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Legal Age for Babysitting Varies State by State

Often times, children and teenagers get babysitting jobs on a part time basis to make a bit of extra cash. While there is no problem with hiring the neighbor or a friend's teenage child, you must make sure that they are at the legal age for babysitting. Here are some tips you can use to find the correct age for babysitting.

While most babysitters age is not questioned from the age of 16 upwards, they are considered to be responsible enough for looking after younger children and babies, the legal age for minors babysitting minors in each state can vary greatly. For example, in the state of Missouri, the legal age for babysitting is 11. Obviously you will have to determine whether or not the child is capable enough and asses their maturity level on an individual basis, especially within this particular age group.

Many states do not actually specify a legal age for babysitters, but rather an age for minors being left home alone. In Illinois, it is considered to be neglect if a child under the age of 14 is left home without any supervision for a lengthy period of time.  A mature age for babysitting may depend upon the sitter.

Here are a few guidelines that you can use to ensure your baby is being well looked after, and that the legal requirements for childcare are being adhered to:

Responsible Childcare Provider Age Guidelines

Most childcare professionals and child services recommend that the age limit for children in charge of children should be 17 years old. This is because most children of 17 are mature and responsible enough to handle looking after younger children. Many of them also have a driver's license which is necessary in the case of an emergency where they might need to get a child to hospital. In many states, however, it is recognized that children start babysitting from the age of 11 and upwards. This includes Washington, Texas, Michigan, and others.

When you want to hire a child or teenager to babysit, the age requirement will be mainly up to you. You should interview the child first and make sure that they are mature and responsible enough. Check if they know any first aid or CPR and also find out what other babysitting jobs they have done in the past. You should feel comfortable with leaving them in your home to look after your little ones, and this has not so much to do with age, but rather with maturity. You can also base your decision on how long you will be out for, and if there are any neighbors close by to keep an eye on things. Most states do not have specific legal age requirements for babysitters, but leave the decision up to the parents instead.

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