What age a child can stay at home alone in the UK? NSPCC advises

Posted: 10th July 2023

The summer holidays can present a challenge for parents as they grapple with the rising cost of living and the never-ending demands of childcare.

The child protection charity has answered some parents’ and carers’ burning questions including what ages it would not recommend leaving without adult supervision for long periods of time.

The NSPCC has also issued advice and tips to help parents and carers navigate the task and make sure that their child is ready when they do make that step.

Is it illegal to leave your kids at home in the UK?

It is against the law to leave a child alone if it puts them at risk but there is not a legal age that a child can be left.

The NSPCC explains that this is because “every child matures differently, so it would be almost impossible to have a “one size fits all” law”.

What age is acceptable to leave a child at home?

The NSPCC has said that it would not recommend leaving a child under the age of 12 especially if it is for longer periods of time.

Once your child reaches secondary school age, you should start having a conversation with them about how they would feel about you doing so.

The charity goes on to say that it doesn’t matter what age they are – whether it’s 12 or nearly 18 – parents should always consider if their child feels safe and ready before anything else.

The NSPCC added: “Just because your child is older doesn’t necessarily mean they‘re ready to look after themselves or know what to do in an emergency.

“It can help to go over the ground rules and remind them how to stay safe at home”.

Can an 11-year-old be left at home alone?

As stated above, the NSPCC does not recommend leaving children under the age of 12 at home alone.

The charity explains that this is because “children in primary school aged 6-12 are usually too young to walk home from school alone, babysit or cook for themselves without adult supervision”.

Instead, the NSPCC suggests considering leaving them at a friend’s house, with family or finding some suitable childcare.

NSPCC issues tips to parents considering leaving their child at home alone

As part of its guidance, the children’s protection charity has also shared some top tips to parents considering leaving their children at home alone.

The NSPCC suggests setting some ground rules with your kids including explaining to them when they should and shouldn’t answer the phone or door.

The charity also suggested having a discussion about what your child will do while you are out of the house to make them ( and yourself) feel more comfortable.

The NSPCC also recommends that you check in with your child every so often and even arrange for a neighbour or friend to pop in.

Parents can see the full range of advice and tips on the NSPCC website.


Source: News and Star

Categories: News