As the Summer holidays approach, working parents may be trying to tackle the issue of child care during the break. In the UK there is no legal age at which you are ‘allowed’ to leave children at home on their own. However, it is acknowledged that babies, toddlers and young children should never be left alone, children under 12 should not be left for long periods of time and under 16s should not be left alone overnight. If you have to leave children at home alone, then there are things to consider to ensure that they stay safe.
According to the UK Government parents can be taken to court for leaving children unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’. This is why it is so important to follow advice on safe ways to leave your children at home alone.
How to Ensure Your Child’s Safety
Before leaving your child alone for the first time, you need to make sure they feel comfortable. If there is any doubt, then someone should check in on them now and again. It is important to set some ground rules, such as not ‘advertising’ the fact they are home alone on social media. Decide what they will do while you are out and ensure that they know how to contact you, or what to do if there is an emergency. It is a good idea to call and check on them every now and again, as well as making sure they know what time you will be back.
What if You Can’t Leave Them at Home Alone?
If you are unable to leave your child at home because they don’t feel happy or their age would make it unsafe to do so, then you will have to find an alternative. This could mean looking for a childminder or babysitter.
Before choosing either of these options you will want to make sure that they have undergone a criminal record check such as those offered by http://www.carecheck.co.uk/criminal-record-checks-for-individuals/.
As a general rule of thumb, all children under the age of 12 should have adult supervision for days when parents are not going to be around. If they are over 12 then parents should use their judgment but not leave them alone for too long.