What Is the Colorado Law Regarding Leaving Minors Unattended?

By Judy Wilson - Updated June 16, 2017
schoolboy walk alone

A minor is a child who is less than 18 years old, and he is unattended when he is left alone without adult supervision, such as when the parent runs to the store and leaves the child at home by himself. Colorado has adopted laws that imply the minimum age at which the child can be left unattended.

12 Years

According to the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), “The laws of Colorado do not set a specific age after which a child legally can stay home alone.” However, also according to CDHS, “Colorado in general has accepted the age of 12 years as a guideline for when it might be appropriate for a child to be left alone for short periods of time.”

Maturity

Although Colorado has identified 12 years old as the age at which a child can possibly be left unattended, parents must use their judgment on this. Whereas some children may be mature enough at 12 to be unattended, others are not mature enough even at the age of 15.

Risks

Parents must think about the potential risks to the child in leaving him unattended, according to CDHS. The parent is responsible by law for assuring that a minor who is less than 18 years old has appropriate supervision at all time, and the parent also runs certain risks when leaving the minor unattended.

Considerations

If the child is left unattended inappropriately, the law could deem the parent as being neglectful toward the child. To determine whether there is neglect in such a situation, an investigator would ask about the child’s maturity, the parent’s whereabouts and accessibility to the child when away from home and details about the situation.

About the Author

Judy Wilson has writing and editing expertise in health, technology, pets, business and travel. She has contributed to USAToday.com, SFGate.com and numerous other publications. Wilson earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she completed Mini Medical School.

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