?
If the 10 year old knows that he might wake up and Mom will be out, I have no problem with it if the child is mature. As for the infant with the baby monitor that depends on how far away the baby sitter was. Was she next door or down the block?
BTW, for you parents with boys in dorms, you might not want to know who are the “adults” in the dorm. I was horrified to hear that my 18 years old and his friends were the oldest in the dorm-no dorm councelor. I asked him what would he do if there was an emergency? I don’t remeber the answer, but I remember not being happy about it. Then in another son’s dorm, there was a 19 year old dorm concelor, but he liked to hang out with the councelor from the other dorm, across the street.
My 17 year old “baby” left for a dorm this year. I’m sure I will hear in a few years what went on that he would’t tell me at the time. I heard from my other boys AND from my daughter in sem. So…is your baby going to seminary?October 2, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am #990824
This is the response I got to an e-mail I sent to a child service in NJ, asking them if it is okay to leave a child alone.
Although there is no specific law in New Jersey which specifies an age when a child can be left alone at home, left alone overnight, or left to care for other younger children, the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) has extensive policy on the subject.
What are the age, abilities, judgment, general health and developmental level of the child (or oldest child) present in the home? Is it reasonable to expect that a child fitting that description is capable of caring for him/herself and younger children for a limited period of time while a parent is out?
How many children are in the home, without adult supervision? (If there are several young children in the home, the risk is heightened.)
When is the parent expected to return?
How often is the child (ren) left alone at home?
Does the child know how and where to contact the parent, if necessary?
Does the child know to call a neighbor, adult friend, a relative or the local police if necessary, in the absence of the parent?
Is there a home telephone in working order?
Parents/caregivers may want to ask themselves certain questions, to assist them in determining whether the child (ren) is safe while home alone. Example questions may be:
v Is the child mature? Does he or she demonstrate good judgment?
v Can the child respond on his or her own in an emergency?
v Will the child obey my rules during any period of time left alone?
v What time frames am I comfortable with leaving the child alone?
v Is the child fearful of being home alone?
And yes, IY”H I will send my baby to seminary (if she gets in and we can afford the $$$)October 2, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm #990825
if she gets in and we can afford the $$$
Shaindy, Gateshead is about 1/2-1/3 the price of Israel. You don’t get the great Israel experience, but you do get a great education and hashgafa. The “new” sem, BCR, now is good for college credits.
Have nachas from all your children.October 2, 2008 1:40 pm at 1:40 pm #990826
That is good to know that there are alternatives to Israel. My daughter is not interested in Gateshead, she wants to be in Israel. My older daughter went to sem in Israel and she had a great experience there. It is worth the money for my family at least.October 2, 2008 1:55 pm at 1:55 pm #990827
I am not for going away for sem at all, but if it is necessary for whatever reason, I think I would chose a sem outside of israel. I live in Yerushalayim right now and am not so impressed with what I see of the girls in Sem. In Gateshead, they can gain really a lot without all the fun, fun, fun. So if a girl is really serious about going to sem and learning, she won’t mind going to one out of eretz yisroel. Of course if she wants to get a chance to be in Eretz Yisroel and go to the kosel, kevarim etc., why not spend succos there (it’s cheaper to fly there than to the U.S., and she probably will not be desperate to come home just a few weeks after arriving.)October 2, 2008 2:30 pm at 2:30 pm #990828
“I live in Yerushalayim right now and am not so impressed with what I see of the girls in Sem.”
Intellegent, not meaning to come across as a frummy, but this is loshon horah and we are in aseres yemai teshuvah. There are many types of sem and many types of girls, and I don’t know about you but when I was young I wasn’t such a Tzadaikes yet. I have learned to be less judgemental in my old age. gmar tov.October 2, 2008 3:45 pm at 3:45 pm #990829
Who said there is anything wrong with being a “frummy”? That should be a compliment as opposed to an insult. But anyway, about your comment. You’re right, I shouldn’t have said it that way. But once I brought it up, let me clarify. I shouldn’t have made such a blanket statement. There are those girls who come really to learn and stay off the streets (I don’t mean literally; they go to the supermarket etc.) but they don’t go out for ice cream all the time and don’t talk loudly on the buses. Then there are those who, I guess you can negate the previous sentences for them. They do do all the above and more unfortunately. I am not even saying that I would not have acted that way. They obviously don’t realize. Most of them are good girls who just don’t get that they are living in a regular city where everyone is living a regular day to day life while they are in a sort of camp setting except in middle of a regular neighborhood. So, as I said, this should not be taken as loshon horah on a whole group, but on certain individuals who you (and even I) do not know who they are. So, why am I bringing this up? Because most girls in sems here, have more opportunities for “fun”. I in no way have anything against fun. I think it’s very important. But you have to seriously consider what the purpose of your daughter’s year is here. Fun? Or learning? Growing? Or all of the above?
You say you weren’t such a tzadeikes at that age yet. Well neither was I and don’t htink I am a tzadeikes right now either. Maybe when I am your age I will be one! (I am MUCH closer to the sem girls age than to your age, by the way, so I can probably remember what it’s like better than you can. Besides for that, I’m sure you know more than me. I hope I didn’t come across as someone who thinks she knows it all. I didn’t mean to.)October 2, 2008 5:28 pm at 5:28 pm #990830
My girls have been working very VERY hard for four years of high school, and if they want to go to Israel I am all for it. They are actually very academic types and go to the more serious learning sems. I would prefer that they go to Israel and CHILL and yes have fun! When they come home, it’s already shidduch time and the pressure is on, let them have a year to relax and enjoy, but my girls like to work hard so they go to the sems that are more pressured. I leave it to them to decide.
As far as the kids speaking loud on the bus, this is a matter of tznius, and I know many adult women who talk loudly on their cell phones, but listen, we have no control over these things we can only work on ourselves.
I know nothing about the sems in gateshead but I am sure the girls there want to have fun and some may have more fun than is necessary but they are KIDS. As long as they are following the rules and not being kicked out. The girls nowadays are so stressed out, they have to be perfect and modest and say tehillim all day and learn shmiras haloshon and cook and clean for ima and they must be beautiful and size zero, GO TO ISRAEL AND CHILL OUT FOR THE YEAR!!!! Be yourself and crazy and wild and have fun, fun FUN! this is the time in their life for this!!!October 2, 2008 7:31 pm at 7:31 pm #990831Yanky55Participant
You should not need to ask the question of whether to say anything to your sister, on
this site or ask any authorities.
Common sense dictates that leaving a 10 year old sleeping alone is outright dangerous and irresponsible. As others have pointed out, will a cell phone awake the child in case of a fire C”V?October 2, 2008 7:44 pm at 7:44 pm #990832
Reb Yankyl, I asked my sister and she has working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on all floors of the house. So that would wake the child up. Personally, I would not leave a ten year old alone sleeping, but it seems people feel differently than we do. and it’s not against the law either.October 2, 2008 8:11 pm at 8:11 pm #990833SJSinNYCMember
Is ten really so young? When I was six, I was able to walk one mile from my house to my best friend’s house. I guess it would depend on the child – is he responsible?
Shindy, I agree with you on the year of fun. Sometimes, people forget that life is about LIVING (obviously while keepin the mitzvos), not just learning about what you cannot do in life.October 2, 2008 9:27 pm at 9:27 pm #990834
“Is ten really so young? When I was six, I was able to walk one mile from my house to my best friend’s house. I guess it would depend on the child – is he responsible?”
SJS, the child is responsible but SLEEPING so that is what gets me nervous. but to each his own. as long as a child is taught what to do in case of an emergency. and working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in case of fire. hopefully a burgler won’t come breaking into the house. now i am getting a little paranoid.
I doubt nowadays anyone would let a six year old walk one mile to a friend’s house, with all the stories of kidnapping going on.October 2, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm #990835
Well, I am happy to report with all my nudging my sister has agreed to talk with her kid and to check the carbon monoxide detector. hurray!October 2, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm #990836SJSinNYCMember
Shindy, I grew up in Monsey when times were safe. I realize its not what I would do now, but ten seems old enough (especially compared to what I was allowed to do at 6) to me…but again, depends on the child.October 3, 2008 4:26 am at 4:26 am #990837
Times have changed, we live in a very dangerous world (even in heilegeh Monsey), and there is no such thing as SAFELY leaving a young child alone. If G-d forbid a fire broke out, guaranteed if the child survived, he would be removed from the home and the parents would be the subject of every news report.October 3, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am #990838
I agree with you oomis1105October 5, 2008 2:30 am at 2:30 am #990839
Actually, I read in the October issue of Reader’s Digest (sorry, I do read things besides the Jewish papers) that acording to police records, violence by strangers against children is down to the level it was in the 70s. What has changed is the hype by the media i.e. radio, internet etc. This causes the level of paranoia to increase. You have to use sense, but you can’t make yourself or your kids too crazy.
BTW, to those that are very paranoid or controling about where there children are, how do you send a child to sem in Israel when in most sems from Friday afternoon until Sunday, the sem has only the girl’s word where she is? I’m not judging, but I’ve always wondered.October 5, 2008 5:14 am at 5:14 am #990840havesomeseichelMember
I dont know about the seminaries where your children went, but some seminaries require girls to put in names, addresses and phone numbers where they can be reached (and not cell phone numbers!) and if they find out that the girl went to a different place, they can get in trouble…
By the way- if you do not trust your daughter when she is legally (in the USA) an adult, when can you? At 18 they can get married without your permission, vote, enlist in the army…. If your daughter cannot be trusted at this time, I think there is deeper issues going on here. Maybe the mother is too attatched and cant let her daughter grow up or maybe the daughter is rebellious and needs help sorting that out.
Also, about the crime issue…. While that may be according to the reader’s digest, i tend not to believe 100% what they say and hold that children should be watched more carefully then in previous generations. in the 70s there were a lot of crimes occuring… now what about when the baby-boomers were growing up? Yes, there is a lot of media hype as people now have access to more news sources, but still- crime has risen over the decades.October 5, 2008 5:37 am at 5:37 am #990841bein_hasdorimParticipant
shindy: Its not OK!
Not every parent is such a maiven on their kids,
like they think they are!
Also not every possible scenario is considered by parents
(wanting to leave, they will justify it as responsible)
& you should intervene!
When bad things happen people always say
“how could the parents do such a thing?”
but beforehand, “it’s ok, Nish Geferlich!”
only if one truly considers that something bad might happen
will they rethink their decision.October 5, 2008 6:50 am at 6:50 am #990842
the issue of a fire arising, it is irrelevant if parents are home or not. if the child can get out safely, the child will. in most fires where there is an unfortunate child death, the parents cannot get to the child. the proper thing is to have fire drills at 2 in the morning, alarm and all. teach the children how to get out of the house fast. no getting dressed, no looking for other family members, just get out. parents have to learn that it is repetition that saves lives. you can have a monkey baby sitting, if the child knows how to get out, he or she will. and if the parents are not home, and a fire breaks out, unless the fire was started in a questionable manner, the government will not take away the kids, as they cant in most states. a fire breaking out, technically if a child is 10 or 16 or 20, besides having the guts to jump out a window, there is not much differance, or much an adult in the house can do.October 5, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am #990843
“how do you send a child to sem in Israel when in most sems from Friday afternoon until Sunday, the sem has only the girl’s word where she is? I’m not judging, but I’ve always wondered.”
Just me….FIRST of all, this girl is not a “child”, she is eighteen and probably has her license and is entitled to vote for president.
SECOND of all, it’s shabbos, where do you think the girl is going? Do you expect the seminaries to keep them chained to the bed and report to them when they are going to use the facilities?
THIRD of all, if the seminary finds that a girl is breaking rules, like going to the beach for shabbos and doing dangerous things, she will find herself on the next plane home, sans the money you paid for seminary.December 2, 2013 1:01 pm at 1:01 pm #990844
Children aren’t people, so they must be kept supervised in cages.December 2, 2013 3:53 pm at 3:53 pm #990845HaLeiViParticipant
Children are as responsible as you allow them to be. Ten used to be responsible, now 24 is too young.December 2, 2013 3:53 pm at 3:53 pm #990846writersoulParticipant
rebyidd: so THAT’s why they send us to school…December 2, 2013 3:55 pm at 3:55 pm #990847
Yes.December 2, 2013 9:19 pm at 9:19 pm #990848RedlegParticipant
Strongly urge all posters to look up Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy (she happens to be frum)December 2, 2013 9:33 pm at 9:33 pm #990849
A ten year old may be very responsible (I babysat at that age, during the daytime), or might him/herself be in need of a babysitter. But no matter how responsible, in my personal opinion a ten year old should not be left alone in the house when he or she is not awake.December 2, 2013 9:50 pm at 9:50 pm #990850
But for a ten year old a dog is sufficient protection.December 2, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm #990851Gryffindorable GirlMember
This ten year old is now fifteen. I think at this point he can stay sleeping home aloneDecember 2, 2013 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm #990852
There are other ten-year-olds now.December 4, 2013 12:32 am at 12:32 am #990853
Not everyone has a dog, and a dog cannot tella 10 year old the right thing to do in an emergency. Suppose there is a carbon monoxide buildup, the CM detectors are not working and the dog AND the boy are overcome, ebcause they were both sleeping. Clearly the mom is up, she went out to walk. A kid of age 10 should not be left alone unless he is awake and aware, IMO. And then, only if he is a responsible kid. And DEFINITELY not when there are younger children home also.
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