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When do you think it's safe to leave a child home alone while you pop out?


Did you know that there's no set age when it's officially OK to leave a child home alone? The law simply says that you shouldn’t leave a child alone if he or she will be at risk.

And if you do put a child at risk of harm by leaving him or her at home alone, you could be fined or sent to prison.

All a bit vague?

Well, the idea behind not setting an 'official' age when it's OK to leave a child home alone is that there’s such a wide variation in the rate that children mature – so, one child might be fine on his or her own where another child the same age might not – that it's better to let parents use their own judgement to decide when their own child is mature enough.

Do you think that sounds sensible? Would you prefer to make your own decision about when your child is mature enough to be left home alone for a few minutes? 

Or would you feel better if there was an 'official' age when you could leave a child home alone – so that you can be sure you're doing the right thing?

And at what age do you think a child can be safely left at home for a short while?

We'd be really interested to hear your views on this one. Please do tell us what you think by adding a post to this thread. Thank you!


  • My kids are both young, but surely you can't set an age limit for when it's ok to leave your kids alone (whether you're popping to the local corner shop for some milk or leaving them for longer) as it totally depends on the maturity of the child? My nephew is 11 and he can be left home alone for a short period of time (maybe 20 mins) but his brother who's a year younger could not be left AT ALL and likely not when he's 11 too! Not to be trusted at all!

  • Yes, I agree with BobbieRae. It really depends on the child's maturity. When I was still a child, my mother started to leave me at home at the age of 8. But she was just usually going to the nearest market to buy our food to cook for lunch and she was only away for about 30-45 minutes.

  • I would say atleast 8 years of age

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