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Leaving children by themselves

You can leave a child under 14 at home or in another place if you’ve made reasonable provisions to have them supervised and cared for safely, and they’re not left for a long time.

Parents, guardians and caregivers can be fined a maximum of $2,000 under the Summary Offences Act 1981 if they do not make safe care arrangements for their child.

This can mean if the child is under 14 and left alone:

  • without reasonable provision for their supervision or care
  • for an unreasonable length of time or in unreasonable circumstances.

Safe supervision and care arrangements can mean different things for different-aged children and their circumstances.

Find out more information about what the law says and what are appropriate levels of supervision for all ages of children on the Oranga Tamariki Practice Centre website:

When tamariki are unsupervised (‘home alone’)

The New Zealand Police and the Children’s Commissioner have information about keeping children safe.

Find child care services

Utility links and page information

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