Posted: Sun 22nd Jul 2018

NSPCC warning over ‘home alone’ kids this summer

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Jul 22nd, 2018

NSPCC Cymru has issued a warning to parents over leaving children ‘home alone’ during summer holidays.

Last August 849 children were referred by the NSPCC Helpline to social services or police due to worries about them being left unsupervised.

The charity revealed nearly 300 children under the age of five were left alone last summer.

Throughout 2017/18 there were 7,277 children referred to authorities due to concerns about them being left to fend for themselves, with the problem being most acute in August during the long school holidays.

The NSPCC has warned that although a child may seem responsible enough to be left alone without supervision, parents and carers should think carefully whether they would be able to cope with unexpected situations such as an emergency, a stranger calling at the house, being hungry or if the parent is away for longer than anticipated.

The charity is also encouraging parents to read its home alone guide which includes questions they should ask themselves and their children before deciding to leave a child unsupervised.

Des Mannion, the 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 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.

To help parents and carers who may be considering whether or not to leave their child on their own for the first time this summer, the NSPCC is issuing guidance on leaving children home alone on its website.”

Key points include:

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

· Children under the age of 12 are rarely mature enough to cope in an emergency and should not be left at home alone for a long period of time.

· Children under the age of 16 should not be left alone overnight.

· 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?

The NSPCC’s helpline is available 24/7 on 0808 800 5000 for free and confidential advice.

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