THE number of children believed to be left home alone has more than doubled.
In 2015 the NSPCC referred nearly 30 cases to police and children’s services about youngsters in Coventry and Warwickshire being left home alone.
In 2016 this figure was closer to 70.
Worried callers reported young children being left alone overnight and being left to feed themselves.
One woman who rang the advice hotline said: “They are leaving the kids alone at all hours of the day, from early in the morning until late at night. They have to fend for themselves and make their own meals and use the cooker and other dangerous kitchen equipment.
“When I go round to check on them they pretend that their mum is in the house, but I don’t believe she is. I never see her.”
The NSPCC say although a child may seem responsible enough to be left alone without supervision, parents should think about whether they would be able to cope with unexpected situations such as an emergency, a stranger calling at the house, being hungry or if the parent is away for longer than they thought.
NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: “Deciding if a child is ready to be left on their own can be a very difficult decision and the summer holidays can be a difficult time for parents and carers as they face increasing childcare pressures.
“Although there is no minimum age, no child should be left on their own if there is any risk they will come to harm.
“Children mature at their own rate so it’s really important parents think carefully about what is right for their child.
“Children shouldn’t be left on their own if they are not happy with being left, or if they don’t know what to do in an emergency.”
Visit www.nspcc.org.uk for advice on whether it is safe to leave a child alone.