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Children left alone

It can be a lonely and frightening experience

If a child is left alone it can be a sad, lonely, frightening and dangerous experience. There are possible risks, both physical and emotional.

The level of responsibility which is given to the child to look after themselves and to somehow manage whatever may happen is impossible for a younger child. They may say that they do not mind being left and may find it exciting at first, but they cannot fully know the possible risks and how to handle them.

Everyday things that happen in life such as hunger, a storm, the phone ringing or someone coming to the front door can cause problems. An accident, feeling ill or a power cut may occur and these may not be issues that a child could cope with.
If they are told, the Police and/or Children’s Services may take action if they think that a child has been neglected by being left alone.


The NSPCC have guidelines advising that children under 13 should not be left alone. This does not have the force of Law but it is suggested as good practice.

As a child grows up and becomes more responsible, leaving them alone after school, or during the day is okay as long as they are prepared. If your child is 13 or over and you feel they can deal with this, it is important that they know where you are and who to contact in an emergency.

What is neglect?

Neglect happens when a parent or carer fails to meet a child’s basic needs of food, shelter, security, attention or protection.


You notice a child who appears to be left alone for long periods of time.


Is there immediate risk of harm to the child?


If you are worried contact Caerphilly Intake and Child Protection Team on
0808 100 1727.