Nearly half of parents would leave kids under 12 home alone, poll finds

Friday, 19th April 2019, 1:09 pm
Updated Friday, 19th April 2019, 2:09 pm
Parents have said that children as young as 10 can be left home alone (Photo: Shutterstock)

Nearly a quarter of readers believe it is acceptable to leave a child under 12 at home alone, going against guidance from the NSPCC.

Nearly 6,000 people took part in our recent poll, which asked readers what age they thought it was acceptable to leave a child home alone.

They were also asked whether they would leave a child aged 12 to babysit a younger sibling.

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Nearly half would leave under 13 year olds alone

Our poll showed that nearly half, 44 per cent, of parents believe it is acceptable to leave children aged 10, 11 or 12 alone at home.

Of those ages, 22 per cent believed 12 years old was acceptable, 19 per cent said 11, and three per cent said under 10.

Teenagers were viewed slightly more favourably, with 20 per cent of people saying that leaving a 13 year old alone was acceptable while 18 per cent opted for 14.

Some parents said they would only leave their child alone once they were 16, with one in nine saying 16 was an acceptable age. Only 7 per cent of respondents said 15 was an acceptable age.

No babysitting for pre-teens

However, more than 80 per cent of people said that it is not okay to leave a 12 year old alone to babysit a younger sibling.

Of the more than 5,000 respondents, 84 per cent said it was not okay, with 16 per cent saying it would be fine.

What does the law say?

The law does not specify at what age it becomes safe to leave your child alone at home, but it does state that placing your child at risk is an offence.

The NSPCC say that children under the age of 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time.

And as for leaving children overnight, the charity recommends that children under 16 should not be left alone.

This article originally appeared on our sister site, The Scotsman