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There is no minimum legal age for leaving a child home alone and it is down to the parent/guardian/carer to make that decision. Common sense would suggest that the child would have to be of an age where they could look after themselves, including coping with an emergency. For example, it would not be appropriate to leave a young child alone, for long periods of time or during the night. The NSPCC provide some further guidance on this subject, please see the website in Related Information.


No there is no minimum legal age to be a babysitter. It is the responsibility of the parents to use common sense when making a decision regarding the welfare of their child. In all situations, parents should assess the suitability of the babysitter before you leave any children in their care.

It is worth bearing in mind, that a child under 16 years old cannot be prosecuted for neglect or ill treatment of children in their care. The parents/carers/guardians would be charged in that situation. However, any person who is aged 16 or over and who has responsibility for a child under that age could be prosecuted.

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