The law does not 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, for example 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 should not 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’.