Leaving Your Child Home Alone

Law Blog

If you have older children, you may be ready to leave them alone at home for short periods of time. Whether it is just until you get home from work or so you can take a quick trip to the store, leaving them alone is a good idea under the right circumstances because it will help them develop independence. If you are considering this big decision, continue reading for some things that you need to consider.

When Is It Appropriate to Leave a Child Home Alone?

There is no single law that applies to all of Canada that dictates when it is legal to leave your child alone at home. In general, you shouldn't leave a child under the age of 10 at home alone. Be sure that you check with the laws in your area, such as with Dunsmuir Ridler, because it may be considered illegal to leave your child home alone where you live.

In addition to age, you should talk with your child and make sure they are comfortable being alone. You should consider whether or not your child is a rule follower, can be considered responsible, behaves well, and how your child reacts to life in general. If you do not have a way to contact your child while they are alone at home, you shouldn't leave them.

Safety Tips for the Child That Is Home Alone

  • Be sure that your child knows their address and your phone number as well as where you will be.
  • Keep a list of emergency numbers and people that your child can call, like neighbors or family members, on the refrigerator.
  • If you can trust your neighbors, let them know that you child will be home alone. They can be a safe place for your child to go as needed.
  • Check in with your child often if you are going to be away for more than an hour.
  • Make sure that your child is familiar with how to lock and unlock the doors and the windows, and teach them emergency evacuation procedures.
  • Tell your child that they cannot leave the home unless it is an emergency.
  • Make sure that your child knows that they are not allowed to use the stove, oven, fireplace, or matches while you are away.

There is no easy way to tell that everything will be alright if you leave your child home alone. If you have no options and your child is of legal age, you can take precautions to make sure your child is the safest possible.


8 December 2014