What are the Legal Standards of Child Safety?
Canada’s children are safer than ever, with just two deaths out of 10,000 among those aged 1-19. Much of this is to do with laws that steer parents towards safe behaviour. Since the majority of child fatalities are caused by accidents, it is important to put in preventative measures against any accidental injury. The law can be confusing, however. While some actions are mandated by a legal code which is clear and concrete, others are left deliberately vague and rely on the intuition of parents and guardians. This offers a perfect mix sensible rules and flexibility based on what lawmakers know from the evidence gathered.
Concrete Laws to Follow
There are certain laws which all parents must follow. They are based on the results of empirical research into what level of safety standards is suitable. For instance, a person cannot buy alcohol until they are 18 or 19, depending on your province. Meanwhile, a child cannot learn to drive until he or she reaches the age of 16. It is important as a parent to learn these concrete laws as soon as possible and abide by them to ensure the safety of your child.
Taking Responsibility: Know Your Child
There are, conversely, laws which are deliberately vague. For instance, there is no legal age at which a child can be left alone at home. This means that you are given the right to make a decision based on your understanding of your children. If your property is completely child safe and your son or daughter mature, then you may be comfortable leaving an 8 year old at home alone for a couple of hours.
However, if an accident does happen, then some provinces will consider this to be a form of neglect if the child is aged below 10 or 12. In this instance, it is not illegal to leave your child home alone, but you will be responsible for any injuries that occur. You should therefore ensure that you educate your children on safe behaviour and install safety features, so that you can confidently leave them on their own.
It can be hard for parents to know exactly how strict their safety precautions should be. Children mature at different rates and this is reflected in the Canadian law making process. Learn the difference between hard laws which cannot be compromised on and areas in which you are given both the freedom and responsibility to make an informed decision.