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Mom Uses Eight-Year-Old as Babysitter

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Is it wrong to have your kids watch your kids?

A mother of four, including an infant, has been charged with child endangerment after leaving the kids home alone Sunday while she went to work.

Chennel Pace told cops she had to work an extra three-hour shift at the Lincoln Crawford Nursing Home while her children --  eight, six, one and four months old -- were left alone in her home.

Amazingly, most states do not have regulations or laws about when a child is considered old enough to care for themselves or care for other children.

At what age do you think a child can safely babysit a sibling?

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23 comments so far | Post a comment now
Michelle September 29, 2008, 1:46 PM

Absolutely too young. 8 yr old and then responsible for an infant? No way, definitely child endangerment. I can hardly even think of leaving my 13 yr old with my 6 yr old. Of course in my day, we were latchkey kids even young as 7 and 8, but in this day and time, no way.

Tina September 29, 2008, 2:00 PM

Yeah, I agree. 8 yrs old is way too young, especially for infant care.

(NOT an excuse…), but I feel bad just looking at her—she looks so burnt out.

Anonymous September 29, 2008, 2:10 PM

I think it depends on the maturity of the kid. I wouldn’t leave an 8 year old for 3 hours but I might for a short amount of time.

hyperactivelu September 29, 2008, 2:11 PM

8 is WAY too young to care for that many kids including an infant. I would say at least 13 or 14- with one other sibling… any more, call a sitter!

Shannon Smith September 29, 2008, 2:12 PM

I’m in Utah and I believe they have a law here that they have to be around 11 to be home alone and 13 to be home alone with siblings. I was babysitting at the age of 12 & 13. I definitely don’t think 8 is old enough, but as a single mom who never goes anywhere or does anything for lack of proper child care, I can understand her desperation.

Stephanie September 29, 2008, 2:14 PM

I was babysitting when I was 12, so I would consider that reasonable. Watched infants too.

For a quick run to the store, maybe, MAYBE let the 8 year old do it. I wouldn’t personally, even if baby were napping, but if you just have to and can’t take the kids for some reason, that might work. No way for 3 hours.

Erin September 29, 2008, 2:17 PM

Eight years old is too young. Here on an Army post kids are supposed to be 12 years old just to stay home alone. Thank god nothing happened to those kids.

bloggingmom67 September 29, 2008, 2:33 PM

I think 8 is too young to watch children that young, especially an infant, or to even stay home alone.

I have an 8 year old who is fairly mature, and he’s not ready to have that responsibility. I wouldn’t trust him to watch his 6-year-old sister, let alone three children.

With that said, I feel for the mom. she may have had few other options, and that is tragic. But leaving the kids home alone wasn’t a good call.

Mrs. R. September 29, 2008, 4:35 PM

Too young to be left alone herself, and deplorable to have left her with 3 other kids to watch. An 8 year old is not a free babysitter, even if she is ultra mature and responsible. It’s child endangerment. Thank goodness nothing happened, and I hope that mom doesn’t lose her kids over it, but I definitely think that the mom should attend parenting classes and be in contact with a social worker.

M.L. September 29, 2008, 11:52 PM

Way too young. I live in Colorado, and kids can’t be left alone until they’re 12, and can’t be left alone with other kids until 12 and they have to have access to a phone and know how to call 911.

Becca September 30, 2008, 6:13 AM

Depending on the age it is OK! However anything under 13 in my eyes is to young!A child of 8 years old can barely keep care of themselves besides younger siblings. Most states don’t have age policies set up ether! This being because it can be hard to find daycare at older ages! I still find it appalling and not an excuse!I think states should set up an age of at least 11 years to be left alone and 13 to be left alone with younger siblings. I Don’t know about other state but Indiana does not have a policy on this. I know because I drove school buses and this was something that often bothered me. It was more often than not that I found out children were watching themselves and siblings. I also felt even more frustrated when I found out from my supervisor that their was nothing that could be done because of state laws! What if something would have happened to them? I know I was in the clear because I reported it but it wouldn’t have made me feel any better had something horrible happened to those poor children!
I think the only way to change this is for us parents and caregivers to let the community know we do not like it or stand for it! With all the recent tragedies that have happened in situations like this, I think its time the states and CPS step up and make more strict rules for children watching children or themselves! This has got to end and is not even right an 8 year old watching their siblings!

Jennifer September 30, 2008, 6:37 AM

Its a hard call. I think 8 is too young. But she may have had no other choice. She is probably a single mom who needs to work. We don’t know the maturity level of the 8 year old either. Back when I was younger we watched babies at 8. We are punishing these moms for trying to take care of their families when we should be going after the moms who are sitting at home collecting welfare and doing nothing. At least this mom is trying to support her family, she made an error in judgement should she be arrested, no.

Julie September 30, 2008, 7:02 AM

This is a tough situation. Kudos to Mom for having a job and trying to support her children. It could have been alot worse. She could have taken them to work with her and forgot them in the car. We all know what happens then. She sure wouldn’t have been arrested. This situation needs investigated. Has Ohio failed it citizen? Did Mom have access to a sitter? Does she have the funds to afford a sitter? Does she have/qualify for assistance from the state for this? Lets get the facts before we judge.

Billie September 30, 2008, 11:02 AM

This mother had her 12yr old babysit, not 8yr old. She was working not out partying. And she didn’t leave them in a hot car to die a horrible death. Of course in Ohio if you just say you forgot about your child and killed them you do not get arrested for anything. Sad system!!!

Cindy September 30, 2008, 11:49 AM

I was a responsible babysitter, at 10 years old. I had most of the people at my church calling me to babysit. But, 8…that is way to young to handle 3 other children, especially with an infant.

Nicole September 30, 2008, 1:16 PM

I used to babysit for my parents’ friends when I was 10-years-old. Now that I am a mother, I have no idea what they were thinking, and I’m thankful nothing ever came up that I wasn’t able to handle as a 4th grader.

Becca September 30, 2008, 2:47 PM

I think all of you supporting mother leaving children by themselves need to remember this is not the 50’s or 60’s anymore. Times have changed and there are bad people out there. Not to mention the things that could go wrong on a daily bases that would need adult care immediately! I don’t know of one elementary school student on my buses that would have been ready for the responsibility! They would have not known how to deal with fire, burglary, infant death, injury in general, and other emergencies that can occur! To say I did when I was a kid so whats wrong with it is an ignorant statement! When we were kids it was a lot safer! Not to mention when we were kids things were different in every single way!
Do what you want with your kids but I know my children are not staying by themselves until at least 13 years of age! In fact I think every state should make a general rule for this. I was a single mom and had to work and never ever left my children by themselves! That is a poor excuse! Its alright till one of those children end up dead or hurt badly then everyone will switch to what was she thinking. Laws like this are not to be mean but for the safety of the children and mom!Since I was a single mom too, the excuse of I had no one to watch them is inexcusable. Moms who do this don’t care about their children and don’t deserve them! The state should take them away or at least start CPS investigation into the case. Hopefully educating mom on what could happen! That’s a lot too! Anyone who thinks a 8 to 10 year old is responsible to watch themselves or others is crazy! As for me my children won’t be taking on any adult responsibilities. I’m saying this as a former single mom of 9 years. I’ve been married only one year of my children lives and never used that poor excuse!Never will! Nether should anyone else be allowed to!

Anonymous September 30, 2008, 11:24 PM

Wow! What is UP with her eyebrows?

Sonnie October 2, 2008, 11:10 AM

As hard as it is as a single parent trying to provide for her kids,they should have not taken her to jail instead help her with childcare,she has to provide for her kids therefor she needs her job not jail,and some eight year old have more common sence then some 18 year old,to each its own,just my thought

Susanne December 9, 2008, 8:18 PM

Eight is too young but’s not like the mom was out partying—she had to go to work. She does look burnt out. That’s a lot of very young kids.

I feel for her and the kids.

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