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What age is safe to leave children at home alone overnight?  My mum left my sister and I at 15 and 14, but wouldn’t say it was a particularly safe decision (ahem)....

What do you guys think?


Mummy to four little ones

My mum left my sister and I at 15 and 14, but wouldn’t say it was a particularly safe decision (ahem)....

  Can’t imagine why you say that, L….. LOL  especially not, thinking about my own teens….. confused

This is quite a long way off for me - and I work in a secondary school with a sixth form so I get to hear about various shenanigans at parties where parents have been away for the weekend.  Some things just make my hair stand on end….  I can’t imagine EVER leaving mine home alone.  But then you know your own kids, and if you know they are sensible, there’s no reason why it should be dangerous at 15 or 16, I guess.  There’s a legal age limit too, isn’t there?  Anyone know what it is?

Hmmm…it’s a tricky one isn’t. I don’t remember being left over night before I was 19 (parents were boring and never went anywhere Lol) and I’m pretty sure my youngest brother won’t have been left before he was 16.

Right I’ve just spent ages typing the 2nd part of this response and scrapped it! I was getting all bogged down in ages and whether or not they were responsible for siblings etc but actually now I’ve thought about it I think every family would have to have a different set of criteria. No two families are the same. No two children are the same. I’ve met some pretty mature 16 year olds over the years (some of them parents already) but I’ve also met (and I think back to my own adolescence here too!) some very irresponsible, silly 18 year olds. I think when the time comes for me I will be making my decision based on behaviour. When I feel that they can be trusted then that will be the right time. Hopefully we all know our children well enough to judge correctly. Also, I’ll be taking into account how siblings get along together when the time comes. If my parents had left a certain brother of mine at home with me we’d have killed each other!

Are there any laws relating to children being left overnight? I know leaving them in the daytime is a grey area.

My parents stopped getting babysitters for us when they realized my friend of the same age was herself babysitting for other families’ children! I think we were about 14 or 15.

I think I was about 17 the first time I was left alone overnight and that was for a week when my parents and sister went on holiday.

I wouldnt consider it for my children until a similar age I think.


SAHM to B, R, E, M, S, J, A and A

I believe I was about 14, if I remember rightly.

Long time to go really before this is a consideration for me; would very much depend on the maturity of the little ‘un though.  I do believe in children taking measured risks and if I were to leave the little ‘un at home alone from say 14, then I would make sure there was an adult he could easily reach should he need one - perhaps even get said adult to pop in to check all was ok.

Its a similar situation with my friend’s son who is 15 now, because of her work as a Youth Worker and her husband as a customs officer, there are evenings when the boy is on his own.  I live just around the corner and he knows if he needs anything he can pop by.  If I’m not avilable then there are other people he can contact near by I suppose at the end of th eday, its having that community and support network.

I’m actually dreading when the little ‘un reaches an age when letting him out on his own becomes a consideration.  eeek.  I know he needs the independence, but darn its scary!


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Legally, I think 12 is the minimum, with 14 being the recommended age.  Babysitters under 18 are not legally responsible, so an over 18 is technically in charge, even if they are not present!  It depends on the teenager.  Some 17 year olds will trash the place, while a 14 year old might be perfectly responsible.

So much to consider here.  You may have a mature 16 year old, but a younger child that would play up and not respect the older child’s authority, in which case, would it be fair on the 16 year old to put them in that position?  That was the case with me and and my younger brother anyway.  Also, I guess it depends on how the teen feels about being in the house on his/her own.  I was a very scared teenager come night-time (still am) and the thought of being in that big house down a deserted lane on my own all night would have terrified me and I’m not sure it would have been safe at all.  Would there be help close at hand if there was a fire or any other emergency?  How far away would the parents be etc.

Home educating Mammy to DD aged 13, DS aged 12, DS aged 10, DD aged 7, DD aged 3 and DS aged 2 weeks!!  grin

Hmmm, thanks grin 

I’m still not sure, guess i’ll cross the bridge when I come to it.  I was thinking it might happen when eldest is 15/16 but in reality it is too much responsibility I think as she would be on her own with no other siblings…. And of course, it would be scary too.


Mummy to four little ones

My 13 year old might just be ready by the time he’s 36!  He’s just to dotty for his own good…....  LOL He’s one of those kids who seem spaced out all the time, realy sweet but on another planet….

It really does depend on maturity and situation… I know thats not much help.

Ah yes, now my brother and I were left for a couple of nights at ages 15 and 18 having been judged to be pretty sensible. But we swam in the river right where we were always told not to go and both ended up really sick ( my brother on a sneaky night out with friends). Turned out it was just down from the sewage treatment works but we thought we were invincible. Teenagers?!

I remember when i was a kid (long time ago, LOL) My mom used to leave my brother and sister and i home alone. My brother was the oldest 14, I was 12 and my sister was 7. I guess it depends on how comfortable the parents are and how responsible the child in charge is, but i think now there is a legal age limit. I think its 14 - not too sure though

There is no legal age limit - as it is down to individual maturity etc. I guess you have to ask yourself questions like:

Would they know what to do if :
someone came to the door?
Called on the phone?
There was a fire?
Someone sustained a serious injury?
They got frightened?

Are they likely to fight, get into mischief, cause damage?

Do you have neighbours they could call upon if an emergency arose?

Nic x

Nic, with 5 boys and counting…...

For me, its not advisable to leave your children overnight alone if they are below 16 years old..  oh oh

I have two kids. 5 and 3 years old.. and when they reach the age of 17, I think that would be the right time to leave them alone.

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