Childminders and nannies
There is no law which states the minimum age a child can be left unaccompanied, but it is an offence to leave a child alone when doing so puts the child at risk.
Babysitters are not registered with Ofsted and there are no regulations to govern this type of childcare. We do not hold lists of people who offer babysitting. However, we do hold lists of registered childminders and some childminders may be willing to do some evening or weekend babysitting.
Parents may also wish to find a sitter by asking a friend or a relative with children for a recommendation or by searching the web for babysitting agencies.
If you use a babysitting agency, ask whether they interview and take up references and whether sitters are required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
Recommendations from NSPCC and RoSPA on babysitters
The NSPCC recommends that most children under 13 should not be left for more than a short period and that no child under 16 should be left overnight.
Both the NSPCC and RoSPA recommend that babysitters should be over 16 years of age and that parents ask for at least two references and contact the referees themselves.
More information about choosing a babysitter
- National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents