In Reply.—We appreciate Dr Gutman's surprise at the number of preschoolers left alone each day in this country. Note well that this figure does not include the number of preschoolers left with siblings not much older than they are. There have been sporadic reports of injury to very young children in self-care and in sibling care. Yet, we, as a society, have not seemed to learn from their tragic experiences. Anyone who has worked in a pediatric emergency room for any length of time knows that young children are frequently brought in by protective services agencies for "abandonment" or "lack of supervision." Where were the parents of these children? What was so important to them that they found it necessary (or convenient) to leave young children unsupervised?
When parents tell a physician that they believe that their 7-year-old child is "mature enough" to care for himself or for younger