With the May half-term coming up parents who might be thinking of leaving their children at home while they head out are being urged to read the latest NSPCC advice.

Managing work and childcare in the school holidays can present challenges for parents, so the organisation has offered its advice on what can and should be done.

There is no legal age a child can be left home alone as every child matures differently, but it is against the law to leave a child alone if it puts them at risk.

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Last year, the charity’s helpline made 566 referrals to agencies in the West Midlands following contacts about children being left alone without supervision of an adult, a 23 per cent increase from the previous year.

The NSPCC is preparing for another spike in calls this summer.

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A spokeswoman for the charity said: "We would advise a child who doesn’t feel comfortable shouldn’t be left alone.

"Children under the age of 12 are rarely mature enough to cope in an emergency and should not be left at home alone for a long period of time.

"And children under the age of 16 should not be left alone overnight."

NSPCC campaigns manager Ellen Smith previously told the Oxford Mail in an exclusive interview that the cost of living crisis meant childcare costs have risen which has made it a "very tricky time" for working parents. 

She said: "Parents will have to juggle the cost of living and having to work throughout the school holidays." 

A page of information aiming to help parents and carers decide if their child is ready to stay home, or go out alone unsupervised, by giving them access to information, guidance and a new quiz; can be found by visiting the ‘Home or Out Alone’ section of the NSPCC website at nspcc.org.uk/homealone.

The NSPCC Helpline is also available for any parent who needs help or support about any concern.

If you are worried about a child, even if you are unsure, contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk.