How Young is Too Young? Leaving Kids Home Alone (VIDEO)

By Stephanie Parkinson

May 20, 2013 Updated May 20, 2013 at 5:44 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) - Summer Vacation is kicking off soon for many area kids. With more children out of the classroom 21 Alive explored what age children should be before parents leave them home alone.

In Indiana there is no legal age for leaving kids home alone. But SCAN, a local non profit that focuses on stopping child abuse and neglect, advises families not to leave children under age 12 alone at home.

SCAN also gives parents guides to help them find out if their children are ready to be left alone, and if they're ready to care for their siblings.

SCAN suggests making sure your kids know what to do in an emergency, that they aren't scared to be alone at home and make sure they are ready to handle the responsibility.

"The first time we suggest doing a very short trial run. Maybe leave the child alone in the daytime and just do that for maybe a half hour, an hour at the most. Do it in the daytime, later on if they prove themselves then you could maybe leave the child a little bit longer," said Jennifer Boen, Communications Manager, SCAN.

If parents do leave their children with a babysitter Boen says parents should be able to trust those people. Boen says to avoid having someone you have only met once or twice watch your kids.

An example Boen gave was if you trust your neighbor or friend enough to have the key to your house when you're out of town then that's a good sign you trust them enough to take care of your children.

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