Common Questions - Children 'Home Alone'

Left AlignIs there a minimum age for a babysitter to look after a child and at what age can children be legally left home alone?

There is no specific minimum age of a babysitter (although 14 is often quoted).

Parents or carers must adopt a common-sense policy, with the babysitter being able to look after both him/herself and the child. The same common-sense rule applies to the age at which a child can be left at home alone.

However, you should bear in mind that, in the event of a child being seriously injured while being looked after or on its own, an offence may have been committed under the Children and Young Persons Act, which applies to anyone over the age of 16 who has responsibility for a child under that age and willfully neglects, abandons or exposes the child in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health.