The law doesn’t say an age when you can leave a child on their own, but it’s an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk.

Use your judgement on how mature your child is before you decide to leave them alone, eg at home or in a car.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) says:

  • children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time
  • children under 16 shouldn’t be left alone overnight
  • babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone

Parents can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’.