Single Mom Arrested After 4-Year-Old Son Went Outside to Play While Teen Sister Babysat

The Georgia mother could face one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

A single Georgia mom is facing prison time for letting her 14-year-old daughter babysit her 4-year-old brother. 

Melissa Henderson says she had to go work, but her son Thaddeus’s daycare was closed because of a COVID-19 shutdown. 

“There were no options, literally. So I asked my almost 15-year-old to watch over her younger sibling while I went back to work,” Henderson said.

While her daughter Linley was focused on her school work, Thaddeus wandered out of the house to play. A neighbor saw the child and called 911. Henderson says her son was outside for about 15 minutes.

The police came to the family's home two weeks later, handcuffed Henderson and charged her with criminal reckless conduct.

“It was the most embarrassing and humiliating day, honestly, of my life,” Henderson said.

If convicted, she could be jailed for one year and fined $1,000.

A police report says the 4-year-old might have been “kidnapped, run over or bitten by a venomous snake.”

But is 14 too young to babysit? 

The Red Cross gives babysitting classes for children as young as 11 years old.

“Thirteen years old and older can be left alone and take care of others for up to 12 hours,” attorney David DeLugas said. 

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