3 Hours Alone Each Day puts a Child at Risk

Featured member: Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa


Being a parent is a world full of unknowns and new experiences.   


At the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa, we are often asked: “When can I leave my child home alone?” On the surface, it seems like a simple question.  But the truth is there is no definitive answer.  Instead, there is a series of considerations parents need to take into account to determine for themselves if their child or children can be left home alone.  


Our response is always a mixture of questions, the answers to which are dependent on the individual child and their surrounding circumstances.  Does your child know what to do in case of an emergency?  Does your child have a number to call or a specific neighbour to turn to in case of an emergency?  What is your child’s developmental level and ability to communicate?  When, how long and in what kind of environment will your child be left alone?  What is your child going to do while he/she is alone? 


Ensuring your child is safe while alone only addresses part of the problem.  Did you know that three hours alone each day puts children at risk of drug and alcohol abuse, stress, depression, anger and other behavioural problems?  At a critical time for physical and emotional development, children need structure and access to resources to grow and flourish.  Accessing affordable and high-quality community programs is an option that helps ensure your child grows up in a nurturing and safe environment.

 Submitted by/De la part de:


A member of the Ottawa Child and Youth Initiative/

Membre de l'Initiative pour les enfants et les jeunes d'Ottawa