ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — When parents want to have a night out, they may be wondering at what age can one child be left alone to babysit a younger sibling?
Illinois has some of the strictest laws in the nation when it comes to legally leaving a child home alone, but a new bill in the House aims to change that.
Currently, it is illegal to leave a child under the age of 14 at home alone in Illinois, so a babysitter 13 years old or younger would be against the law.
Parents who do could be found guilty of child neglect, which could result in a year in jail and a fine of $1,000.
But House Bill 4305 would lower the age from 14 to 12.
Illinois’ has the highest minimum age requirements in the country, with 39 states having no set minimum age, leaving the decision up to parents.
Marie Coobes, team manager at the Illinois Childcare Resource Service, told Illinois Policy that every child is different. “There are 12-year-olds who should not be home alone because they can’t be trusted to keep themselves safe. It’s so individual to the child.”
HB 4305 passed in March 2022 but has stalled in the Senate.