Leaving Your Kids Alone at Home in Montana: Legal or Illegal?
I remember growing up in the Huntley Project and spending lots of time alone at home, mostly during the Summer months while my mother was at work. I talked to a friend of mine in Colorado about it, and they told me that it was odd that I was left all alone that young. I never thought it was a bad thing because I knew I had to get chores done and make sure everything was tidy before my mom got home. However, some states have laws against leaving young children at home by themselves. Does Montana have this law?
Montana's Latchkey Law
A latchkey child is a child who is left home alone while their parents are at work or away from the home. Some states have laws requiring children to be a certain age before they can be legally allowed to be home alone. Illinois' latchkey law, for example, requires that a child be 14 years old in order to be left alone for an extended period of time.
The majority of states don't have laws regarding the minimum age to leave your child alone at home, including Montana. However, the Montana Department of Health and Human Services encourages parents to make plans with their children and go over safety tips. Since Montana doesn't have a latchkey law, it's up to the parents to determine whether their child is mature enough to be left alone in the home alone or not.
Going over these safety tips may save lives.
Obviously, there are risks to leaving your child at home by themselves. That's why going over safety tips, emergency phone numbers, escape routes, and other important details is imperative. Some people in other states have also expressed concerns about children alone finding alcohol, weapons, or drugs and then using them.
Part of that discussion should include firearm safety, and educating your children on the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
Luckily for me, I was able to survive being home alone as a child, and I think it's because of how diligent my family was at making sure I was well educated and knew who to call if something bad happened. If you leave your child at home alone, you aren't doing anything illegal in Montana, but just make sure you're child knows what to do and what not to do.