Deciding when it's okay for your child to be home alone

Deciding when it's okay for your child to be home alone

If you’re like a lot of parents, you may be wondering what the rules are about letting your child stay at home alone.

According to the Canada Safety Council, whether they’re six or 16, school-aged children need to be supervised by a responsible adult.

As children grow older and demonstrate increasing levels of responsibility, their parents may not need to be constantly supervising them in person. But, parents still have a responsibility to make sure that their children are safe, and can get help if and when they need it.

No child should be left home alone before age 10. Even at that age, the child needs to be mature and responsible. And, he or she should be left alone for no more than an hour or two—provided there’s a responsible adult nearby to help if needed.

Age shouldn’t be the only determining factor in deciding when kids are ready to be left home alone. As the Safety Council points out, unsupervised teens and pre-teens are sometimes capable of getting into a lot more trouble than younger kids.

Here’s a resource tool that can help you decide whether your child is ready to be home alone. And, here’s a check list to help you ensure your child’s safety.

Several organizations in Sudbury offer “home alone” or babysitting programs to help prepare children to be on their own or supervise others. If your child attends a licensed after-school program, ask if it helps get older kids ready to stay home alone.

Check with these agencies for upcoming courses: St. John Ambulance, le Centre de sante communautaire de Sudbury and the YMCA.


This content was prepared and reviewed by the City of Greater Sudbury and its partners. However, it should not take the place of advice from your health care provider or other professionals working with you and your child. 

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