Home Alone Guidance

Home Alone Guidance

Occasionally parents with older children approach us to find out how old a child needs to be before they can be left on their own at home.  The NSPCC has released this guidance which may be useful.

As we know, this is a grey area with no clear legislation concerning the age at which a child/young person can be left.  NSPCC guidance is as follows:

  • Babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone
  • Children under the age of 12 are rarely mature enough to cope in an emergency and should not be left at home alone for a long period of time
  • Children under the age of 16 should not be left alone overnight
  • Parents and carers can be prosecuted for neglect if it is judged that they placed a child at risk by leaving them at home alone
  • A child should never be left at home alone if they do not feel comfortable with this, regardless of their age
  • If a child has additional needs, these should be considered when leaving them at home alone or with an older sibling
  • When leaving a younger child with an older sibling think about what may happen if they were to have a falling out – would they both be safe?

The NSPCC have produced a leaflet for parents offering more detailed advice.  You can access it directly from this web link: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/leaving-child-home-alone/