University of Illinois Extension
a guide to the business of babysitting
 

Frequently Asked Questions

Legal Age for BabySitting

Question: "What is or where do I find out "What is the legal age of a babysitter or the age of a child to be left unattended in the state of Florida?"

Response: Fourteen (14) is an appropriate age for babysitting. Be certain to check if your state has specific requirements. Otherwise here are a few more things to consider when thinking about becoming a babysitter: babysitters need to be mature, responsible, able to react effectively in case of an emergency, and have an awareness of young children's needs (developmentally). Be sure to discuss this issue further with your parents.

Contact your local Red Cross or Child Welfare Agency to find out what specific requirements apply to your area.

You may want to check out a few more web sites to help in preparing for babysitting.

In Illinois, the Department of Children and Family Services indicates that there is no age specified in law for "babysitting" per se. However, age 14 is when children can be left unattended for a reasonable amount of time. This means the person left in charge has to be mature and in good enough physical and mental condition to be home alone. They need to have good telephone, personal safety, and good home safety skills. Otherwise, the parents can be held responsible for leaving their children without adequate supervision (especially if something goes wrong).

Refer to the following URL for an article published by Extension on the topic of children staying home alone: http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/grandparents/0105a.html