Welcome to the Navan Community Association Safety Committee’s second monthly column!
This month, we will focus on the often asked question: “when can I leave my child home alone?”
Since every child has a different level of maturity, judgement and autonomy, there is no specific age. However, the Ontario Child and Family Services Act states that: children under the age of 10 years should not be left alone and; anyone who has care of a child under 16 years of age shall not leave the child without making provisions for his/her supervision and care that is reasonable in the circumstances. Furthermore, the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa recommends that children less than 12 years of age not be left alone without supervision. In all cases, when determining whether or not to leave a child home alone, parents must consider the following: the child’s age and developmental level, the time of day and length of time the child will be alone, the location of the home (safe neighbourhood), the child’s comfort level with being left alone, the child’s knowledge of emergency situations and whether the child has a babysitting course.
It is recommended that parents evaluate their children’s abilities when determining if they are ready to be left alone. Play the “what if” game with your child; where you describe or act out a situation that could happen while your child is alone, such as: a fire, a stranger at the door, a
power outage, getting hurt, etc… Parents should also teach their children how to answer the phone or door, never to tell a caller or visitor that they are home alone, how to call 911 and where to go for immediate help if needed.
For more information on this topic, please go to the following link: http://www.ottawapolice.ca/en/safety-and-crime-prevention/Leaving-Your-Child-HomeAlone.asp
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