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Is it ever OK to leave your baby home alone? The question that rocked the internet.

When a mother asked this question on parenting site Mumsnet, opinion was divided but the majority of responses involved a big fat “hell, no!”

What the hundreds of commenters didn’t know was that the mother, under the username Dakin1, had already left her 10-month-old baby napping at home while she popped out to a shop 50 metres away and only posted to the site to gauge people’s opinions.

I timed it hence knowing it took exactly seven minutes,” she wrote. “Nothing bad happened whatsoever but I did worry. Was wondering if I had been completely out of order or if anyone else has done similar. The risks were so low (would a random fire really start in those seven minutes?) and she has never woken early… But wasn’t sure if I was trying to ease my guilt.”

IsMyUserNameRubbish wrote: “I would never leave a sleeping baby home alone for seven seconds let alone seven minutes and I’m horrified that anyone would even consider it.”

HappyAsASandboy said, “7 mins is a long time to scream and no one comes,”

“What if you got mugged, or hit by a car while you were out?”

SpidersFrom Mars wrote: “I would if a baby monitor worked the whole way (or a spare mobile phone on speakerphone next to her)”

Jw35 wrote: “This is something I just wouldn’t do on principle. I believe the risks are minute, the baby is 99.9% likely to be fine and you could technically be in a big garden and be that far away, BUT it’s widly known that babies and toddlers should never be left alone under any circumstances, even for a few minutes so I would feel irresponsible and worry about the consequences if there was a real emergency. It crosses a line for me and I’d rather go when baby is awake.”

One member however pointed out that “it’s logically as risky as having a shower or going in the garden to hang out washing. It’s irrational to think popping out for 7 min is any different.”

Dakin1  added

Thanks for not flaming me for being a neglectful mum. I did try and think through every possible risk:
- fire? We don’t smoke, no appliances left on
- kidnap? He’d have to get through two locked doors first
- waking and crying? Possibly, but she hasn’t woken early for months and even if she did it would have only been a few minutes
- vomiting – never happened during nap time before
- something happening to me? Walking 50m crossing no roads? Really?
Saying all that I still felt weird.

In Australia, there isn’t one law for leaving children home alone. Each state has their own defining restrictions.

Could you or have you ever, left a child home alone?

Share your comments below.

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  • I don’t have anywhere close enough to even worry about leaving the baby in the house alone. I certainly think that it isn’t normally a socially acceptable thing. I personally wouldn’t do it opting to wait until baby is up to walk there with.

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  • Excuse my language a big fat HELL NO not a child of that age what was she thinking she should b arrested 4 doing so no offence but again what was she thinking

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  • I have never, and I would never.

    It has never even crossed my mind!

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  • I don’t think this is a safe thing to do.

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  • No I haven’t done that.

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  • I would not personally ever leave a baby alone and leave the house even for a short period of time. What if something happened to me while I was out???

    Reply

  • Never a baby. The only time i have left my c h ild is when we went to the shops 2 minute walk up the road, nothing happened and my girls are 9 and 5. We did it as parents, my husband came with me , simply to see what happened. We did leave them a mobile to call us if they got freaked out but they were fine. I think the law here in the ACT is that children who you think are old enough and responsible enough can be left home alone. The only time for me that thjs is really a consideration is when my 9 year old is sick, and i need to take miss 5 to school and pick her up.

    Reply

  • No no no no no. I can’t say no often enough. Never ever in any circumstance is it ok to leave a baby home alone. I cannot believe there are people out there who think it is ok. What is wrong with their brains to think this?!

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  • I would have never been able to do that. I left my daughter alone for the first time (no more than 15 minutes) when she was 10 years old. Maybe I am overprotecting though! :-)

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  • I never would!! Heck, I won’t even leave mine in the car at the petrol bowser

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  • I personally wouldn’t, I wouldn’t be comfortable. Only when kids are older do I think it’s ok. They need to be self sufficient to be left out

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  • Sorry. But 100% no.
    I barely leave my son for 10-15mins during shower /toilet time lrt alone going to the shops.

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  • Not for me but each to there own some days as mums we need to judge less and support more

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  • My little boy is 7montbs old I’ve nipped next door for a parcel and I’ve been outside back gate to put some stones down the ally in pot holes and some menchioned being sick baby’s have a gag reflux so they cant chock on sick and at 10months I guess she can roll to her side and for crying when a baby’s on bed they recommend they cry for 10mins before u check back on them

    Reply

  • never ever would i leave any child at home alone!

    Reply

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