More than nine million parents would leave their children home alone, or unsupervised, according to new research.
Even more alarming is that a number of parents have left children home alone overnight in the last 12 months.
According to research by Churchill Home Insurance, a fifth have left 8-9 year olds alone overnight, eight per cent have left 5-7 year olds alone overnight and 13 per cent have left 10-11 year olds alone overnight.
Over a quarter (28 per cent) of parents with children aged 5-7 will leave their child unsupervised for an average of 24 minutes, with more than one in ten (12 per cent) willing to do so for at least 30 minutes.
More than half (51 per cent) of parents with children aged 8-9 would leave their children unsupervised at home.
While the average time parents are willing to leave 8-9 year olds unsupervised for is 43 minutes, 12 per cent of parents would leave their children unsupervised at home for three to six hours.
The research also revealed that men are more likely to leave young children alone than women. Double the amount of men would leave 5-7 year olds unsupervised (40 per cent vs 19 per cent of women) and significantly more men would leave 8-9 year olds unsupervised (63 per cent vs 39 per cent). The gender difference disappears once children reach the age of 12.
Martin Scott, head of Churchill Home Insurance, said: “We urge parents to follow the advice from the NSPCC which is not to leave children alone, as those under 12 in particular, are rarely able to look after themselves.”
When asked why they would leave their children unsupervised at home, nearly half (46 per cent) of parents that have left their children aged 5-7 unsupervised said: ‘it is ok if it’s only for a short time’, while others said it’s because ‘they cannot afford a babysitter’ (15 per cent).
One in six (16 per cent) parents of 5-7 year olds believes their children are old enough to look after themselves.
Martin added: “Our research showed there are a number of unintended consequences caused by leaving children alone. They could injure themselves, or others, or cause damage to the home and its contents.”