Is it ok to leave a 4 year old at home while you do the school run? AIBU?!

(148 Posts)
3MonthMaid Tue 14-May-13 08:20:33

Ok so I don't want to sound judgey, but I am genuinely concerned about this. My neighbour has started leaving her 4 year old DD at home in the flat whilst she collects her older son from school.

We live very close to school, but as its a huge school it can easily take half an hour at times. The classes are late coming out, the teacher wants a word etc etc.

It should be added that the little girl in question is pretty feisty. I've seen her climb up the fridge, run herself baths, open the front door etc.

I'm just concerned- on the other hand I'm wondering if its me being too over cautious? My DD is a few years older and I wouldn't do it...

MardyBra Tue 14-May-13 08:21:20


starfishmummy Tue 14-May-13 08:21:47

No, I don't think you are being unreasonable. She shouldn't do it

God no!

BramblyHedge Tue 14-May-13 08:22:12

I wouldn't leave my seven year old let alone my four year old.

SkinnybitchWannabe Tue 14-May-13 08:22:17

No way. Ive only just starting letting my 10 year old stay at home when I nip out.

I started leaving mine for this length of time once they were ten. After going through what to do in various eventualities and making sure they knew how to call my mobile from our home phone.

megandraper Tue 14-May-13 08:22:49

Not okay and I would think illegal. I can see how it would be tempting but she mustn't do it. Could you offer to have the little girl at your flat some days?

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Tue 14-May-13 08:22:58

YANBU it sounds like an accident is waiting to happen.

Of course it isn't safe. You need to tell her that she mustn't do it - and if she carries on you need to ring Social services. That child is too young to keep herself safe.

Yonihadtoask Tue 14-May-13 08:23:36


It is ok to leave a child alone when the parent judges that the child is responsible enough to left.

A 4 yo is not.

AshokanFarewell Tue 14-May-13 08:23:43

No. She is too young to know not to open the door to strangers, not to wander off, what to do in a fire etc.

mumschoc Tue 14-May-13 08:23:47

OMG no! What if there was a fire.

MrsMelons Tue 14-May-13 08:24:03

no, I wouldn't leave my very sensible 7 YO either. Its very lazy IMO!

Fairylea Tue 14-May-13 08:25:13

No way.

DontMeanToBeRudeBut Tue 14-May-13 08:26:38

No it's not ok. I can understand the temptation but it isn't safe.

pooka Tue 14-May-13 08:27:37

No. I wouldn't do this.

I have left my age 7 and a half ds1 alone for 15-20 mins. But take ds2 with me (he's nearly 4). DD is now nearly 10 and walks to shops or home from close friend on her own.

waikikamookau Tue 14-May-13 08:27:38

are you going to offer to have the 4 year old?

yegodsandlittlefishes Tue 14-May-13 08:32:12

No, it isn't ok. However, if she is so feisty, you can see how it would be difficult to get her out if she doesn't want to go. Do you go to the school at the same time? Could you offer your parenting skills ( bribes , smiles, rewards for good behaviour) and suggest you all go together?
Going forward, is there a local school or church that would run a parenting course? Sounds like the mum could do with some wider support and advice before it turns into a bigger problem.

Dawndonna Tue 14-May-13 08:37:11

WTAF! Four. Dangerous and stupid behaviour.

BeckAndCall Tue 14-May-13 08:39:12

This is absolutely not on. Someone will know better than I do but surely that is neglect, or am I being too simplistic? If something, god forbid, did happen, the mum could be facing charges.

ArabellaBeaumaris Tue 14-May-13 08:44:27

The length of time is the issue for me. I can do my school run in about 8 min round trip & I would possibly leave my 4 yo at home, half an hour is way too long though.

diddl Tue 14-May-13 08:54:53

I wouldn't do it.

How old is the boy-does he need collecting?

Not sure that it's up to OP to offer free childcare/a solution, though?

CherylTrole Tue 14-May-13 08:59:44

YADNBU she should bring the 4 year old with her. Ridiculous.

Sirzy Tue 14-May-13 09:00:14

why isn't she just taking the 4 year old with her?

RubyGates Tue 14-May-13 09:01:26

No no no no no no noooooooooo.

<Observes 4 year old doing 4 year old things>

KittensandKids Tue 14-May-13 09:02:28

Seriously?? You don't want to sound judgey? she is 4!!!

valiumredhead Tue 14-May-13 09:04:33

Nooooo it's bloody not!!

I would ring SS anon and chat to someone. I would NOT trust the school to keep my name out of things if I talked to them and all manner of trouble could be in store if it got out.

AllThatJazzAgain Tue 14-May-13 09:06:44

This would count as a child protection and safeguarding issue.
Absolutely not acceptable!!

Samu2 Tue 14-May-13 09:07:13

No no no no no

Call SS.

innermuddle Tue 14-May-13 09:07:17

That is really scary. I wouldn't leave my 4 year old alone at all.
I assume you have children at the same school. Could you offer to take turns collecting the children/waiting with younger children?
Do you feel able to discuss this with her? If not, then maybe you should mention it to the school or health visitor. The 4 yr old is not anywhere near mature enough to be left home alone for so long. It sounds like your neighbour needs more support or advice.

SissySpacekAteMyHamster Tue 14-May-13 09:07:41

Hell no, wouldn't even leave my 8 year old!

mrsjay Tue 14-May-13 09:07:49

it is never ok why is she so lazy why doesn't she take her child with her ?

HousewifeFromHeaven Tue 14-May-13 09:09:17

I am a lackadaisical parent but even I wouldn't do that.

ShadowStorm Tue 14-May-13 09:11:31


A 4 yr old is too young to be responsible for their own safety.

kotinka Tue 14-May-13 09:11:42

NO! yabu

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MegBusset Tue 14-May-13 09:12:48

No, it's absolutely not OK and it's not up to the OP to offer childcare either. She should just take the 4yo with her like the majority of other parents have to!

kotinka Tue 14-May-13 09:13:07

here is the missing n from my last post blush


WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 14-May-13 09:13:32

Not ok - tell her not to do it as v dangerous and illegal and warn that if the other DC tell school she will get definite ss involvement. That will hopefully frighten her off.

Then if she doesn't stop, tell school.

sweetmelissa Tue 14-May-13 09:14:39

This is absolutely not on. Someone will know better than I do but surely that is neglect, or am I being too simplistic? If something, god forbid, did happen, the mum could be facing charges.

It wasn't for the McCanns?!!?

mrsjay Tue 14-May-13 09:15:13

I cant understand why ANYBODY would think that was alright confused

Snazzynewyear Tue 14-May-13 09:15:22

No it's not ok, and agree that it's not up to the OP to offer to take the child either. The parents should take care of both their kids properly as other parents of two kids do.

cory Tue 14-May-13 09:16:14

I am usually all for independence, but I think 4 is too young. I would be very uncomfortable with that.

Rockinhippy Tue 14-May-13 09:17:23

Mine has always been very sensible & older than her years & could be trusted just to sit quietly & read or watch TV - but there is no way in hell I would have left her home alone at that ageshock - she was 8 before I would even consider doing that just to pop to our local shop, all of 10 minutes tops.

I believe its not actually illegal though, but seeing things like this make me think it ought to be sad

BlueberryHill Tue 14-May-13 09:18:06

YANBU, way to young. How difficult is it to get a 4 yo out to pick up another child. It is called parenting. Very, very lazy and dangerous.

Rockinhippy Tue 14-May-13 09:18:36

PS I second mentioning it too the School

FJL203 Tue 14-May-13 09:18:53

"are you going to offer to have the 4 year old?"


Why on earth should she?!

3MonthMaid, YANBU at all.

DeafLeopard Tue 14-May-13 09:19:25

4yo is way too young.

FJL203 Tue 14-May-13 09:19:49

Another vote for mentioning it to the School.

randgirl Tue 14-May-13 09:21:26

No way, i only leave my 10 year old at home to pop out quick if my 14 year old is here too.....

HOw old is the older child? If the school is so close cant the older child just walk home?

Why does she leave her home alone (if its the am school run is she still asleep?)

hamdangle Tue 14-May-13 09:21:28

No it's not OK and not for any length of time either. It takes, on average, three minutes for a fire to completely gut a kitchen if a toaster goes on fire. What possible reason could she have for not taking her too?

SirBoobAlot Tue 14-May-13 09:25:52

How exactly do you know that's what she's doing? Have you seen her shutting her DD in the flat? Heard her talking about it on the play ground? She could have dropped her off with someone else / have someone in the flat with the DD during the school run.

If she is leaving her DD alone then of course it's an issue.

SundaysGirl Tue 14-May-13 09:30:37

No its not ok.

miemohrs Tue 14-May-13 09:33:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bollockstoit Tue 14-May-13 09:35:47

No, unfortunately it's not ok to leave a 4 year old alone for any length of time (my life would be sooo much easier if it was!)

5madthings Tue 14-May-13 09:37:05

No its not ok and i am quite laid back about these things and will leave my eight year old if i nip out sometimes, but four?!!! No.just no.

McNewPants2013 Tue 14-May-13 09:38:47

No it's not acceptable a call to SS is in order.

lionheart Tue 14-May-13 09:39:51

Not a chance.

cory Tue 14-May-13 09:42:32

For once, MN is unanimous and there is no sign of the usual division into more laidback and more cautious parents though representatives of both camps are clearly on the thread. I think you can take it that nobody would find this a good idea.

pictish Tue 14-May-13 09:42:53

No way. What if there was a fire for example??
Not a hope in Hell would I be doing that!

pictish Tue 14-May-13 09:43:17

Oh and I am lax. As fuck.

waikikamookau Tue 14-May-13 09:44:45

yabu to start a thread with a ridiculous question. tbh.
and don't just judge.
do something proactive.

ValiumQueen Tue 14-May-13 09:44:57


The school will not be able to say or do anything either. They will say if you are concerned then to call SS yourself.

Please call Social Services.

mrsjay Tue 14-May-13 09:45:21

I am lax too maybe not as fuck grin but I am pretty laid back ,

TheFallenNinja Tue 14-May-13 09:48:14

Not in a million years. No, a billion, maybe even a zillion.

AmberSocks Tue 14-May-13 09:51:59

no yanbu,its not safe and im sure its illegal,why the fuck cant she take the kid with her?

pictish Tue 14-May-13 09:52:18

I once had this conversation with a friend/aquaintance of mine...maybe a couple of years ago. She was doing something very similar, and on the day I found out (as she casually mentioned it to me) I just looked at her astonished and said "What if a fire broke out?!"
I looked at her steadily while her face registered the image that was playing out in her head, then raised my eyebrows and nodded. Yup. Not good.

I still see her. She doesn't do it any more. We still get on well just as before.

I would approach the woman myself and risk a fuck off, before calling SS.

BarbarianMum Tue 14-May-13 09:54:34

Absolutely NOT OK - and I'm one of the lax brigade too.

It is not your responsibility to offer childcare, can't imagine why people are suggesting that. It is not difficult to take a 4 year old on the school run, millions of us do it!

Speak to her, or if you can't (and you are reasonably sure of your facts - no visiting granny around etc) then call NSPCC or SS.

ArabellaBeaumaris Tue 14-May-13 09:56:24

SirBoobs has a good point - I will often do the school run without my 20m DC, because DP is at home due to his shifts, or a friend/grandparent has popped in or she's asleep in her cot so it is worth checking it out.

TerrysNo2 Tue 14-May-13 09:59:43

I don't understand why people take these risks for a slightly easier life.

A few parents at DS's school leave their babies in the car when they do pick up, the pre-school is in a building behind the main school so you can't see the cars from there and it can take 10 minutes to collect them and leave.

I want to scream at them.

Snazzynewyear Tue 14-May-13 09:59:50

waikika don't see the problem with asking questions and thinking it over before you 'do something proactive'.

Zingy123 Tue 14-May-13 10:37:41

My parents neighbour did this frequently. One day the child climbed out of the bedroom window. Luckily he was unhurt by it. Some neighbours called the police and they had a visit from social services. They still do it all the time now when he takes the wife to work. They obviously are not bothered about getting into trouble.

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 14-May-13 10:43:00

Valium, I think school would report.

valiumredhead Tue 14-May-13 10:47:02

Yes the school would be duty bound to report it but I wouldn't trust them to keep my name out of it so I would report anon to SS.

anklebitersmum Tue 14-May-13 10:48:36

Oh my word! YANBU. Make the phone call.

nokidshere Tue 14-May-13 10:54:38

Whilst I am in the "no never" brigade its worth pointing out that there is no legal age at which you can or cannot leave your child home alone.

If the child was to be hurt whilst left alone then the parent would almost certainly be prosecuted for neglect, but if the child remains safe then nothing would be done apart from someone maybe pointing out the obvious dangers to a seemigly oblivious parent.

If you have a safeguarding issue with any child you need to call SS - not much point reporting it to the school. "I heard it from so and so who got it from so and so" is far less effective than you ringing with a genuine complaint.

Fakebook Tue 14-May-13 10:56:21

Wth? Why can't she take a 4 year old with her to the school? confused yanbu.

imaginethat Tue 14-May-13 10:59:05

I think this is a lot more common than we may imagine, and that children from very young ages are left day and/or night by parents who are naive about the risks or who are simply not coping.

You can understand the temptation to leave a baby who is likely to stay asleep till you return, or a pre schooler engrossed in a movie. How nice to run errands without fussing about car seats or dealing with whining. Until the unthinkable happens. Which it can, and does

valiumredhead Tue 14-May-13 11:00:41

You can't keep putting your child at risk though nokid if this is what's happening.

There is ever reason to report it to the school, the school are duty bound to report it. It's up to the OP wether she trusts the school to keep her name out of it or not.

everlong Tue 14-May-13 11:03:42

You know it isn't right.

What are you going to do?

RooneyMara Tue 14-May-13 11:10:12

What Melissa said actually.

valiumredhead Tue 14-May-13 11:12:15

Sorry would - 2 Valiums confusion! grin

valiumredhead Tue 14-May-13 11:12:46

The school will not be able to say or do anything either. They will say if you are concerned then to call SS yourself

Simply not true.

Loa Tue 14-May-13 11:12:49

Are you assuming or has she told you she is doing this?

My DH works away most weeks - every so often at random points he is around in the week and I will leave the youngest to do school run - she has on occasion stood in the window looking forlorn while ignoring her Dad in same room as her.

Even without her forlorn looks being witnessed every single time someone will ask what I've done with the other DC.

If you are sure - then YANBU.

I don't leave my 7 year old despite her being very sensible - it does get to to a pain when only one DC is ill and I can't get anyone to help so have to walk in with all including the ill DC to school.

Don't any of the other Mums ask where her 4 year old is??! I left my 2 year old in the car once right outside school,when she had had a really bad night and had fallen asleep, so didn't want to wake her, I must have had 10 people ask where she was!!

of course it's not alright, it's a terrible incident waiting to happen.

Be careful of warning her though, if she takes no heed then you ring SS she will know it's you. Up to you, I'd just mention it to the school, they could say they niticed the 4 year old wasn't there?

threesypeesy Tue 14-May-13 11:15:45

Absolutely not j don't let my nearly 10year old stay and home and she's very sensable and grown up for her age

valiumredhead Tue 14-May-13 11:16:40

Why not three?

SanityClause Tue 14-May-13 11:26:12

I know someone who is a locksmith.

He has been called out by various organisations such as housing associations and utilities companies to open doors where parents have locked their children inside, in order to "keep them safe" while they go out for whatever reason. shock

EssexGurl Tue 14-May-13 11:35:13

YANBU. I left my 4yo yesterday to go and post a letter - post box literally outside the house. She opened the door and came out without knickers on to tell me she had done a wee. I know I should have locked the door but never imagined she would come out. I won't be leaving her again - and that was for a matter of seconds.

However, I hate taking her on the school run. She plays on the field, runs away and makes life miserable for me and DS. So can understand why people would leave them. Just know you shouldn't.

MrsMelons Tue 14-May-13 11:43:35

I can't believe someone suggested that you could offer to watch the 4YO - why should she???

I think when MN is unanimous like this you know you should do something!

I did not know that you could get prosecuted for leaving a child alone - why do people you see/hear about on the news who leave their children alone or let them out alone at a young age who then get abducted etc not get prosecuted? How could the police possibly determine when someone is being irresponsible or it is just an accident if there is no age limit? Genuine question - I had no idea people could be prosecuted.

everlong Tue 14-May-13 12:02:17

OP are you coming back?

Rockinhippy Tue 14-May-13 12:55:26

MrsMelons there is no law on this, you can't be prosecuted. The only time they could prosecute is if something bad happens as a direct result of neglect, the law is a really grey area on this, so thats unlikely to happen, especially if a otherwise good family have just paid the highest price for their stupidity sad

I was thinking on that aspect of it & it is a difficult one, you can imagine if the law suddenly decreed that leaving a DC under 10 was breaking the law - then that suddenly makes it okay to leave all DCs 10 & older - which obviously isn't always safe - for instance, my pyromaniac DB certainly would have burnt the house down - make the law that only older DCs can be left alone - then how does that help the sensible, older minded ones, as i was & my own DD become independent

There does need to be a legal answer, in order to make some braindead parents act responsibly, but I don't know what it isconfused

hopingnothopping Tue 14-May-13 13:02:49

I suppose you have to think what the alternatives are. If the mother is otherwise a good mother then perhaps this little girl's life is, on balance, better with her mother than in care even taking this school run issue into account.

But that is an important "if":

Does the little girl seem neglected in any other way? Is she clean and well fed for instance? If the being left home alone is just one of many instances of neglect then you should consider involving SS and some serious concern.

valiumredhead Tue 14-May-13 13:23:23

rock If a mother leaves her child day after day for long periods of time, the child is being neglected. I am pretty sure you can be prosecuted for neglect. They don't just wait until something awful happens, that's why SS intervene with help and support if appropriate.

valiumredhead Tue 14-May-13 13:25:08

hoping there are no alternatives if a 4 year old is being left by themselves. SS do what they can to keep families together they don't usually swoop in and put a child into care.

MrsMelons Tue 14-May-13 13:48:23

Rockin It is a very difficult one, it seems sensible to have an age limit but like you say not all 10 or 11 year olds can be trusted to be left.

I think there is some sort of law that says the children must be able to be in contact with a responsible adult - a friend of mind told me that after a safeguarding course as she was shocked there is no legal age limit.

The GOV.UK site says (paraphrasing) that's it's an Offence to leave a young child where they can be put in danger or be a danger to themselves.
And the parents can be prosecuted.

OP - put yourself in the situation where the 4yo hurts herself or falls or (Heaven forbid) opens the door to someone.

And you've done nothing even though you knew.
I don't think you should look after the child. If the school is near she can take her.
And don't 'pre-warn' her.
She must be aware what she's doing isn't right.
And you'll get the blame if she's reported (even if someone else reports her).

I can't imagine that SS involvment would lead to this child being removed if there are no other issues. But really there's no earthly reason why this child doesn't go with her confused.

Actually the schools distance makes no difference.
Presumably she leaves her because it's not far.
But other people manage to take small children out to school.

Rockinhippy Tue 14-May-13 14:11:54

I think there is some sort of law that says the children must be able to be in contact with a responsible adult - a friend of mind told me that after a safeguarding course as she was shocked there is no legal age limit

I hope that is right mrsMelons, that at least means leaving younger DCs as with the OPs situation illegal, you can't rely on a preschooler to be able to accurately use a telephone or even read a phone number to contact someone - some can of course, (mine could) but I think that's more likely to be rare, rather than the norm.

I was shocked too when I found out there was no law - back when I was getting nagged to death by the then 7 yr old who wanted to be left in alone to watch TV whilst I went out shopping - I so wanted a law to back my saying no up, as she hates breaking rules grin

I do wonder about that though Valium if its an otherwise very well cared for DC being left for say 20 minutes a day, as there is no law, could they really cite that as neglectconfused - I would love to think they could, but can they - I would love to see someone with SS links to answer that - though I would like to think in most cases, them/the school "having a word" might be enough to put the wind up parents like the OPs neighbour e ought for them to stop

Floggingmolly Tue 14-May-13 14:12:58

Why should op offer to have the child? Her mum should be taking her on the school run, there seems very little reason not to?

olivertheoctopus Tue 14-May-13 14:13:42

No, YANBU. Not sure what you actually do about it though. Presuambly the 4yo will be starting school in Sept anyway?

Flicktheswitch Tue 14-May-13 14:14:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Still18atheart Tue 14-May-13 14:24:41

YANBU That is far too young.

valiumredhead Tue 14-May-13 14:38:01

oliver if the mother thinks this behaviour is acceptable she might but the child at risk in other ways after she has started school.

Of course that's if the child is being left at all. That's why SS need t be told so they can assess the situation properly.

MadMumToThree Tue 14-May-13 14:59:12

School run may only be 4 minutes or whatever but what about the day there's a hold up or you get caught up in an accident? NevermNever right to leave a child that young alone

CoffeePleaseSir Tue 14-May-13 15:06:42

No, never ever, not in a million years, op are you going to have a word with your neighbour or report this before something awful happens.

Wonder where the op is?

sarahtigh Tue 14-May-13 15:17:19

this is obviously not right

I think a 4 year old could be left for like 2 minutes in the house while you went to garden to getting washing in, or you went into your own garage to get screwdriver or to take your bin to the end of the drive or to be left watching TV while you are in kitchen but not while you go across to school even if it is opposite house, unless of course you mean standing in your gate just watching the older child until you see them go through school gate

you are not close to school if it takes 30 minutes, it only takes me 40 minutes to do school run and it is 8 miles away

Guitargirl Tue 14-May-13 15:59:51

ArabellaBeaumaris - please tell me I am having a sense of humour failure and you don't really leave a 20 month old asleep at home while you do the school run...?

spidersandslugs Tue 14-May-13 16:04:07

Yanbu. 10 is a more sensible age to leave a child on his/her own for a couple hours during the day.

halcyondays Tue 14-May-13 16:06:22

yanbu, far too young to be alone in the house, why doesnt she just take her with her?

pleasestoptalking Tue 14-May-13 16:11:50

I wouldn't leave a 4-year-old at home alone. I have popped something down to a neighbour who is 4 doors down the road but that is the extent of it.

I think some people chose the easy option over the safest option - such as the discussion over whether to leave children in the car when you go to the shops. Your kids are precious, why would you potentially put them at risk to save you a bit of hassle?

SomethingOnce Tue 14-May-13 16:15:13

Fuck, no, judge away. YANBU.

batfuttocks Tue 14-May-13 16:16:56

Guitargirl I was also wondering the same thing.....

Alwayscheerful Tue 14-May-13 16:23:58

Guitargirl & batfuttocks - the 20 month old is left with her partner, not alone.

Faxthatpam Tue 14-May-13 16:31:46

Always She actually did say "or is asleep in her cot", but it was crossed out... so hoping she didn't actually mean it!

Hulababy Tue 14-May-13 16:44:09

Schools WILL act on information like this btw. It does not have to be about a child in their school - they will act on information about siblings and the whole family of a child in the school. I know this is the case. We have dealt with similar in recent times.

3MonthMaid Tue 14-May-13 17:00:18

Sorry have been at work all day.
To answer a few questions - I am not making any assumptions, twice now I have asked her where the younger child is and she has told me she is at home watching tv and she is "fine" etc. I know this lady quite well btw.

I can't really offer to have the child myself as I'm also on a school run and then rushing to work. I have offered to take the older child (who is 6) to school with my DD, but understandably he wants him mum to take him... Plus this is more a pick up issue than a morning issue.

I was also worried by the fact that once whilst on the morning run, she said she had left the 4 y.o in the car down the road while she bought the older one into school playground. The 4 y.o appeared in the playground a few minutes later. She had got out of the car and wandered down the road and in. Huge crowds at that time of the morning and I was horrified that she was on her own out there on the street. The mum wasn't at all concerned though...

I have to say, this mum is a very good mum, she just has slightly different ways of doing things. She is from an Eastern European country and often claims that they do things differently.

walesmum Tue 14-May-13 17:04:37

I would ring Social Services first thing tomorrow morning and tell them the time ( so they can turn up ) she is being left alone , especially if it's going on regularly . You would never forgive yourself if anything happened to the child. 4 years old is far , far , too young to be left for any significant length of time , even if she does seem quite feisty. I'm worried for the child just sitting here merely thinking about it . I think because i work with children (in that age group and younger ) and i have to do risk assessments for my place of work , basically everything is a risk where very young children are concerned. Children have more accidents with small toddler proof chairs than you could imagine, so god help that this child has access to the kitchen , appliances, water etc etc .

Shutupanddrive Tue 14-May-13 19:11:36

No way!

Molehillmountain Tue 14-May-13 19:31:25

No way should a four year old be left alone. It would be lovely to go without ds on the school run sometimes but it just isn't okay.

mummy1973 Tue 14-May-13 19:40:38

angry It is not OK and your obvious concern must mean you know that to. Please do something.

Oldraver Tue 14-May-13 20:24:45

No its not ok, not ever. The Mum may say that they do things differently, but she needs to realise that she risks being bought to the attention of SS if she continues to so this.

IRCL Tue 14-May-13 20:29:34

4?! Jesus

Way too young! I would be concerned.

Lavenderandlimes Tue 14-May-13 20:30:33

Refer to social services

Lavenderandlimes Tue 14-May-13 20:31:30

Refer to social services

VerySmallSqueak Tue 14-May-13 20:34:12

I think I would speak with her and see what her reaction is.
I would contact SS then if needed.This definitely needs acting on.

Whatever happens the 4 year old cannot continue to be left alone like this.

ouryve Tue 14-May-13 20:35:33

just no. not even for 5 minutes, never mind half an hour.

ValiumQueen Tue 14-May-13 20:45:45

Hula, in my recent experience, the school refused to contact Social Services when I reported concerns about two of their (sibling) pupils. I was told I needed to contact them myself as the school could not anonymously report concerns expressed by another parent.

I think it is appropriate to report concerns directly in this case, and SS will contact the School as a matter of course.

There will likely be different policies in different areas, even though we should all be working together to protect children.

In my work I am expected to report any concerns regardless of who tells me information.

jellybeans Tue 14-May-13 21:10:42

No way. I don't let my 4 YO out of sight as he too is a climber etc. I wouldn't give him a choice either about the school run. All of my DC have had to be dragged come on school runs, swimming, brownies run etc.

Remotecontrolduck Tue 14-May-13 22:11:39

I'm very lax but not ok at 4, at all.

They simply won't be able to understand not to answer the door, wander off, panic as mum isn't there, not play with the cooker etc.

So, so many things wrong with this.

SageYourResoluteOracle Tue 14-May-13 22:50:52

Last year there was a knock on my door and it was the neighbour's wee one. He was four at the time and he'd been left alone. I took him inside mine as had DD with me (I know his family to speak to) I didn't have a number for child's parents so I had no choice but to call the non emergency police number. Poor thing was at mine for 40 minutes before dad turned up but the police used cc TV to ascertain what time dad had actually left our building (we live in flats). He'd been left for quite a lot longer than 40 minutes. AFAIK, the dad was actually cautioned. Things have been helluva awkward with the family but I'd do it again if I had to. Thank god it was my door he knocked on. Thank god he didn't get out into the grounds and then the road. . . I work with children so I could also have been in hot water had I done nothing.

OP- please call social services. It sounds as if the lady is aware that what's she's doing isn't good. I think that people's primary concern should be child welfare and not worry over ramifications in terms of what others may think, hard though that may be.

Gosh, and I'm pretty lax, left DS2 at 10 with DS3, 7 for 20 mins alone at home. But a pre schooler! shock

flanbase Wed 15-May-13 00:09:24

A 4yr old should be left alone at home. From what you say the child isn't being properly parented and this needs to be signalled to the authorities right away.

BegoniaBampot Wed 15-May-13 00:11:30

To me a four yr old is a baby. I'd have to seriously consider reporting this and I hate interfering. have just started leaving my sensible 10 yr old alone a few times for this amount of time.

thanksamillion Wed 15-May-13 08:08:10

Definitely not. Just for some perspective, I do live in E Europe and it wouldn't be that unusual for someone to leave a 4yo for a while by themselves here. However, I live in the countryside where everyone looks out for/knows everyone and there is very little traffic and people don't have much stuff in their houses. Even here attitudes are changing and people are recognising that it isn't really acceptable.

Can you try and speak to her again and spell out the consequences. Even if she would do this in her home country it isn't acceptable in the UK.

miffybun73 Wed 15-May-13 10:40:22

No way, even if it was only 5 minutes. YANBU.

sarahtigh Wed 15-May-13 10:59:45

schools dentists doctors etc, can't do anonymous reporting , members of public can, so that is why school can't report hearsay

a 4 year old is too young to leave but in my opinion a 4 year old is not a baby , my DD is almost 3.5 and I would consider she has been a little girl rather than baby since just before she was three when she was speaking fairly fluently, etc

valiumredhead Wed 15-May-13 11:23:05

The schools CAN report to SS and have a duty of care to do so. Any school that says it can't is not doing its job properly.

They CAN report anon, they can say that a 'parents at their school has raised concerns about another parent.'

fuzzpig Wed 15-May-13 11:34:23

No way, of course it's not ok.

It's just so LAZY even before you consider any danger! Having to juggle younger kids is a normal part of having more than one child. You can't just opt out and take daft risks instead angry

RambleOn Wed 15-May-13 11:49:50

In my case, the lazier option is to take my 4yo with me. The alternative of leaving him behind would result in hours of cleaning/mopping up water/refilling cupboards etcsmile

CocktailQueen Wed 15-May-13 11:52:38

God. No. I've only just started leaving my 9yo when I have to.

mummy1973 Wed 29-May-13 11:37:09

OP...what did you do? Been on my mind this one.

littlewhitebag Wed 29-May-13 12:21:02

It is not illegal to lave a child alone but the parent will be responsible if anything should happen. 4 is far too young to be left alone for any length of time at all. Report to SS ( i am a SW and this would be looked into). Or call the police and let them know she is on her own. They can act more quickly. However the speed of them getting there will depend on what else they are doing at that time.

SuburbanRhonda Wed 29-May-13 12:55:44

valium we had a situation at school where a neighbour of one of our parents anonymously reported a whole list of concerns around neglect to us, regarding a child at our school. The head teacher tried in vain to get him to phone SS himself, but he refused.

We were really torn as, although we had concerns ourselves, we were monitoring them as they were fairly low level.

In the end, the HT asked me to phone SS. They went round to interview dad, but he denied everything, and from then on he refused to engage with anyone in school except his child's class teacher. SS closed the case.

Mutley77 Wed 29-May-13 13:42:20

valium - schools could report hearsay but it wouldn't be taken very seriously by SS. Hence why they will be asking the concerned parent to report themselves (this would be a much clearer path of referral as the parent can explain and answer any further questions that SS may ask - therefore more likely to get a better outcome for the child).

3 monthmaid - I would ring the police when the child is home alone as littlewhitebag has suggested, SS would then have clear evidence - rather than going round saying "someone told us you leave your child alone" and neighbour responding "no I don't".

atrcts Wed 29-May-13 23:14:50

The law on leaving your child alone:

The law doesn’t say an age when you can leave a child on their own, but it’s an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk.
Use your judgement on how mature your child is before you decide to leave them alone.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) says:

children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time
children under 16 shouldn’t be left alone overnight
babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone

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