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“Children under ten years of age shall not be left home alone” [pdf] (ri.us)
23 points by protomyth on Jan 26, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 25 comments

I wonder what the reasoning is for this. In Maryland kids can stay home alone at 8, and I've never heard of problems with that. Requiring supervision until 12 seems extremely restrictive. Kids alone by themselves learn responsibility, and parents need time without their kids so they can recharge.

As a parent of young kids, I'm looking forward to when they reach that age. I'd be awfully depressed if Maryland made this change.

I get that sponsors of the bill are trying to protect young children from neglect. The motivation is good. The one-size-fits-all solution is poorly thought out.

My issue with this bill is the penalty for parents who leave a 9yo alone for a few minutes to pick up food, milk, help a neighbor down the street, etc. As someone pointed out last night in a FB group of parents in my community, are the kids better off in the foster care system while the parents fight an expensive, time-consuming battle with Child Services? There has to be a better way than a human purse-seine technique.

This is a poorly thought out bill. The problem of children being left for long periods unattended requires multiple solutions for the different "use cases" for lack of a better expression. At the least, we have parents who pursue drug habits and the like, are immature, and ones who are stuck on 3rd shift jobs with no support system to watch the kids. These different populations require different solutions.

Its a legal minefield because some parents are getting arrested for not supervising "baby sitting age" girls.

And with teen pregnancy you can end up in weird scenarios like a mom with her toddler legally requiring a grandparent, technically.

I've seen some writings that its a pretty effective weapon against people of the wrong demographic. The same crazy cat lady who files HOA complaints for having the wrong species of daisy in the flowerbed will hover over the neighborhood's jews or blacks or whatever she doesn't like, until she sees a kid alone in the backyard long enough to snap a picture, then CPS is called in. Its not that we don't like section 8 people, or republicans, or whatever, its just that we don't like unsupervised kids, you see.

I've also seen writings that in some municipalities this is the only way to handle barking dogs.

More context: http://reason.com/blog/2016/01/26/rhode-island-children-unde...

It's just a proposed bill though (aka, journalist bait).

A little naive, IMO. Parents don't actually have freedom and flexibility because they are constantly watched by paranoid neighbors on a hair trigger for any possible sign of abuse. When the government creates a rule like this, it actually enhances parental freedom by officially declaring that leaving your kids alone is OK. Personally I'd like to see the age limit a little lower, but this is great news for parents.

And now the paranoid neighbors have clear rule to stand on if the kid is under 10. Gray areas go both ways.

We usually talk about "the nanny state" in a general derogatory way about the government interfering with and micro managing people's lives.

This is a specific instance of a government literally being a nanny. Sad.

I find it difficult to relate to someone who could hold this opinion. It may be a feature of not being a parent.. But how helpless exactly do grownups think kids are?

Beyond the age of 5, maybe 6, a child is surely more than capable of independent living for several days? They should be able to handle their bodily functions, feed themselves, keep themselves entertained with books and/or TV and/or the internet, play outside with their friends and cycle around (slightly depending on the living arrangement and distances involved), commute to school, get their homework done etc.?

I remember being home alone for days going on weeks during early school years, if my parents were out of town/out of country. 20-45-minute commute of walking+subway (/metro/underground) is still the norm for everyone at my (then) primary school starting from first grade.

I'm curious - did you live in the US during that part of your childhood?

I did, in a rural area in Arkansas. I was probably 12 or 13 before I was left home alone for longer than a few minutes.

A nordic capital, 1mil population, old-style city centre. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stadsplanesystem.jpg (1st picture). 15 minutes walk to central railway station connecting (kind of) to the rest of the world.

I'd say the independent/free play-area radius extends beyond the inside yard sometime between 4 and 5, by 10 kids would be cycling all over the city by themselves. Most would walk 10-15 mins to their kindergardens themselves (?) from about the age of 5.

I wouldn't consider this an outlier, and my family wasn't particularly laissez-faire. Many friends would go cycle-touring or interrailing in Europe between 15 and 20. Doing a solo interrail in Europe for a month is a culturally established "rite-of-passage", although people will usually wait till they turn 18 to go alone.

Ah, then that explains it.

While your experience certainly isn't exceptional in your community - or worldwide - it would absolutely be exceptional in the US. There have been cases of parents being prosecuted for allowing their children to walk to a local park less than a mile away.

Seeing a child alone in the US is exceptionally rare. This extends to age 12-14, I would say.

> I remember

But all the six year olds who were left to fend for themselves and died as a result are unable to take part in this conversation.

Six-year-olds don't contribute much to any political conversation. It would be especially rare to hear from such vanishingly small groups of six-year-olds as those to which you refer here. I'm afraid their voices would be drowned out completely by the much larger groups of six-year-olds who have died while with their parents, e.g. while riding in automobiles or in house fires.

Couldn't find a definition of brief, in either the original law or the proposed amendment.

How brief is brief? 15 minutes? 1 movie? Nap time?

There's Rhode Island, and there's Japan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7YrN8Q2PDU

In New Zealand the law requires any child under the age of 14 to have supervision. This can include anyone above the age of 14, provided adequate care is given.

The land of the free? Less and less with each decade :(

The definition for 12 year olds is somewhat murky... what exactly do they mean by "overnight"?

"(d) Parents and legal guardians should use their judgment to access the maturity and responsibility of their children ..."

how does one use judgment to "access" maturity?

Well, you know, you end up spending a lot of time with your kids and get to know them pretty well.

How else could this question be answered?

the parent probably wanted to point out that "access" != "assess"

Oh, I see it now. That's funny.

Will only actually be used against legitimately neglectful parents. I'm in favor.

Laws are never used against everyone, when they're intended to only apply to one demographic.

> The statute was never intended to be applied to the white population and in practice has never been so applied.

Watson v. Stone, 1941


Oh. Nevermind.

Will only actually be used...

Your attempt at sarcasm has failed.

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