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Home alone: Mother leaving 7-year-old home alone sparks outrage online

Is seven-years-old the right age for a child to stay home alone?
Is seven-years-old the right age for a child to stay home alone?
Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

A longstanding debate has been going on for years is the appropriate age to leave a child at home alone and by themselves. Well, a story written by a woman on ABC News on Aug. 13, 2014, told of her leaving her young child alone and that he's easily old enough for it. The fact that her son is only seven-years-old is causing a big stir and those leaving comments are not happy about it.

The writer, Lizzie Heiselt, starts out by saying that her eldest child, the seven-year-old, likes to be alone.

Liking time alone and being left alone at the age of seven are two entirely different things, but again, it's all a matter of opinion.

She goes on to say that her child is a "homebody," and that he is "responsible, he's bookish, he's a rule-abiding citizen of the family." Heiselt believes she could leave him home alone for an hour or so and he may not even notice.

According to her, that's exactly what her son's wish was for the summer. He wished to be left at home during his summer vacation for one day and not run any errands with her. Heiselt says she has put a lot of thought into the situation, and doesn't know why he can't.

She still would take his younger siblings with her, but he would be left home alone. She even checked into the legal standpoint of it all, and in New York, there is "no law dictating how old a child has to be before you can leave him alone, although the CPS website does offer some helpful guidelines."

After all was said and researched, Heiselt left her son home alone and he handled it well. Many of those leaving comments on the article did not think it was such a good idea.

One said:

"Why not leave your child in a car that's running, what could go wrong?"

Another posted:

"ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS! To even think about leaving a 7-year-old at home alone."

Others were in agreement with Heiselt, but some other comments went a lot further and were not nearly as kind or easy-going.

The story went on to say that she let her son go in the elevator and downstairs to the family's mailbox. One commenter did not believe an unsupervised child in a New York City elevator would ever be a good idea by any stretch of the imagination.

Another time, Heiselt left her seven-year-old son supervise his almost two-year-old sister for a few minutes while she went downstairs with the four-year-old and then came back up. She told him to "watch out for her," and he said he would.

Upon returning, the apartment door was open and Heiselt's daughter was standing by the elevators alone. Her son didn't even notice she was gone.

By the end of this little experiment, Heiselt realized her seven-year-old son is old enough to be left home alone and run errands alone in the building. He's not responsible enough to watch another child though. At least, not yet.

Some agree with this, and others do not. As one user named Barb posted:

"Sorry, but it's stupid to allow any 7 year old home alone."

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