Children left home alone


Children across Nottinghamshire face the risk of being left home alone this summer as their parents struggle with childcare over the six weeks holidays.

The NSPCC is urging parents to think carefully before leaving their children home alone during the summer holidays.

The charity’s helpline received 1,729 calls and emails nationally between April 2015 and March 2016 from adults concerned about youngsters being left unattended.

Of these, 128 were from people in the East Midlands with 116 being deemed so serious they had to be referred to the police or social services.

The NSPCC’s ChildLine service also delivered 273 counselling sessions to children and young people last year who were worried about being left home alone.

The law does not give a minimum age for leaving children alone at home but it’s against the law if it puts them at risk.

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said: “Summer holidays can be a fun time for children but it’s also when they are more likely to be left home alone as parents face increasing childcare pressures.

“This could explain why we see a spike in calls to our helpline during these months.

“Leaving your child home alone can be a difficult decision as children mature at different ages – there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer.

“But it could put them at greater risk of accident or injury.

“So I would urge parents to use their common sense when deciding if their child could cope.

“They should also ask them how they feel about being left alone and talk to them about what to do in an emergency.”

The charity gives the following advice -

• 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

• 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