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NSPCC remind public to think carefully about leaving children home alone this summer

Written by Samantha Lade, Donr

Published on Wednesday, 25th July 2018

NSPCC remind public to think carefully about leaving kids at home alone this summer

Children's charity NSPCC is raising concerns about parents leaving their children at home alone over the six week summer holiday period.

Last August, hundreds of people contacted the charity's helpline after becoming worried that young children had been left unsupervised by their parents or carer.

This resulted in 849 referrals that month to police and social services.

A third of these referrals were for children aged 5 or under.

Whilst a child may seem mature and ready to be left in the house alone, it can be a tricky decision for any parent to make. 

The NSPCC have therefore released the following guide, which asks parents to carefully question how their child would cope in scary or unexpected situations like a flooded bathroom or power cut, or what to do if someone came to the door.

Chris Cloke, NSPCC Head of Safeguarding in Communities, said: 'It can be difficult for parents and carers to decide whether their child is ready to be left on their own and we know that the summer holidays can be a tricky time as people face increasing childcare pressures.

'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.

'No child should be left on their own if there is any risk they will come to harm.'

The charity have also published their top tips to help you decide whether or not to leave your child on their own for the first time this summer:

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

    2. Under 12's shouldn't be left alone for a long period of time

    3. Under 16's shouldn't be on their own overnight

    4. A child should never be left if they feel uncomfortable, no matter their  age

    5. If your child has additional needs, take these into account when leaving them on their own or with an older sibling

    6. When leaving a younger child with an older sibling, think about what could happen if they had an argument

The NSPCC have also designed a handy tool to help parents decide if their child is ready to be left alone. For further information please see the NSPCC website.