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Would you leave a sleeping baby home alone? Online post stirs debate

Posted May 23

Is it ever OK to leave a sleeping baby home alone, even for just seven minutes? (Deseret Photo)

Is it ever OK to leave a sleeping baby alone, even for just seven minutes?

That is the question that set off a heated debate between community members on parenting site Mumsnet, based in Britain.

“Baby reliably naps at the same time every day for at least an hour,” posted Mumsnet user Dakin1 about her 10-month-old. “The seven minutes is going to a shop to collect something approx ... 50 (meters) away.”

Most of the over 880 responses to the question gave a resounding no, saying they would be worried about abductions, kidnapping or a fire. Other users said they would have no problem with it and admitted to doing the same thing.

“It's logically as risky as having a shower (where you can't hear s---) or going in the garden to hang out washing when they're asleep,” wrote one user. “You're hardly constantly monitoring them then either. It's irrational to think popping out for (seven minutes) is any different.”

Other posters pointed out that the baby could be in potential danger if something happened to the parent while they were gone.

“I don't think it's about anything happening to baby,” wrote a Mumsnet user. “It's what could happen to you to stop you coming back."

There is no federal U.S. law about what age parents can leave a child home alone, according to childwelfare.gov. State laws have a minimum age range from age 6 to 14, but most fall between ages 8 and 12.

User Dakin1 said she already made the seven-minute trip before posting her question and said she didn’t have to cross any roads to get to the shop.

“Of course the thoughts running through my head were if something happens I will never forgive myself, (my husband) will never forgive me, social services will probably take her away,” she posted. “But I just did it anyway.”

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