How Young Is Too Young For Kids To Babysit?
TULSA, Oklahoma - For the second day in a row, a Tulsa child was found roaming the streets alone.
Police say an 8-year-old was supposed to be babysitting their little brother when somehow the 3-year-old left the house. This has many people questioning what age is a good age to leave kids alone.
In Oklahoma, there's no law that says how old a person must be to watch a child.
At Tulsa's Red Cross, there's a babysitting class that teaches kids the basic fundamentals of taking care of a younger child.
"They learn basic diapering, feeding techniques, how to play with children, how to mediate arguments or little spats that might happen between children," said Donita Quesnel, with the American Red Cross.
To take the class, the child must be at least 11 years old.
Quesnel said there's a reason the age is restricted.
"Children are going to mature at different times in their life and some will be very responsible and capable at age 9 and some won't have that ability until they're older than 11," she said.
Quesnel said the key to successful babysitting is to make sure you never take your eye off the child.
Tulsa Police believe that's how a 3-year-old boy ended up walking the street alone. The child's mother told police she had to leave her toddler and 8-year-old at home or she would have lost her job.
"A younger child can care for a sibling, a brother or sister, if everything goes correctly," Quesnel said.
But what age is a good age to let your kid babysit?
Steve Hahn, with the Parent Child Center of Tulsa, said, "To give you a definite answer on that--is it 12, 13? I don't know. What kind of sufficient care can an 8-year-old provide a 2-year-old? I would say not sufficient care."
Incidents like this don't only happen when kids are the babysitter. Earlier this week, a woman spotted 19-month-old Bella wandering in the street.
Bella's mom said she left the girl with her adult brother and a close family friend. Investigators think Bella let herself out of the house at some point during the night.
"You just can't be too careful with kids. Make sure that whoever you're leaving that child with has the skills and the tools and the resources they need to be successful," Quesnel said.
The Red Cross also provides an online babysitting class.