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Babysitting

How do you decide at what age and in what circumstances is it safe to leave your child alone or with a baby sitter?

Although there is no legal minimum age for a child to be left alone, it is an offence to leave a child alone when doing so puts them at risk of harm.  So for parents and carers, how do you decide at what age and in what circumstances it is safe to leave your child alone or with a babysitter?

The advice recommend people follow in the NSPCC guidance leaflet "Home Alone - your guide to keeping your child safe"

They advise:

  • Never leave a baby or very young child alone at home, whether asleep or awake, even for a few minutes.  It doesn't take long for unsupervised young children or babies to injure themselves;
  • Most children under thirteen should not be left, other than for very short periods;
  • No child under sixteen should be left alone overnight.

Ideally, babysitters should be over 16 and have had some babysitting experience.  It's often helpful to ask your friends and relations if they can recommend someone.

Make sure any babysitter you use knows where everything is and what to do in an emergency or if there is a problem.

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