Stepmother Criticized for Leaving 5-Year-Old Home Alone Without Babysitter

Gillian Sisley

This viral Reddit post sheds light on an important issue of child safety.

It is a serious crime to leave each small child unattended at home without supervision. Every state in the United States has laws that specifically make leaving a child home alone without supervision illegal. That said, there are several factors that come into play.

Separate states have different definitions as to what the minimum age requirement is for leaving a child home alone. For example, in Illinois it is 14 years old, in Oregon it is 10 years old, and in Maryland it's 8 years old.

Overall it is a generally agreed-upon age in the US that children under the age of 7 cannot be left home alone for any period of time. To do so can very well justify intervention from child services to ensure that that young child is properly protected and taken care of in the future.

When do you know if a child is ready to be left home alone?

As mentioned above, there are many factors taken into account when deciding whether or not a child should be left alone. Several of these factors include the age of the child, the maturity of the child, and special emergency circumstances.

That said, there are also cases that are fairly cut and dry, and a recently viral Reddit post has caught the attention of online users as an example of when a child is not ready to be left alone. The viral post, which has collected 21,600 upvotes and 2,600 comments, was published by user u/RoomNum991 on January 18th.

The woman describes how her sister has a 5-year-old stepson, and it had become routine for the stepmother to find a babysitter for her stepson every Monday morning.

The author explains that her sister's regular babysitter was out of town and so she was asked to babysit the child. The author said she couldn't help, and went on with her day.

However, things took a turn when the author's brother-in-law called asking where his wife was. The author said she had no idea, and the brother-in-law proceeded to tell the author that he had come home at 1:00 p.m. and found his 5-year-old son all by himself in the house.

The law is clear when it comes to child safety.

In 2017 alone, 4.1 million reports of child maltreatment were made in the US involving more than 7.5 million children. And approximately 674,000 children of that number were victims of maltreatment.

Data shows that a child is abused or neglected every 47 seconds in America—which makes for 1,844 each day. A number of these children will then be removed from their homes and separated from their families. Children are only taken from their homes when it is believed that they are in serious danger of harm or being mistreated.

The author of the viral Reddit post stated that after the call with her brother-in-law, the stepmother yelled at her for not babysitting her nephew. The stepmother was also angry because she had lied to her husband and said that her sister was home with the child. The stepmother accused the author of being selfish and causing issues in her marriage by explaining the situation to the husband.

What's worse is that the author is saying that her sister has turned the rest of her family against her, believing that the author is to blame for not helping out by being a babysitter.

What do you think? Was the author justified in being honest with her brother-in-law about the situation? Or should she have covered up for her sister when the 5-year-old child was left home alone?

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