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Should you ever leave your child at home alone?

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DAD.info

11 Nov 2014

Have you ever worried about leaving your child at home alone? Just thought you’d pop out to the shop for half an hour but felt guilty for doing so?

 

So, what exactly is the law when it comes to leaving children home alone?

Quite simply, there isn’t one. No set age for leaving your children home alone has been set by the government, the law simply states that you shouldn’t leave a child home alone if they will be at risk by not being supervised.

With there being no strict government advice on this subject, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), has outlined three factors to consider before making the decision to leave your child/children:

* Children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left for long periods

* Children under 16 shouldn’t be left alone overnight

* Babies and toddlers should never be left alone

Lib Dem MP John Hemming is calling for the Government to be clearer about the circumstances in which parents could be cautioned or prosecuted by police.

It follows the case of a mother of one who left her six-year-old son home alone for 45 minutes eight years ago and is now fighting to get a caution for child neglect removed from her records.

Speaking to The Sunday Times He said: “The law should always be clear. We need a debate about what the rules should be.”

Excuses and explanations such as “it’s raining”, “they won’t settle in the car seat”, and “I’ll only be gone for 10 minutes”, may be familiar but there are more factors dads should consider.

Here’s a few things to think about when it comes to leaving your children home alone:

* Does your child seem responsible, do they always do what you tell him or her?

* Can they make themselves a drink and get something to eat?

* Would they cope in a power cut?

* Would they know how to contact you or another member of the family if they needed to?

It’s simple really dads; it is down to you to make your own judgement.

If you do have to head out and you think it is ok to leave your children at home, be clear and make some ground rules of things you children can and can’t do while you are away.

And also make sure you check in on them now and again. 

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