Keeping your child safe

Last updated: 14 March 2017

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.

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 different rooms of your home on the Child Safety Scotland website.

Car safety

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:

Road safety

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.