Police are warning parents about the dangers of leaving their children at home alone during the school holidays. Photo: Rob Wright / The Coffs Coast Advocate
Police are warning parents about the dangers of leaving their children at home alone during the school holidays. Photo: Rob Wright / The Coffs Coast Advocate Rob Wright

Don’t leave your kids home alone these holidays

WHILE it may be tempting to duck out to the shops or visit friends and leave your children at home, police are reminding parents about the possible perils of the practice during the school holidays.

Lismore police Inspector Doug Conners said while it was not illegal to leave a child alone at home, parents should exercise common sense when deciding if their children can manage.

“Children are a tender age and there is range of things that could happen,” he said.

“If really young children go wandering that presents dangers that they could go missing.

“If kids are left home alone and something goes wrong, say in the event of a fire, are they in a position to adequately take care of themselves and do they know who to call in an emergency.

“You can also have issues around stranger danger.

“We would be urging parents to discuss all those sort of issues with the children and exercise some common sense.

Insp Conners said if the child or children are not at a maturity level to manage by themselves they shouldn’t be left alone.

There is no actual law in Australia that states what age a child can be left alone.

The law is clear, however, that parents are legally responsible for their child’s safety and well being.

Parents have the responsibility to provide food, clothing, a place to live, and safety and supervision for their children.

The police or the NSW Department of Community Services can remove children from situations where their safety is considered to be in danger and there is no guardian present.

Babies and toddlers should never be left alone.

How to decide if your children should stay home

Should your child be left alone at home?

  • Know your child’s level of maturity when thinking about leaving them home alone
  • When leaving your child at home for the first time, do it during the day for short periods
  • Work out a set of ‘home alone’ rules with your child
  • Make sure your child has a list of contacts including safe neighbours
  • Being left at home alone is a developmental step in your child gaining independence and maturity

For more information visit http://www.schoolatoz.nsw.edu.au/…/leaving-your-children-at…



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