They're laws designed to protect children from parents who fail in their duty of care.
But did you know that if you leave your kids in the car while paying for petrol, popping into the chemist, or picking up some milk from the servo, you could be charged?
A mother was recently charged with neglect for leaving her three children in an undercover carpark at The Gap in Brisbane’s West - despite the fact the air conditioning had been left on.More stories from Today Tonight
Two women in Rockhampton recently risked three years’ imprisonment by leaving their children unattended while running small errands
While many are children are left to fend for themselves, often in the rush for convenience, there's simply no excuse in the eyes of the law.
Victorian mother Raeleyn Taylor ducked into the local laundromat for less than a minute, but that's all it took for someone to kidnap her kids.
“We live in a small town and you don't even think this kind of thing will happen. I was just getting my washing,” Taylor said.
Clean clothes or not, in the eyes of the law, the children were abandoned. In fact, it's illegal to leave children unattended anywhere - including in a car.
Whether the time left alone is unreasonable depends on the circumstances, according to criminal lawyer Adam Macgill.
In Queensland the Criminal Code states you can't leave a child under twelve unattended, and carries a maximum penalty of three years’ jail.
It’s a serious breach that’s lost on many parents.
Equally however, it seems plenty of parents agree with the laws.
Macgill has also acted for people who have left children at home
“They've gone out to a party or go out on the town, and the child's been found wandering the street - that's one particular offence,” Macgill recalled.
It seems letting unsupervised children under twelve walk to school is also an offence.
“Being allowed to walk to school by themselves - that can actually be seen as committing an offence under this section,” Macgill said.
Homeowners can even be on notice in their own driveway according to Macgill, who says police have investigated a case where a child was left in the car while the parents went into the house.
“Police have investigated that and they’ve made a determination that the time in which they had left the children was unreasonable,” he said.
Parenting consultant Shona Bass, director of Early Life Foundations, says it's essentially about developing good habits.
“Children need to be parented, which means routine, predictability and consistency,” Bass said.
And there's a time when children could take on extra duties.
“We would recommend that children under twelve not care for siblings in the home alone. We would be looking at siblings who are more around the age of fourteen, fifteen, who are caring for siblings,” Bass advised.
And above all, don't leave children in a vulnerable position.
“It is not helpful for children to think they're making decisions for the household. The parents need to do that,” Bass concluded.Does the law take things too far?
This reporter is on Twitter at @RoddatTT
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