10% of children left home alone during holidays: study


WHEN mum and dad are away, the kids will play and, according to a federal survey, one in 10 primary school children will be left home alone these school holidays.

The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey of 7500 families revealed that 10% of parents thought their children would "look after themselves".

While it's tempting for working parents to let the kids have run of the house from 9am-5pm each day, Warwick District Child Protection and Investigation Unit Detective Sergeant Julie Hauff said it was also highly illegal.

"Leaving a child under 12 unattended for an unreasonable amount of time, without making reasonable provision for supervision and care of the child during that time, is a misdemeanour and the maximum penalty is three years jail," Det Sgt Hauff said.

"The child might seem old enough but it's the unexpected things - like a fire or a younger child choking - that a child under 12 can't cope with."

She said while working parents often found it hard to find time off, it was vital they arranged supervision.

Det Sgt Hauff also encouraged anyone who was concerned about a neighbour's children or others, to alert the police.

"And it's not just houses - it's cars and parks as well," Det Sgt Hauff said.

"You can't just leave your kids at WIRAC all day.

"(Parents) might think it's OK, but it's not."


Who is looking after the kids these school holidays?

  • A parent 59%
  • Grandparent 38%
  • Child's sibling 11%
  • Child looks after his or herself 10%

Source: HILDA survey

Topics:  children home alone negligence parenting school holidays

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