Leaving children alone at home

young boy holding cereal

At what age parents can leave children alone at home? This is a very big question from the safety viewpoint of children. Leaving children alone when there is a school holiday is very problematic and annoying for working parents. There may be any urgent work for which parents have to consider leaving their child home alone. But is it really safe?

There are certain points of consideration before deciding to leave children alone at home. In Australia, there are various laws also regarding this issue. According to the QLD law, it is an offense to leave the children under the age of 12 alone at home without any reasonable provision for an unreasonable time.

Other states and territories also have a law regarding this issue. Although they do not specify an age under which the children cannot be left alone. But they surely ask the parents to provide adequate supervision before they decide to leave the kids alone at home. Toddlers and babies must not be left alone under any circumstances.

Parents can consider leaving the children of the following age groups for a small time period in case of an emergency.

Children aged 13-15 years
These children can be left alone for a few hours in the day and evening, in case of any unavoidable circumstances. They should not be left alone overnight under any situation.

Children aged 16-17 years
These children can be left alone, maximum for a day.  Before taking the decision of leaving even these children alone, a few points should be considered which are mentioned below.

girl lying with book

Important points of consideration for parents
There are several points which should be considered by the parents if there is any emergency and they are planning to leave the kids alone at home.
Self-confidence in Children is a must to stay alone. Know whether the children are confident enough?
– Whether they have some sensible decision-making skills in case, they need any help?
– Are they matured enough to know their responsibilities when parents are not at home?
– Are they capable and smart enough to call parents if they need some assistance?
– Do the children know how to keep away from strangers?
– Do the children know about the basic first aid?
– How safe are the neighborhood and the surrounding locality?

Parents should make their children familiar with some basic safety tips so that they can leave them alone, unsupervised at home in case of any urgent situations. Some of the safety tips are mentioned below.
– Children should know the contact numbers of parents and address properly.
– They should know that it is dangerous to operate the gas stoves and any other appliances which can catch fire, without a parent’s permission.
– They should be quite matured not to talk to any strangers in the absence of their parents.
– Parents should keep in touch with the children by calling them frequently while they are away.
– Parents should give a list of important phone numbers that the children can call upon in case of an emergency.
– Parents should inform and ask any trustworthy immediate neighbor to take care of the children when they leave them alone at home.