Rising cost of living and childcare demands mean that babysitting is often considered an ideal option but how old do you need to be to babysit?

Parents face constant challenges as they try to balance work with bills and the endless demands of looking after and entertaining their kids. 

For parents who don't feel their child is old enough or ready to be left at home alone, babysitting can be both a practical and cost-effective solution. 

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has answered some of parents' and carers' burning questions about babysitting

Worcester News: Is there a legal age to babysit in the UK? Big babysitting questions answered. ( Getty Images)Is there a legal age to babysit in the UK? Big babysitting questions answered. ( Getty Images) (Image: Getty Images)

More information, advice and support about how to find the right babysitter and what questions to ask are available on the NSPCC website.

Is there a legal age to babysit in the UK?

Similar to leaving a child home alone, there's no legal age to babysit.

However, if you leave them alone with someone that is under 16 then you are still responsible for their wellbeing. 

The NSPCC advised: "The decision about who to leave your child with comes down to you and your best judgement."

The children's charity also pointed out that while there are no legal restrictions on what age a babysitter or caregiver must be to be left in charge of a child, there are laws about employing children.

Can a young person under 16 babysit?

The NSPCC has reminded those considering hiring a babysitter under the age of 16 that they are "too young to be legally responsible if harm comes to your child".

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The charity added: "If you’ve left your child with someone who isn’t able to take care of them, this could be seen as neglect under the law.

"If you're leaving your child home alone with a babysitter under 16, make sure that they are comfortable with what to do in case of emergency, and are mature enough to take action if needed".

It also recommends informing a friend or neighbour about your plans to be safe in the event that help is needed and you can’t get home in time.