Parents: When is it okay to leave a child home alone with a baby - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Parents: When is it okay to leave a child home alone with a baby?

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

A Charlotte woman is sitting in the Mecklenburg county jail - charged with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse - because her 6-month old baby died.  But relatives say the mother wasn't home when the injuries happened.

The question some parents are asking is when is it okay to leave a child home alone to care for a sibling who is younger? Is there a cut-off age?

Robert McCarter of the Council for Children's Rights says "there's no magic age. Every single situation is different."

Police confirm that Wendy Johnson was not home Saturday when her infant, Kamdyn, suffered a long list of injuries. Investigators say they don't believe the baby suffered the injuries over a long period of time - that it was one incident.

Johnson's mother tells WBTV her daughter was gone for a "short time" and left her 11 year old son to watch his baby brother.  

According to relatives, the 11 year old told police he picked up the baby and dropped him. The juvenile's grandmother says the boy had a tendency to be jealous of baby Kamdyn.

North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services' web site addresses the issue. It says:

"What is the legal age when a child may be left home alone? Although there is no age specified in juvenile code that addresses the age a child may be left home alone, North Carolina fire code (G.S. § 14-318) states that a child under the age of eight shall not be left alone without appropriate supervision due to the risk of danger by fire.  Parents and caretakers must look at the child's maturity, the safety of the community, and access to emergency assistance. A child may be mature enough to stay alone, but not to care for younger siblings."

Here are some things to consider before leaving your child home alone.

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