According to Shona Hendley from Kidspot, a friend of a young mother was left feeling rather uneasy when she learned that she neglects her six-month-old home alone while shopping and joining her friends for coffee.
As a parent, she described herself as rather relaxed and would rarely ever judge someone else’s principles or practices. Recently, however, she found out that some of the choices her friend continuously made as a parent were extremely questionable, endangering and neglecting her child. Although this caused her a great deal of concern and regular worry, she felt powerless to do anything about it, making it all the more stressful.
Six-month-old home alone sleeping
She recalled that Lana, one of her girlfriends, had given birth to her first baby, Sarah, six months previously. When she touched base with Lana or chatted to her, everything had seemed rather normal in the initial phase of being a parent and helping the child establish a routine and so forth. She said that early on, there was nothing outlandish or eccentric about Lana’s style of parenting. Also, that she and the newborn baby Sarah seemed completely content. It was then revealed that only a few months back, when Sarah was roughly four months old, that things had taken a turn for the worse. She encountered Lana collecting a coffee from a local cafe they had both frequented. But, strangely, her baby girl wasn’t with her, and when asked, her response was, “she’s at home, sleeping.”
“Oh, do you have a babysitter for a bit today?” she was then asked. “No, I’m just keeping an eye on her with the baby monitor,” stated Lana and held her phone up, showing an image of her six-month-old home alone sleeping in her crib. She felt there was no reason for her to be sitting around the house.
No reason to worry?
The resulting expression that came across the woman’s face made Lana offer further details of the situation — and she was speechless! Lana then filled in the blanks. She revealed that she felt Sarah was an incredibly sound sleeper and could sleep for hours. Sarah rarely woke up for at least two hours. So, she saw no reason to stick around if she had other things to be done elsewhere. She saw it as getting ahead on her errands while leaving her six-month-old home alone. So she was now freed up when the baby woke up again.
Toddler sleeping soundly on white sheets holding a stuffed bear. Image reads “My friend leaves her six-month-old home alone & I’m not OK with it”
She claims it’s perfectly fine
“It gives us more quality time together,” stated Lana. She proceeded to tell her friend that she regularly left the house to get a few things done. Such as collecting a parcel from the post office or doing some brief grocery shopping. Sometimes she even took a stroll through her neighborhood or caught up with a friend at the local café for coffee.
As long as she took care of what needed to be done at stores in the immediate vicinity, or perhaps within a two-kilometer radius from home, she felt the child was more than safe. Therefore, all her actions were completely acceptable. “It’s enough time for me to quickly get home if I need to,” she explained. Since learning this, the woman had seen Lana on a few further occasions while leaving the six-month-old home alone. Her stomach churned from the experience, as she felt Lana’s actions were totally unjustifiable. She continually imagined the direst possible outcomes and how the situation could suddenly turn into a nightmare. She felt the constant risk of a fire or break-in was inherent, as this often happened when one is seen leaving one’s home. Although Lana was just minutes from the child, she felt it wouldn’t be fast enough.
Leaving a six-month-old home alone is irresponsible!
Upon further reflection, she found Lana’s actions as a parent undeniably irresponsible and that this must surely constitute neglect. She even Googled the legal ramifications surrounding the issue. Only to find that no state in Australia besides Queensland actually enforced minimum age for a child being left alone at home. The laws simply stipulated that provided the child’s basic human needs are met. Basically: food, clothing, shelter, and if they were out of harm’s way, there was no problem. She, therefore, had nothing to really bolster her concerns. While being a six-month-old home alone, Sarah was still not in any obvious danger, and all her basic needs were accounted for.
She admitted later that apart from voicing her opinion on the matter she felt completely powerless. She doubted that her actions would be of any consequence anyway. All that it may create is tension between the two friends. She would simply have to hope for the best.