It is a crime to leave your child home alone this summer

All Woman

A child is defined as anyone under the age of 18 years old. Therefore, leaving anyone under this age unsupervised could possibly land you in trouble with the law, as this is considered a form of neglect as outlined in the Child Care and Protection Act (2004).

According to the Office of the Children's Registry, neglect, assault, physical/mental ill-treatment, abandonment or exposure causing suffering or injury of any child is defined as cruelty.

Parents found guilty of contravening this law could be fined or face imprisonment with hard labour for a term not exceeding five years, or both, if convicted in a circuit court. If indicted by a resident magistrate, such a person could be fined $1 million or face imprisonment with hard labour for a term not exceeding three years, or both.

For parents contemplating leaving their children home alone, consider factors such as how the children would be cared for should an intruder enter the property, or in the event of a natural disaster, and how the children would be taken to the hospital in the event that they get ill. So instead of leaving children home alone, the OCR suggests that parents:

1. Take the child to a registered daycare or after care centre.

2. Enlist the child in an affordable summer programme with a school or church, for example summer school, summer camp or Bible school.

3. Place the child in the care of a responsible and trusted relative, neighbour or family friend.

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