In a time when many parents work outside the home, babysitting is a vital service in our society. It is important to know how old an individual needs to be legally to babysit. Federal and North Carolina state child labor laws provide little guidance in this area. The law appears to leave the matter to the parent to determine the maturity level of the child babysitting.
Federal Child Labor Laws
Federal child labor laws do not cover babysitting. Therefore, there is no minimum age requirement for babysitting under the federal laws. However, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), babysitting is subject to federal minimum wage standards, if the individual providing the services works more than eight hours per week. Otherwise, no boundaries are placed on payment or age of the worker in a babysitting situation.
North Carolina Child Labor Laws
North Carolina child labor laws require no minimum age for casual babysitting. Casual is defined as occasional babysitting, not daily child care. No further guidance is provided by North Carolina state law on age requirements for babysitting.
North Carolina Law for Leaving Children Unattended
There is no juvenile statute in North Carolina concerning the age at which a child may be left unattended in North Carolina. However, North Carolina Fire Code (General Statutes Section 14-318) states a child under eight years of age may not be left alone due to risk of fire.
North Carolina DHHS Standards
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services states that while a child of eight years of age may legally be left unattended, this is not an appropriate age for leaving them to care for younger children. However, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services does not provide any further guidance on minimum age for caring for younger children. This would appear to leave the question of appropriate age up to the parents of the child babysitting and the parents of the children he is babysitting.
- father and son. image by Harvey Hudson from Fotolia.com