When Can You Legally Leave a Child Unattended in Maryland?

daughter icon

daughter iconMost of us know it is simply common sense not to leave a young child unattended.

But did you know Maryland has a specific law on this subject?

Did you know Maryland provides an exact age requirement for leaving children unattended? Do you know what that age is?

You should!

Eight is the Magic Number

Maryland law specifically requires that a child be at least eight years old before you may leave them unattended.

This law applies to a child left in any building, dwelling, or enclosure. It includes any motor vehicle (which would include things like RV’s, campers or mobile homes).

What Does “Unattended” Mean?

Unattended means “out of sight” in the specific words of the statute. So, you must have a line of sight to any building or motor vehicle if a child is in there unattended.

The law also says a child is not “unattended” if they are in the care of another child at least 13 years old. This means 13 is the minimum age for a babysitter in Maryland.

It also means you cannot leave your 10 year old watching your 5 year old. In that case, your 10 year old is not unattended, but your 5 year old is an unattended child because your 10 year old is not old enough to provide proper supervision.

Maryland takes this very seriously. A violation of this law is a criminal misdemeanor and punishable by up to 30 days in jail.

Other Considerations

Even if your child is over eight years old, it may not be a good idea to leave them alone.

They must be emotionally mature enough to be left alone. They also must be responsible and trustworthy. They must also know what to do in the event of an emergency.

Every parent will need to decide that for themselves and their own child.

The Maryland Department of Human Resources has a great brochure you can read with tips on things to consider before you leave your child unattended. 

Conclusion & Next Steps

Nobody wants Child protective services showing up at their house. Make sure you know the minimum age to leave a child unattended so this never happens to you.

Want to know more? Discover what you need to know about your legal issue in Maryland. Click here to see our Free Legal Guides and get answers to your questions today.

Know your options. Be informed. Protect yourself.

Need an attorney? Please contact us for a consultation today if you need an experienced lawyer for your legal case. 

Like our blog? Subscribe to our email newsletter and stay informed! 

daughter icon

About Southern Maryland Law

 

Andrews, Bongar, Gormley & Clagett is one of the oldest and largest law firms in Southern Maryland. We have been serving clients here for over 50 years. 

 

We have more attorneys and a larger staff than most other local law firms, so we can handle a wider variety of legal matters. Each attorney concentrates his or her practice in a few key areas, so you can be assured of the expertise you need.

 

But we are not so big that we forget about personal service! Your legal matter is unique, and requires a personalized approach. We will always remember that. If you have a legal issue, contact us today to schedule your consultation.