Updated: Jul 2, 2020

As we've all probably seen the movie Home Alone where the boy gets left at home by mistake at Christmas.

Yes, it's full of laughter and it's a great Christmas movie. But in reality it's a serious deal to leave your child home alone overnight or when you go on holiday.

Even if you leave more than one child at home, you have to consider if the sibling is mature enough and self aware to look after the young siblings.

The risks of leaving your child/children at home are:

  1. Answering the door to stranger and possibly letting them in

  2. Your child/children will have to leave the house and could lock themselves out

  3. Answering an unknown phone number

  4. Risk of 1st -3rd degree burns while cooking/ hot drinks

  5. Risk of fire

  6. Use of sharp knives/cutlery

Des Mannion, head of NSPCC Cymru, said: "It can be difficult for parents and carers to decide whether their child is ready to be left on their own.

"However, it is still very concerning that we are consistently seeing a spike in August of referrals to social services and the police due to worries about children being left unsupervised."

What else should I consider?

To help parents/guardians  and carers who may be considering whether or not to leave their child on their own for the first time this summer, the NSPCC has issued guidance on leaving children home alone:

  • Babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone.

  • Parents and carers can be prosecuted for neglect if it is judged that they placed a child at risk by leaving them at home alone.

  • A child should never be left at home alone if they do not feel comfortable with it, 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.

  • When leaving a younger child with an older sibling think about what may happen if they were to have a falling out - would they both be safe?

Image by Ri Butov from Pixabay

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