Legal Babysitting Age By State 2020

The “correct” or “minimum” age to let someone start babysitting is a subjective matter. Factors such as the age and maturity levels of the child or children who need care and the maturity level of the babysitter providing the care are important to consider, as well as the amount of care required by the child or children who need care. This includes the number of hours and any special care the child or children require.

Most states do not have laws specifying an age requirement for babysitting, and only some have guidelines for how old a child should be before they are left home alone. These guidelines range from six to 14 years. Below is a list of states with this guideline:

  • Alabama: 12*
  • Arkansas: 12*
  • Colorado: 12*
  • Delaware: 12*
  • Georgia: 9*
  • Illinois: 14
  • Kansas: 6*
  • Maryland: 8
  • Michigan: 10*
  • Nebraska: 7*
  • New Hampshire: 10*
  • North Carolina: 8
  • North Dakota: 9*
  • Oklahoma: 7*
  • Tennessee: 10*
  • Washington: 10*

*Age listed is the recommended minimum age that a child may be left home alone in place of a required/legally specified minimum age.

The rest is ultimately a judgment call of the parents of both the children needing care and the parents of the child wanting to babysit. Age, maturity level, and experience with younger children are all important factors, as well as first aid training. Babysitters need to understand safety and how to respond if an emergency arises.

The American Red Cross offers babysitting and child care courses designed to prepare those taking the course with universal skills and techniques that every babysitter should have. These courses are available online for those who prefer to learn on their own time or as an in-person class with access to highly-skilled instructors and in-class activities. These courses cover basic care for infants and children, basic first aid, child behavior, emergency protocols, leadership, and age-appropriate activities. Red Cross also offers first aid and CPR/AED certification courses.

Further preparation aside from formal training is also essential. Children can ask to help a friend watch a younger sibling or volunteer to be a parent’s helper for a relative or neighbor with young children. Those hiring a younger sitting should ask the sitter to arrive earlier so that they can give the sitter a tour of their home, provide emergency numbers, and explain any house rules or special needs of their children being cared for.

Legal Babysitting Age By State 2020

Source:
State 2020 Pop.
Alabama4,908,620
Alaska734,002
Arizona7,378,490
Arkansas3,039,000
California39,937,500
Colorado5,845,530
Connecticut3,563,080
Delaware982,895
District of Columbia720,687
Florida21,993,000
Georgia10,736,100
Hawaii1,412,690
Idaho1,826,160
Illinois12,659,700
Indiana6,745,350
Iowa3,179,850
Kansas2,910,360
Kentucky4,499,690
Louisiana4,645,180
Maine1,345,790
Maryland6,083,120
Massachusetts6,976,600
Michigan10,045,000
Minnesota5,700,670
Mississippi2,989,260
Missouri6,169,270
Montana1,086,760
Nebraska1,952,570
Nevada3,139,660
New Hampshire1,371,250
New Jersey8,936,570
New Mexico2,096,640
New York19,440,500
North Carolina10,611,900
North Dakota761,723
Ohio11,747,700
Oklahoma3,954,820
Oregon4,301,090
Pennsylvania12,820,900
Rhode Island1,056,160
South Carolina5,210,100
South Dakota903,027
Tennessee6,897,580
Texas29,472,300
Utah3,282,120
Vermont628,061
Virginia8,626,210
Washington7,797,100
West Virginia1,778,070
Wisconsin5,851,750
Wyoming567,025