Over the weekend, I had a lot of spam attacks on the site, so I have decided to disable comments for all the old entries as soon as I write a new one. You will still be able to read the old comments, but you won’t be able to add any new ones. I have also disabled “trackbacks.” I’m still not exactly sure what they are, but I don’t use them myself, and I was getting a lot of trackback spam. If you think it is important for me to allow them, please let me know.
Last week, I read a story on Japan Today about a toddler who died when his mother and father were out and he had been left home alone. I think he fell off the balcony, if I remember correctly. Anyway, it was a very sad story. In the comments, one person wrote that a Japanese friend of his (or hers) said that it is common for mothers in Japan to leave small children alone when they need to pop out to go to the shops or the bank. The opinion of most of the other foreigners was that small children should never be left at home alone, so I was wondering what you all think about that.
Incidentally, I wasn’t sure about the situation in the UK, so I looked it up. This is the advice given on the UK government website.
There is no legal age limit for leaving a child on their own, but it is an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk. Parents can be prosecuted if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’ (Children and Young Person’s Act).
Personally, I can see how it might actually be less dangerous to leave a small baby on its own than to leave a toddler. After all, babies cannot do anything apart from roll over, so if they are in a cot, they can’t really hurt themselves. Toddlers are different, though. They can climb on things, pull things down, and basically hurt themselves in a million different ways. Do you remember the photo I showed you of my friend Aoki san’s son Rui? Just watching him running around and climbing on things makes me feel nervous! His mum said that he finds about five or six new ways to hurt himself every day! I can’t imagine that she would ever leave him alone, at least not until he is much older.
So, my question this week is: is it okay to leave children alone in a house or an apartment? From what age do you think it is safe to do this?
Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
PS A friend recently drew my attention to this blog. The man who writes it likes to translate my blog entries for his own study. I got in touch with him and asked for his permission to post the link here. If you are interested, please visit his blog and read his translations.