Leaving a Child Alone

The law on leaving your child on their own

The law doesn’t say an age when you can leave a child on their own, but it’s an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk.

Use your judgement on how mature your child is before you decide to leave them alone, eg at home or in a car.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) says:

  • children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time
  • children under 16 shouldn’t be left alone overnight
  • babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone

Parents can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’.

One case you can quote that was never brought to court ! Our Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha forgot their daughter  aged 8 when they both departed  and left her all alone in a busy pub for around 20 minutes before they remembered her existence and went back to fetch her ! That was ruled OK and no laws broken …….