Home-alone kids put at risk – police

Eastern Courier 25 July 2008

Police warn parents and caregivers against endangering their children’s safety by leaving them home alone before and after school and during the holidays. Howick police youth and community services sergeant Keith Olsen says it is common for children to come home to an empty house or be left alone during the holidays because their parents or caregivers are at work. He says during the school holidays an eight-year-old called 111 because she was home alone and “really scared”. “Her father had gone out to do some business,” he says. She was taken to the nearest police station and the father received a warning.

It is against the law to leave children under 14 without making reasonable provision for their care and supervision. What is considered ‘reasonable’ also takes into account the circumstances and length of time the children are left alone. By law parents are required to assess all the circumstances and make sure that any child left alone is safe and in no danger otherwise they can be prosecuted or Child, Youth and Family can become involved.