The NSPCC has provided the latest guidance on the age you can safely leave your child at home alone.

During holidays and summer this becomes a bigger issue as working parents find it difficult to balance work and childcare.

Challenges are likely to be even more acute with the cost-of-living crisis putting additional strain on family finances, forcing them to work even more hours.

Previously the NSPCC said there is no rule for a suitable age, encouraging parents to use their judgement according to their child’s needs.

They especially would not recommend leaving a child under 12-years-old home alone, particularly for longer periods of time.

“Infants and young children aged 0-3 should never be left alone – even for a few minutes,” they recommend.

“This includes visiting next door or leaving children in your car while you run into a shop.

“For older children there is no single rule for all, especially if a child has complex needs. 

“It is up to parents and carers to decide when and where it is safe and appropriate for their child to be left unsupervised.”

It is vital that all children are left with a contact number for a parent or carer or trusted adult in case they feel unsafe or unsure.

They recommend that children who feel uncomfortable should never be home alone.

Neglect was the top concern in NSPCC Helpline sessions in 2022/23, and 40 per cent of these mentioned a child being left alone or unsupervised.

July and August has previously seen a spike in calls to the charity’s Helpline from adults concerned about a child being left unsupervised.

4,717 calls mentioned a child being left alone from April 2022 to March 2023.

They also receive calls from children to Childline, such as one who said: “Mum has left us alone again; she keeps doing this. 

"She just disappears for days, won’t answer anyone’s calls or texts. 

"I’m so frustrated and angry with her. My brother is only 6, I can look after him myself, but I shouldn’t have to. 

"I feel like no one is ever looking after me.”

Adults who have no choice should look at the NSPCC’s website for tips to ensure the child feels safe. 

This includes checking in with them regularly and practising what to do in an emergency, should one happen while you are away.

You can also complete a quiz on the NSPCC’s website on whether your child is ready to be home alone.