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Eight parenting laws you might not know about

Eight parenting laws you might not know about
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Many parents are quick to weigh-in if they think others are getting it wrong.

When it comes to raising your kids, you might be a seasoned pro, or a first time parent.

But either way, you may find it useful to look at these eight laws to make sure police officers don’t come knocking at your door.

But which laws restrict what parents can and can’t do?

Parents have a duty to protect and provide for their children.

The law says all parents are free to raise their children as they wish, according to their own beliefs and religion.

But there are limits to what parents can and can’t do. These are the eight laws we think all parents should know, according to GloucesterLive .

1) Keep them from school or let them skip school


By law, parents have a duty to provide an education for their children.

This means that parents remain responsible for their child’s education up to the age of 16, including responsibility for their attendance.

If your child does not attend school regularly, you may be the subject of investigation from local children’s services.

Even if your child is skipping school without your knowledge, you are still held responsible and could still be committing an offence.

2) Put them in the wrong car seat


Parents are legally required to make sure their child is seated in a particular car seat appropriate for their age.

The driver of the vehicle, whether they are the child’s parent or not, is also required by law to make sure his or her child passengers are wearing a seatbelt.

If the driver fails to take these safety precautions, they could be convicted of failing to ensure that a child passenger is using an appropriate child car seat or wearing a seat belt according to the legal requirements and face a fixed £100 fine.

If the driver is taken to court, they could face a fine of up to £500.

3) Smacking children

It is not currently illegal for a parent to smack their child, as long as the smacking does not go beyond the extent of what can be construed as ‘reasonable punishment’.

If smacking a child results in marks, such as visible bruising, minor swelling or causes psychological harm, it would be deemed as “unreasonable” and therefore illegal.

Similarly, if a parent was to use a cane, stick, belt or other implement to discipline a child, this would be considered excessive and would not be protected by the ‘reasonable punishment’ defence.

It is strictly illegal for teachers, nursery workers, childcare workers or any other adult to smack another person’s child.

4) Leaving them alone


The law does not stipulate a set age at which you can leave a child on their own but it is an offence to leave a child alone if it puts them at risk.

Parents can face prosecution if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’.

5) Allowing children to cycle on pavements


It is illegal for anyone, including children, to cycle on a pavement alongside a road, unless it has been marked as a cycle track.

For children below the age of ten and therefore below the age of criminal responsibility, parents are legally responsible for ensuring that their child does not cycle on the pavement.

6) Giving children alcohol


You may not be surprised to learn that it is illegal to give a child younger than five years of age alcohol.

But you may be surprised to learn it is not illegal for a parent to give a child aged five and above alcohol on private premises or in licensed premises. Though it is strongly recommended that parents do not give their children alcohol at such a young age.

7) Let their child leave home too soon


Parents of under 16-year-olds are legally responsible for making sure their child has somewhere safe to stay.

A parent cannot stop a child leaving home by locking them in, but can take action in court to bring their child back if he or she runs away.

8) Taking a child abroad without the other parent’s consent or knowledge


The law states that parents must get the permission of everyone with parental responsibility for the child or from a court before taking the child abroad.

Taking a child abroad without express permission can be considered child abduction.



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