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Home alone - leaving children home alone

home; alone; supervision; responsibility; negligence; liability; law; children ;

It’s not easy to decide the right time or age to leave children at home on their own. There is no actual law stating the age children can be left at home alone. However the law is clear that parents are responsible for their children’s safety and they should not be left in situations where they could be harmed.

More information

To find out more about things to think about when deciding whether to leave children alone, how to prepare your children and your house, and what the law says,have a look at the Parent Easy Guide Home alone developed by Parenting SA

Parenting SA is a partnership between the Department for Education and the Women’s and Children’s Health Network South Australia. 

Some things to think about

There are many things to think about when deciding whether your children should be left at home without you, such as

  • safety, have a look at the topic Home safety for children
  • your children’s ages,
  • how mature and capable they are,
  • and whether they could cope in an emergency.

It’s important to have rules and that your children understand them.

What does the law in South Australia say?

There is no law stating an age at which children can or cannot be left alone, but the law is clear about the responsibility of parents to look after their children. In many cultures it is usual for older children to care for brothers and sisters. While different societies have different customs, in Australia there is a legal duty for parents to make sure their children are properly looked after.

Resources in South Australia

Kidsafe SA
Phone 8161 6318, 9.30am-4pm, Mon-Fri. For information about children’s safety

Parent Helpline:
Tel 1300 364 100 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for advice on child health and parenting

Child and Family Health Centres:
Tel 1300 733 606 9am - 4.30pm, Monday to Friday to make an appointment at your local Centre

Parenting SA

  • For more Parent Easy Guides including ‘What about parents’ rights?’ and ‘Discipline 0-12 years’ 

Resources in Australia

Kids Helpline: Tel 1800 55 1800
For children and young people, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Raising Children Network For information about raising children

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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).

This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.

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