Scots parents could face court action for using an unsuitable babysitter
PARENTS have been warned that they could be held liable if their child is injured while in the care of a child minder or babysitter.
Legal experts said that leaving a child in the care of someone who is not considered to be a suitable babysitter - for example, if they are a known sex offender or have a drug problem - would leave the parents legally responsible for any harm which may come to the child, as well as the babysitter.
Under Scots law, parents could also face being put through the courts if they leave a child under 16 at home alone during the school holidays and they hurt themselves.
Professor Elaine Sutherland, a member of the Law Society's family law sub-committee, said: "Leaving a child under 16 years old alone or in charge of younger siblings is inherently risky, so a parent should be prepared to justify the decision.
"While a parent may delegate the care of a child to another person, the parent remains responsible for the child's welfare while in the other person's care and it is the parent's responsibility to make sure the baby-sitter is up to the job. If a child comes to harm while home alone or in the care of an unsuitable baby-sitter, the parent may face prosecution."
John Fotheringham, an expert in children and family law at Edinburgh legal practice Fyfe Ireland, added: "If the parent left their child in the care of someone who they did think was responsible, questions could still be asked as to whether that person should have been regarded as responsible."
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