10-Year-Old Babysitter Arrested for Child Abuse: What's Wrong With This Picture?


child abuseA 10-year-old babysitter was arrested for child abuse this week.

And I don't think I've ever typed a sentence so riddled with problems.

So let's get the big one out of the way.

Nope, not the child abuse (that's just plain atrocious: what more can you say?).

The 10-year-old babysitter.

Authorities in Wisconsin are keeping their descriptions of the sitter who allegedly abused a 23-month-old over a period of several weeks gender neutral and nameless because of the child's age.

Which hammers home that this kid is too young to be treated as an adult by the law -- and too young to be acting as anything more than a mother's helper, certainly too young to be left alone with a baby.

Although there's no national law dictating how old a child must be to be left home alone, some municipalities limit it to 11 or even 12. The basic criteria laid out by the National Crime Prevention Council call for a child to be trusted to go straight home or to a neighbor's house, to handle panicky situations, and to follow instructions well.

A kid who is abusive certainly doesn't meet any of those criteria, and to be honest -- most 10-year-olds don't either.

Even those who do don't usually meet the guidelines for a good babysitter: has good authority, stable, able to perform CPR, and able to deal with stress.

Would you let a 10-year-old babysit?


Image via Chad Crowell/Flickr

child care


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Knux Knux

umm no way!

Cafe Amy Cafe Amy

I might let my 10-year-old be in charge of my 5-year-old (Note: I don't have a 10- or 5-year-old) while I ran to the market or something like that - but I wouldn't make a day of it. Kids can be very responsible at 10. That said... you also have to know your kid.

Cafe... Cafe Suzanne

Nope not even for 15 minutes. I don't think a 10-year-old has the judgment needed for certain situations. And all it takes is a few seconds for something catastrophic to happen ...

purpl... purplepetunias

My sisters, who are 5 years older than me, were responsible for me alot growing up, but I don't remember what age my mom left us alone.  I wouldn't let my 10 year old babysit, because that is still an age where they get scared themselves! My daughter had to be alone one day after school while I finished errands.  She was 10, and unfortunately, she had an asthma attack.  She really panicked and forgot what to do!  She called my husband, thank goodness. I felt terrible.  Even though she had been thru attacks before, she needed our help.  In all other aspects, she was ready for this step, we felt.  All's well that ends well, but we never know what is going to happen while we are away, so we need to have confidence in our child that they will handle it.  And, it doesn't hurt to have a neighbor who is home that the child knows is keeping an eye out and available immediately while you are gone.  Even when we think they are ready, sometimes the child isn't!  It is always best to give independence and responsibility slowly and not just because they are a magic age.  

usmom3 usmom3

NO !

nonmember avatar Beret

I have a mature 9 year old and a 5 year old and there is NO WAY I'd leave my 9 year old in charge of my 5 year old, even next year when she's 10. I trust her not to be abusive, but there are too many things that could happen that she wouldn't have the maturity to handle.

nonmember avatar Tara

 I have to say I wouldn't do this, but if you do you need to know the 10 year old you are leaving your child with.  All day???  I don't think all day is a good idea, but at 10 I used to watch infants and toddler all day while their parents worked.  I just don't think kids now a days are like kids were back then.  Not that I am old or anything, but kids are just not the same responsible kids they used to be.

madfoot madfoot

I have a wonderful, helpful 9-year-old (very nearly 10) stepson and on NO PLANET Is he ready for the responsibiity of babysitting. It's a very ditzy, absent-minded age.

I realize there are those who will say "but in olden times all the kids had to help raise the younger kids," but this is a very isolated situation where the child was left alone, and wasn't a relative, and -- yeah, there is just way too much wrong with this story. What are the further facts of the case -- are the parents facign any kind of neglect charges? because no.

chris13 chris13

a ten year old is barely responsible enought to care for themselves for short periods. i would not expect a ten year old to care for a baby. i could see maybe a child in the 4-6 range for very short period ( 15-30 minutes )  of time but never a baby or toddler. 

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