Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Mother Arrested for Using 13-yr-old as Babysitter

Posted by   + Show Post

Mother Arrested for Using 13-yr-old as Babysitter

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 by Kim Shannon from Buzzworthy Bulletins

When does one become qualified to babysit? Is there a specific age or grade level that accurately measures the aptness of a sitter?

A 39-year-old woman was arrested for leaving her four children – ages 13, 10, 4, and 1 1/2 – alone at home while she attended church. According to this article, she left the children in the care of her eldest child; but when a neighbor called the police, stating that the 4-year-old wandered into the yard across the street alone, this mother was charged with “risk of injury to a minor.”

Some people are criticizing the mom, while others are pointing fingers at the neighbor, “accusing her of acting in anything but a neighborly way.”

When I was 13 years old, my parents felt I was qualified enough to be entrusted with my 9-year old sister and 5-year-old brother while my mom went to the grocery store, or while my parents went out to dinner for a Friday-evening date. I don’t know if they would have done the same if I’d had an even younger sibling; but regardless, they were never gone that long, and they were never too far away. If my younger brother had wandered out into a neighbor’s yard, I think that neighbor would’ve walked him back over to my house and then, perhaps, stayed until my parents returned. Or, that neighbor may have just returned him and scolded me, warning me about the possible dangers, and would’ve later told my parents what had happened.

I also don’t think my little brother would’ve wandered off without my knowledge. I was a bossy 13-year-old, and I loved authority and responsibility. My siblings probably hated when I was left in charge. I was a helicopter babysitter, just as I am a helicopter mom (I make no apologies for my hover-hover-hovering).

Times have definitely changed since I was 13 and children wandering out in streets or into neighbors’ yards can lead to much more dangerous situations than they once would have; but have the times changed so much that using a 13-year-old babysitter is considered child neglect, or “risk of injury to a minor”?

When does one become qualified to babysit? What do you think?

by on Jan. 18, 2013 at 10:06 PM
Replies (101-110):
by Thatwoman on Jan. 19, 2013 at 6:37 PM

That's irrational.

I suspect the neighbour's real problem was that the kids weren't in church where they belong.

Now, I didn't hire people who were not already parents to take care of my kids (for a variety of reasons), but 13 is hardly the young side of typical babysitting ages...

by on Jan. 19, 2013 at 6:39 PM
In a lot if states 13 is the legal age you can babysit your own siblings anyway. :/ I think its ridiculous! She was at church not a club.
Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
by on Jan. 19, 2013 at 6:57 PM

   I guess she isn't too responsible if the 4 year old was outside wandering.     


by Platinum Member on Jan. 19, 2013 at 7:24 PM


It depends on maturity of the babysitter.

Sometimes 11 years old girl can be more mature and responsible than 15 year one!

I would say, one should have good sense of judgment, when choosing a babysitter.

Quoting desertlvn:

I think that many 13 yr olds are mature enought babysit. But this particular 13 yr old clearly isn't. I wouldn't charge the mom with a crime.


by Bronze Member on Jan. 19, 2013 at 7:30 PM

I watched my brother alone when I was younger than that. I watched him when I was 12 and he was one

by Platinum Member on Jan. 19, 2013 at 7:31 PM


DD doesn't want to babysit at all:) She says: I am germaphobe and I can't stand loud noises and whining" LOL

Quoting paganbaby:

Oh for godssake... My 13yo dd watches her little brother and sister all the time.


by on Jan. 19, 2013 at 7:47 PM

Need more details: was their house in the country on a deadend dirt road or in the city on a busy 4 lane highway? How long was the 4yo missing? Was the sitter aware and looking for the 4yo? Does the 4yo have behaviour problems? Did the neighbor have a LO that that the 4yo had played with before? Did the neighbor already have a grudge? Why didn't the neighbor just escort the LO back home? I imagine all this will be discussed in court.

We used to watch out for each other. Now it seems like people are hunting for ways to take others down.

by Ruby Member on Jan. 19, 2013 at 10:20 PM

Total bullshit.  My niece took babysitting classes when she was 13 for the express purpose of being knowledgable enough to take care of my baby.  I trusted her implicitly, and 5 years later this is how she makes her living.  I would be totally pissed off with the neighbor.  Heck, my first was a runner, and if I took my eyes off of him for a second he was out the door, even after installing baby locks.  I had CPS called on me once because I went to the bathroom, with another adult in the house, and my son snuck out when nobody was looking and was out by the road.  People need to understand that even adults can lose sight of their kids for a second, and not punish the parent for not gluing their child to their side.

by Ruby Member on Jan. 19, 2013 at 10:22 PM

I have a friend with 6 kids, and her oldest is 14.  He often watches the kids so mom can go to women's bible study.  The youngest is 18 months, and there has never been any problem.  But then her kids were raised to be mature and responsible, and most of us have lazy ass immature teens lol

Quoting krysstizzle:

I would generally say 13 is old enough to babysit, but to watch 3 kids, one of them under 2 years old? I don't know, that seems a bit much, imo. If the toddler wasn't there, I wouldn't see an issue at all, though. 

babiesbabybaby development

by on Jan. 19, 2013 at 11:14 PM

 That's just plain stupid!!  The charges should be dropped!

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)