As a parent, guardian or carer of a child, it's your responsibility to keep them safe. This includes at home, outside, in your car and on the internet.
Leaving your child on their own
You shouldn't leave a child on their own if they'll be at risk. You can be fined or sent to prison if you put your child at risk by leaving them alone.
There is no law about what age your child can be left at home. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) recommends:
- babies, toddlers and very young children should never be left alone
- children under 12 are rarely mature enough to be left alone for a long period of time
- children under 16 shouldn't be left alone overnight
The NSPCC website has more advice about deciding when it's safe for a child to be left alone.
If you are concerned that a child is being harmed, you can report child abuse.
Safety at home
It's your responsibility to make sure your home, or any home your child is in, is safe.
The NHS Inform website has advice about how to prevent the most common injuries for children at home.
Find out how to prevent accidents in your home on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents website.
Your child must be put in a child car seat until they're aged 12 or 135cms tall.
When they are aged 12, or they're more than 135cms tall, they must wear a seat belt.
Your child can legally travel without a car seat in certain circumstances.
There's more information about the law on car seats on the GOV.UK website.
You can also get advice from Good Egg Car Safety Scotland about:
Police Scotland has information about teaching your child to:
Keeping your child safe online
If your child uses the internet, you should try to keep them safe online.
You can help do this by:
- using parental control software
- using a secure internet connection
- asking your child not to give out personal information online
- asking your child to think about what they post
- asking your child to tell you about anything that makes them feel uncomfortable
Find out more about how to keep your child safe online.
Help and Advice
Up-to-date guidance on children’s health and education.
Phone: 0800 028 2233
Monday to Friday, 9am to 10pm
Weekends, 12 noon to 8pm
Support for anyone caring for or worried about a child.
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