It is a parent's responsibility to choose a person capable of managing your child’s specific needs while you are away from home. Young babies and small children must be looked after at all times. The Child and Family Services Act of Ontariosays that children under 10 should not be left alone.

Even after the age of 10, parents are legally required to make proper arrangements for their child’s supervision until they are 16. Parents should remember that a child’s age does not always match his or her level of maturity or responsibility. Some 10 year old children are capable of caring for themselves for a few hours, while others of the same age are not. Parents must decide when a child is ready to be left alone and for how long.

How do I decide on a babysitter?

Deciding on a babysitter for your child is one of the most important decisions you will have to make as a parent. If you are considering an older child or youth to babysit your children, consider asking yourself some of these questions:

  1. Does the older child demonstrate good judgment and have experience working out problems independently?
  2. Would they know what to do in the case in the case of an accident or injury to a younger child?
  3. Does the older child or youth have any behavioural or emotional problems or drug or alcohol problems that would interfere with his or her ability to act responsibly?
  4. Does your own child have any behavioural or emotional problems that would make his or her care difficult for a babysitter? How does your child feel about being left with this babysitter?
  5. Are they likely to become upset or frightened?

It is important to remember that every child is different. Just as a law cannot dictate exactly when your child who is 10 or older can be safely left alone, there is no law about the age at which a child over 10 can begin to babysit. It is your responsibility to choose a person capable of managing your child’s specific needs in the time you will be away from home.

Parents must use their judgment to determine when an older child is ready to provide reliable care for younger children. You care for your child every day which makes you the best person to make decisions about who is best suited to take care of your child's specific needs.