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14 Too Young to Baby-Sit?!


I came across an article today that said a woman in the UK left her 14 year-old-son in the care of her 3 year-old for a half hour while she ran to the grocery store. For doing this, she has received a "caution" or like a citation. I'm sure what this is exactly but apparently it ends up on your criminal record?


Anyway, what on earth is the fuss?! The carer is 14 and the caree is 3 YEARS, not months, YEARS. I think we were all baby-sitting for whole evenings when we were at least 12, not just a half hour. And if I am not mistaken, at age 11 you are legally able to baby-sit your younger siblings for a short time. I am aware that we're in Canada and this incident is in the UK but I think the allegations against this lady are ridiculous.

Any thoughts or comments?
Mar 23, 2011 @ 02:44 pm

6 Replies


It's a bit much..

Now before I say this, I know I'm going to be a super cautious mom and I'll trust very few people to take care of my kids - especially a young teen. But I'm with you on thinking this is a little extreme. I was babysitting when I was 12 and I WAS taking care of some babies.

Mar 23, 2011 @ 03:41 pm

that is ridiculous

I was babysitting for family members at age 12 and for neighbours at age 13/14. That is completely silly. You can attend a babysitting class through many community centres which teaches you quite a bit about caring for young kids. I think that a mature and responsible 12-yr old is perfectly capable of babysitting for a few hours.
Mar 23, 2011 @ 03:54 pm

A little overcautious

I suppose that if an emergency were to happen the 13 year old might not know how to handle it properly. But at the same time, if a 13 year old were at home with an older sibling and something happened with the older sibling, the 13 year old still might not know what to do!
Mar 23, 2011 @ 04:20 pm

yes and no

A properly trained babysitter (whether he/she's attended a class or has been given good safety instruction by his/her parents) will at the very least know to call 911 and the parents should have provided emergency contacts (cell phone, grandparents, doctor, etc).

Because really - unless one of us adults has gone through a 1st aid program, would we know what to do in the case of a serious injury or emergency like a seizure or something? No! But most 12/13-year old kids know that if you smell smoke for example, you leave the house and call 911.
Mar 23, 2011 @ 04:32 pm

What about adults?

I agree, and even in the case of a serious emergency I think even plenty of adults would panic and not know what to do either - other than call 911 right away.

At the end of the day, if it's a teen you know and trust to be responsible (especially if it's your own kid!) then go for it.
Mar 23, 2011 @ 04:38 pm
Ali de Bold

I started babysitting at 11 years old

Unless the 14 year old is known to the parents as reckless and irresponsible I can't understand what the problem here is. At 15 we let them behind the wheel of a car on the highway for learners permits. A 14 year old is more than capable of babysitting a small child.
Mar 23, 2011 @ 11:32 pm

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