Police in a wide variety of Northeast Ohio suburbs report a growing number of cases involving parents who have been charged with leaving their young children home alone.
News 5 has reported on home alone cases in Parma, Lorain, Solon, University Heights and Parma Heights thus far in 2017.
The most recent case took place in Solon, after police said 27-year-old Jason Jones allegedly left his 7-year-old son home alone at the Solon Park Apartments.
Lt. Bruce Felton with the Solon Police Department told News 5 a neighbor at the complex called 911 after seeing the young boy roaming the halls, crying and pounding on doors for help.
Felton said Jones told his son he was going grocery shopping at Giant Eagle. Felton said the boy was left unattended for three hours.
"The boy was very upset, crying and scared," said Felton.
"He was also concerned that his father was going to be angry for not staying in the apartment."
Felton reported responding officers also found a loaded gun in the apartment where the young boy was playing.
Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital safety expert Jennifer Walker told News 5 there is no state law on age requirements for leaving children home alone.
Walker said parents must use good judgment when deciding whether to leave children on their own.
"We try and advise people to really think about the maturity level of the child, "said Walker. "For some kids that's 10, for some others it's 14 or 15 year olds."
"See how the child feels about it. See if they're comfortable with it."
Parents also have to make sure the child is mature enough to carefully follow your instructions while you're away.
Meanwhile, Jones is facing a charge of child endangering, but police say more charges could be on the way.