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Children's issues: When is it OK to leave a child unattended?

Some children like to assert their independence at an early age. That doesn't mean parents should leave them unsupervised. Some kids in British Columbia are known as latchkey kids, but when it comes to children's issues, the law is clear about when children can be left unsupervised and what they can do when they are left alone. 

Parents should familiarize themselves with the laws in the province that speak to children's issues like these. In British Columbia, a child is defined as someone who is 16 years of age or younger. Although there are no hard rules in place, most social service agencies suggest that no child under 12 should be left home alone. As for leaving children at home with older children, some kids start babysitting at the age of 12, although much depends on the maturity level of the child. 

Leaving children unattended in public places like an amusement park is often at the discretion of the parents, although some parks and exhibitions have rules in place. For instance, the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver says children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult, while at Cultus Lake Waterpark in British Columbia -- the largest of its kind in the province -- kids under 8 years old need to be supervised. There are also rules in place regarding unaccompanied minors for air, bus and train travel as well as for employment.

For those who are uncertain about the laws that govern children's issues like these, discussing concerns with a British Columbia lawyer may help. It is best to know the rules before allowing a child to stay alone or to venture out in public without adult supervision. A lawyer may be able to provide advice on subjects that seem confusing or unclear.  

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