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at what age is it legal to leave kids home alone?

(25 Posts)
surprisenumber3 Tue 21-Oct-08 15:41:50

...and is there a 'legal' age?

DS1 who is 9 is having a minor op tomorrow and will need a couple of weeks off school (luckily one week is half term). I will need to take DS2 to school, although I have got someone to take him and pick him up for the first couple of days following op.

It would take me at the most 40 mins to walk DS2 to school and get back.

DS1 is very grown up, knows not to answer
door, will leave him near phone etc. Quiet cul de sac with nice neighours.

Would you leave him home alone??

LIZS Tue 21-Oct-08 15:48:51

no I wouldn't but it isn't actually illegal unless you endanger or neglect them

Bumblelion Tue 21-Oct-08 15:50:04

There is no 'legal' age that you can leave a child at home alone although it is an offence if you leave a child alone and it puts him or her at risk.

I think you have to take into context the age of the child, how mature they are, where they are being left and for how long.

Quick answer - would I leave him home alone if I was you? I would not be happy about it but if there was other alternative and I knew he had neighbours he could call on personally, could contact me on my mobile, etc. then I would be 'okay' with it.

surprisenumber3 Tue 21-Oct-08 15:50:59

Thanks Liz, I am thinking I might just bundle him up in the car and take him with me. He is gonna have bandages round his head though and doesn't want his friends to see him! Also feel sorry for him getting up at go out at 8.15 if he feels like crap!

Got a friend who lives close taking DS2 the first couple of days, but she will be working after that.

Skramble Tue 21-Oct-08 15:55:00

Can you take DS2 in car to make journey quicker.

I see it won't be the first few days that would be my worry, but if tucked up on the sofa with phone nearby with your number on speedial tbh I would, better than hauling him into the car everyday.

I am going by my DD who I would trust, and would know what to do in an emergency, I suppose it is down to the child and their maturity.

KristinaM Tue 21-Oct-08 15:55:44

no i wouldnt. not for 40 mins. and i am quite relaxed about these things compared with most mumsnetters grinas we live in a very safe area ie dont lock the house door or cars etc

get him to wear a hat so his friends wont see the bandages

surprisenumber3 Tue 21-Oct-08 15:56:32

Yes, I can take DS2 in the car but I would worry I would have a bump or something and I would be even more delayed getting home. Would be about 25 mins in the car (no parking right by the school).

I do trust DS1, and he is very mature, I think it's just leaving him for the first time!

MiaMamma Tue 21-Oct-08 16:01:50

You know your DS best and know if you can trust him stay home alone for a little. By age of 9 they should know anyway what to do in the case of emergency (how to use phone/get out of the house/call the trusted neighbour).
So if it was me I would leave my DC but only if DC is 100% happy to be alone.
Your DS might actually enjoy bit of peace and quiet and just watch tv on his own.

surprisenumber3 Tue 21-Oct-08 16:05:51

he is more than happy to stay home alone, he was quite excited at the idea when I mentioned my thoughts to him. I really don't know what to do!

geekgirl Tue 21-Oct-08 16:05:53

I would if he's a sensible boy - I leave my 9 year old dd1 at home for shortish periods, and she is fine.

KerryMumchingOnEyeballs Tue 21-Oct-08 16:08:17

is he in diminished capacity after operation? Meaning would he be able to get himself out of the house in cae of a fire, etc.? What happens if he is that bit dizzy and falls down the stairs, etc.?

Under normal circumstances I'd say 9 is ok for a wee bit but not if they've just had an op.

RubberDuck Tue 21-Oct-08 16:08:51

I would if it was a 10 - 15 minute round trip... 40 mins though is a LONG time when you're 9.

Is there someone who could take ds2 for you just for a few days until ds1 has recovered enough to cope with the bundling into the car?

MiaMamma Tue 21-Oct-08 16:09:30

I think it's like leaving them with babysitter the very first time - you trust the babysitter but still really don't want to leave the house! And feel like phoning them every 2mins!

ChopsTheDuck Tue 21-Oct-08 16:09:59

I think he sounds like he'd be fine. Do you have a neighbour he can call on if he needs to?

RubberDuck Tue 21-Oct-08 16:10:29

Actually, Kerry makes a very good point. I know I had to stay with my MOTHER round the clock for the first 48 hours of her operation on her FOOT (not head) in case there were post op complications.

I think finding someone to help with ds2 rather than help for someone to watch ds1 might be easier?

feedmenow Tue 21-Oct-08 16:14:30

From what you've described I reckon he'd be OK.

You'll be with him the first week and a half after the op (you said half term then someone esle taking ds2 for a few days) so he should be OK in terms of post-op confusion, etc.

My dd is 9 - I'd be reluctant but would probably leave her.

I know when I was 9 my mum would go out to work for 5 hours and leave me alone!!!!!

geekgirl Tue 21-Oct-08 16:14:54

actually yes I do agree with kerrymum (hi there km!smile) - you have to see how he is. Is he having a GA? I wouldn't leave him for 40 minutes a day after a GA.

surprisenumber3 Tue 21-Oct-08 16:17:10

He isn't having a GA, so no probs with dizziness. Op is tomorrow, first time (and probably only time) I would need to leave him is Fri afternoon. After half term he will be fine to come and wait in the car.
The op in on his ear.

He could call on the neighbours our house is attached to. Basically he could shout them and they'd be round.

I am thinking I will prob just find someone to bring DS2 home for me Fri...

RubberDuck Tue 21-Oct-08 16:20:34

My mum didn't have a GA either, but the instructions in the post op notes were very clear that she shouldn't be left alone for the first 48hrs.

Could you ask a neighbour just to sit in with him until you get back?

surprisenumber3 Tue 21-Oct-08 16:23:41

I was going to ask a neighbour but two are ill with this flu thing and the other one's DH has just had major surgery so she's in with him.

I think I have made up my mind not to leave DS. I will call around for someone to get him for me.

Thanks for all your replies.

GylesBandwidth Tue 21-Oct-08 16:26:21

I wouldn't.
Not for 40 minutes.
Not after an op.
Not at 9.

GylesBandwidth Tue 21-Oct-08 16:27:20

sorry, x post.
good decision, i think.

zippitippitoes Tue 21-Oct-08 16:29:21

maybe you could speed things up by riding a bike

and two weeks is a long time off for a minor op ...surely after a few days he can go with you?

zippitippitoes Tue 21-Oct-08 16:31:06

oh right you have a car i would just take him too in the car

cory Tue 21-Oct-08 20:21:50

Absolutely agree with Kerry; if there is any risk that his operation puts him at a disadvantage, then I wouldn't. Otherwise I would be happy leaving a fit healthy responsible 9yo alone for 40 minutes and have in fact done so. But if he is not fit enough to go with you in the car, then he is not fit enough to stay at home on his own IMO.

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