There is no minimum age in law below which a child / young person may not 'baby-sit' a younger child. Those who hold Parental Responsibility are responsible for ensuring the baby-sitter is capable and will provide adequate care and should take account of:
- Age and maturity of child to be looked after;
- Age, maturity and experience of the proposed baby-sitter;
- Nature of existing relationship between all parties;
- Length of time for which the child is to be looked after;
- The physical environment;
- Availability of back-up from parent/s or other immediately available adult.
The NSPCC recommend 16 as the minimum age for baby-sitting.
If a baby-sitter is aged 16 or over and wilfully assaults, ill-treats, neglects, abandons or exposes a younger child in a manner likely to cause her/him unnecessary suffering or injury to health (or causes to procures the child to be so treated), s/he and the person with parental responsibility who arranged the babysitting are liable to prosecution.