THIS summer, the NSPCC is offering parents and carers in Hereford advice on when it is appropriate for them to leave children home alone or unsupervised during the holidays.

Parents trying to work and manage the six-week school break can find the holidays challenging, particularly in light of soaring child costs in recent years.

There is no legal age a child can be left home alone as every child matures differently, but it is against the law to leave a child alone if it puts them at risk.

Last year, the charity’s helpline made 566 referrals to agencies in the West Midlands following contacts about children being left alone without supervision of an adult – a 23 per cent increase from the previous year. The NSPCC is preparing for another spike in calls this summer.

We would advise a child who doesn’t feel comfortable shouldn’t be left alone.

Children under the age of 12 are rarely mature enough to cope in an emergency and should not be left at home alone for a long period of time.

And children under the age of 16 should not be left alone overnight.

This summer, the NSPCC and Spar store operator Blakemore Retail, based in the Midlands, have teamed up to help families keep their children safe, as part of the new Home or Out Alone campaign.

This campaign aims to help parents and carers decide if their child is ready to stay home, or go out alone unsupervised, by giving them access to information, guidance and a new quiz, all of which can be found by visiting the Home or Out Alone section of the NSPCC website at

Our NSPCC Helpline is also available for any parent who needs help or support about any concern. If you're worried about a child, even if you're unsure, then contact the NSPCC Helpline to speak to one of our counsellors on 0808 800 5000 or email

NSPCC Local Campaigns Manager for the Midlands