Is It Ever Acceptable To Leave A Child Home Alone?
It’s been reported that a mother who left her six-year-old son home alone for 45 minutes while she attended a driving lesson is battling to get a caution for child neglect removed from her records eight years later.
As a result of this case and several others, the government is being pressed to issue clear guidelines governing at what age and for how long children can be left home alone.
At present there is no legal age limit on when you are allowed to leave your child alone. It is, however, an offence for a child to be put at risk by not being supervised.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) advise:
– Children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time
– Children under 16 shouldn’t be left alone overnight
– Babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone
In the Daily Mail child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer says:-
“The general rule about leaving young children alone is ‘Don’t do it’. However mature your child may seem, most under-eights simply don’t have the cognitive ability to predict danger or assess risk. What is ‘sensible’ to an adult, won’t be ‘sensible’ to many six-year-olds.
Leaving a child at home on their own can also make them scared and vulnerable if they’re not completely comfortable with it. Sometimes they become anxious, and are likely to start attention-seeking upon parents’ return.”
We ask our Norfolk Mums, is it ever acceptable to leave a child home alone?
You can vote now anonymously using the form below.