Staying safe away from home
When is it safe for your child to go out alone?
Some guidance from the NSPCC
It's something every parent experiences. The day that their
child starts asking if they can go out on their own or with
friends. It's just a natural part of their growing independence
and, like every part of growing up, it can be a challenging hurdle
for a parent to overcome.Just like deciding when a child's old
enough to be
left at home on their own, there's no set age when you know it
will be safe for them to go out without you. Obviously, toddlers
and young children won't be able to stay safe without you watching
over them, and even older children have different levels of
maturity. So some 11 year olds will be quite capable of going to
the park or the shops on their own but others might not be ready to
do this safely.
As well as thinking about how mature your child is for their
age, the decision about whether you're happy for them to go out
alone will depend on where they're planning to go. For example,
going to the playground round the corner is very different to
catching a bus to the local shops.
Because we all want our children to be as safe as possible, you
really need to feel comfortable before letting them go out on their
own. So some of the questions to ask yourself before you make up
your mind are:
- where and when do they want to go?
- what do they want to do there?
- who's going to be with them?
- how far away are they going?
- what time will they be back?
- how can I reach them?
It's a good idea to be aware of the risks that children out
alone might face – just to check that you've considered ways to
minimise them. Risks could include:
- getting lost
- danger from traffic
- bullying from other children
- stranger danger
- running into gangs
- exposure to alcohol or drugs
It might seem like a scary list, but your guidance can help your
child keep themselves safe. It'll also help build their
self-confidence and independence at the same time.
NSPCC guide on out alone: your guide to keeping your child safe
away from home click here to see the full