Would you leave your five year old on their own to run an errand?
How young is too young for a child to be left home alone? One mom has kicked off an online debate about that exact topic after asking other parents if it’s ok to leave a five-year-old at home on their own.
The mom took to a forum on the parenting to ask whether they thought it was acceptable for her friend to leave her daughter, five, alone in the house while her mother runs an errand.
“Leaving a child age 5 alone in house while running an errand taking 15 mins. This friend seems to do this a lot.,” the mom wrote under the title post ‘Neglect or just cr*p parenting?’
The writer went on to explain that though she hadn’t witnessed it directly she’d discovered her friend does this because she’d mentioned her little one was upset with her when she woke up from a nap to find herself on her own ... while mom was out running an errand.
“Was mortified when I first heard but thought probably it was a one off incident, as the mother's husband was away, but apparently it's a regular thing…I am increasingly concerned. Should I be.?”
The post seem to spark a debate about the dangers of leaving a child home alone. One responder said,“I’d be concerned. Hell would freeze over before I left my 5yo unattended like that - what if something happened to her while she was out? She could get hit by a bus for all she knew, and her child would be alone at home and frightened. It doesn’t bear thinking about,” one mom wrote.
“The thing is, the risks may be few but the outcome could possibly be catastrophic. Why would you bother risking it? Your child gets distressed, wanders the streets, gets run over, all the way up to being kidnapped, burned to death in a fire etc,” added another.
But not everyone thought it was wrong to leave a five year old unattended. One lady commented, “I have a friend who does this, leaves her 2yr, 6yr, & 4yr alone while she pops out to shop down the road. People know their children and we need to remember there are children that young in other countries fending entirely for themselves. Neglect and abuse? No. Potentially negligent?? Yes."
One mom explained, “I used to leave my five year old for about 10 mins to do an errand. I’m not a neglectful parent. I would never have left her asleep to wake up on her own. I’d tell her where I was going and how long I’d be. She’s now still alive at 8 and I am happy to leave her for longer periods. She’s a sensible child.”
The post also sparked a debate among some of the commenters about whether leaving a child that age alone would be breaking the law? So what are the legalities surrounding leaving a child on their own? Though the law doesn’t seem to specify an age when you can leave a child on their own, in most places, it must be an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at even a slight risk.
What exactly are the laws governing this subject? Some people don't have the sense they were born with and need rules and laws to guide them.
I would definitely not leave a five year old alone in a house. They are curious and full of energy. They like to explore and learn. They might want to learn how a gas stove works or what a lighter or matches can do to the drapes. They may just experiment with painting the dog or shaving the cat. ( I had my dog painted and I only left the room for five minutes). But when I consider a low income single mother, I can see the problems she might have.
Still, isn't a child the most precious gift we are ever given ? And isn't it a sacred trust to protect them with our lives if necessary?