By Tim Omdal
21st Security Forces Squadron deputy director
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — One of my favorite aspects of this time of year is being able to enjoy being outside. The weather is getting warm, we all start seeing the neighborhood kids in their yards, or out riding their bikes, and throwing the football in the yard, etc. Unfortunately, we also sometimes see young children wandering around the streets alone, or left unattended in vehicles.
To ensure Colorado laws are being complied with, Peterson Air Force Base has developed the requirements and minimum ages for children to be left unattended. It’s important to remember, however, that parents and guardians must consider the physical, emotional, and psychological maturity of their children. Some children, because of a disability or psychological problem should not be given the same degree of self-management.
Children ages 5 and up may be in the yard of residence with an adult supervisor having visual sight and/or being within hearing distance.
Ages 6 and up may walk to and from school without adult supervision. Ages 7 and up may be unattended outside as long as they have access to adult assistance.
No child under 10 may be left unattended in a car. For those children 10 and up, the keys need to be removed and the emergency brake should be engaged.
Ages 10 may be left without adult supervision in their quarters for up to 2 hours as long as they have ready access to an adult via telephone. Ages 11 may exceed 2 hours with ready telephone access to an adult.
Ages 12-14 may be left alone without a sitter more than 2 hours only during the daytime hours and before curfew. Ages 16 and up may be left alone over night up to five consecutive days; however, there must be some type of adult supervision available to make periodic checks.
Youth must be 12 years old (or a 6th grader) and be babysitter trained by the Red Cross, or equivalent, in order to babysit their sibling. An 11-year-old may babysit their sibling for a maximum of 2 hours provided they meet the above training requirements.
When violations are reported to the Base Defense Operations Center, Security Forces quickly react and initiate a child abuse or neglect response. Military offenders are subject to administrative, judicial, and non-judicial punishment as deemed appropriate by their commander. Civilian offenders may be subject to prosecution by local authorities.
Don’t forget we have a curfew for those old enough to be left without supervision.
In accordance with Colorado Springs ordinance 9.2.102: Loitering, it is unlawful for any person under the age of 18 years of age to loiter or to aimlessly drive or ride about on any street, parking lot, park or eating place, whether public or private, without the consent or permission of the owner. Curfews are is in place Friday and Saturday nights from midnight until 6 a.m., and Sunday through Thursday from 10 p.m. until 6 p.m.
Enjoy your summer and help keep our community safe by following youth supervision and curfew guidelines. For more information about the child supervision guidelines, contact the Youth Center at 719-556-7220, or Family Advocacy at 719-556-8943. To report a violation of these guidelines, contact the Base Defense Operation Center, also known as the Law Enforcement Desk at 719-556-4000.