Leaving children by themselves
It’s illegal to leave a child under 14 by themselves at home or in another place. You need to make sure they are safely supervised and cared for.
You can leave children under 14 at home or another place if they’re:
- supervised by a responsible and mature person who is:
- at least 14
- able to give reasonable supervision and care
- confident looking after children
- able to cope in an emergency. (Make sure they can get help if they need it — for example, they have someone to call in an emergency.)
- not left for a long time.
You need to judge if the situation is safe and reasonable — for example, it may be okay to leave your child with someone who is 14 for a few hours, but not for a few days.
If you do not make safe arrangements you can be fined up to $2000 under the Summary Offences Act 1981.
- When tamariki are unsupervised (‘home alone’) — Oranga Tamariki Practice Centre
- Keeping our children safe — New Zealand Police
- At what age can a child legally do things? — Children's Commissioner