By Lois R. Finkelstein
How old does a child have to be before he or she can be left alone in Maryland? The answer is 8 years old. Section 5-801 of the Family Law Article of the Maryland Code states:
(a) In general. — A person who is charged with the care of a child under the age of 8 years may not allow the child to be locked or confined in a dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle while the person charged is absent and the dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle is out of the sight of the person charged unless the person charged provides a reliable person at least 13 years old to remain with the child to protect the child.
(b) Penalties for violation. — A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $ 500 or imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, or both.
I would still recommend that the child be mature enough to understand not to answer the door to strangers, have a safety plan, and have quick access to an adult that can be trusted such as a neighbor.