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to worry about my neighbours kids being left alone?(74 Posts)
So I'd like to preface this by just explaining that I'm one of those people who reads Mumsnet for the funnies and I don't have kids myself, but I decided to post this here because it's a thing that's been playing on my mind, especially over the last few days and my partner has told me it's not my business and I shouldn't stick my nose in, but I want to get some opinions from people who do have kids.
Just a few facts before I explain what I'm looking for advice on, or looking to be told if I'm being too nosy on. I live in a house that's converted into flats, my partner and I are the only childless couple that live here. The neighbour that lived here when we moved in has two kids, one is about 6 and the other is 4. The other neighbours got here a few months after we did and have a baby, they're not relevant really but I just wanted to point out that the only time these neighbours have ever spoken is over the four year old. The other neighbours are constantly complaining about him because he makes a lot of noise which did annoy my partner and I when we first moved in as well, but we've come to learn that he's actually autstic and his noises are just his way of stimming I guess? Either way we're used to it and it doesn't bother us in the slightest but the other neighbours think he should be quieter and voice this out of their upper window loudly when the little boy is in the garden so we all get to hear it.
When we first moved in, I noticed that Mrs Neighbour works most of the day and Mr Neighbour stays home with the kids and takes them to school, etc etc. I like running in the mornings and when we got settled in I decided I wanted to start again, so this is around eight months ago and I went out for a run one morning and noticed that Mr Neighbour was taking Mrs Neighbour to work in the car, but the kids were nowhere to be seen. Mentioned it to my partner later on that day and he said that because it was so early they probably just leave the kids to sleep, which didn't seem like a big deal to him, but I thought was a bit dangerous because obviously they're locked in their own flat when Mr drives Mrs to work and what if something happens? He said I was worrying too much and to mind my own business and to not antagonise the neighbours when we'd just moved in. This went on for the best part of about two weeks, Mr would be gone for about half an hour and then come back and take the kids to school. Then they got a second car or the second car came back from wherever it was and she took herself to and from work and so it didn't seem like an issue anymore.
It's come up again this week, the second car has been going and coming every day so I know Mrs is at work, or at least gone somewhere and I've been working split shifts due to work issues, so I've worked the mornings til lunchtime and come home for a bit and gone back in the late afternoon. When I'm leaving Mr is normally leaving too to pick his kids up from school and I go past them coming out on the bus. He's only been picking the older child up -- which means it really seems like he's leaving the younger, autistic one on his own while he does so. I know he's there, because I can hear him when I'm home and getting ready to go back to work and I don't hear anyone else come in the house so it doesn't seem like anyone is keeping an eye on him. The school is only about a ten minute walk from the house, but a lot can happen in ten minutes.
So AIBU for wondering if I should tell someone about this? Either our landlord or Child Protection or something because this is really weighing on my mind and worrying me quite a bit, or should I just leave it because they aren't my children and I shouldn't be nosy? For the past few days when I've seen this happening I've just been thinking about how much can happen in the time that kid is by himself and it makes me feel a bit sick because he's only 4 and it's scary to think that something could happen. My partner pointed out the first time we noticed it happening that the kids aren't alone because we're in the flat at that time and so are the other neighbours but that doesn't make sense to me, as obviously none of us have access to THEIR flat if something did happen.
Ugh, kudos if you read that but help a girl out here.
Report it. To whoever - police, social services, anyone. Poor kid.
I don’t think anyone would say that’s ok. Both of them are too young to be left on their own.
YANBU. Absolutely unacceptable to leave a 4 year old alone for any length of time. If you are certain that's what's happening then it needs reporting to social services.
I hate all this "not our business" crap. You sound like a lovely, caring person.
These children absolutely need you to report it.
It's child neglect.
There should be a child protection helpline connected to Children's Services.
The kids are lucky to have you as their neighbour
Are you sure noone is popping in to babysit though?
Every neglected dc needs a person like you caring enough to make a phone call.
Make the call to ss and the police op.
I’d definitely report to social services. If it turns out there’s someone coming to look after the kids then the case will be closed quickly and it’ll be fine, better to report and know that they’re safe than to live with the guilt if you don’t report and it turns out they are being left alone and something happens to them.
He might not be alone. Someone could be at the flat watching him I mean report it by all means as 4 is too young to be left alone but just be prepared that they will tell SS that he isn’t alone and someone is watching him.
Are you sure noone is popping in to babysit though?
Pretty certain, yeah. When I'm home I hear everyone go in and out so unless a babysitter is scaling the back fence, there's unfortunately not one coming.
If you think he is in the property at anytime on his own you ring the police and report it, they will be able to do a welfare check and if he is in the property on his own then they will follow the correct procedure with SS etc.
Reporting it to Social Care without evidence makes it harder to ‘catch’ if that makes sense. They will still follow up on it, which may give the parents a rethink on their strategy and it may not happen again.
Either way it needs reporting to someone, if you are wrong you are wrong but better safe than sorry!
Please please do report, this is so sad to read. I have a 6 year old who would be absolutely terrified to realise he was locked in our house all by himself - not to mention the potential dangers.
If you're not close enough to ask your neighbours outright, I'd suggest you contact the older child's school with your concerns. The school has an existing relationship, knows the family, and can exert some influence and/or make appropriate agency referrals.
Definitely report it. Autism or no autism, that is too young to be left unsupervised. I have a child that age - I might leave him alone while I ran next door to drop a parcel if he was playing happily (ie under two minutes). I certainly wouldn’t leave him for any longer.
You could report anonymously to NSPCC.
Please, please report it, any 4 year old is far too young to be left home alone, let alone one with additional needs.
You need to act on this a report it immediately, this is not acceptable at all.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Yes report it. That's not ok.
Thanks everyone, I'll report it. I'm looking into things now, I'm not sure how I'll go about doing it but I'll look through the suggestions you've given me and I'll figure out the best way to go from there but I am 1000% certain now that it needs to be reported and it will be.
All you have to do is google your local councils children’s services to report it.
We had the same problem with our neighbours, but they left 3 children under 7 whilst they went shopping. I reported to Social Services as the youngest is around 1 years old
A 4 year old left alone is a 999 issue at the time he is alone, please call 999 at the time the child is alone as well as reporting to social services
We have a nearly 3 year old and a 4 year old. My dh drops me to work most of the time as I do not drive and local transport is not fit for purpose here. It would never occur to us to leave the kids at home. It is difficult having grumpy kids in the morning when you need to get out and ready for work but we just accept that until I pass my test this is how it will be.
I would definitely report to social services and like a pp said they can do a welfare check on the family and see if they need extra support. It is always hard to know if you should report but my feeling is if you are unsettled by what you see always report.
OP there are ways of contacting the NSPCC for advice on situations like this. They can point you in the right direction.
I have a 5yr old who has never been left in the house by herself. She’s too young. To leave a 4yr old, even for 10 minutes is wrong IMO.
Child safety is everyone's business. I'd start with the NSPCC.
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