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Should young children be allowed to play in parks unsupervised?

A couple of U.S. cases of parents getting into trouble for letting young children go to parks alone is generating a lot of discussion, and CBC Ottawa wants to know what you think.

Incidents handled on case-by-case basis, Ottawa police say

A couple of U.S. cases of parents getting into trouble for letting young children go to parks alone is generating a lot of discussion, and CBC Ottawa wants to know what you think.

The Criminal Code of Canada stipulates people can be charged with abandonment for leaving a child under 10 years of age alone "so that its life is or is likely to be endangered or its health is or is likely to be permanently injured."

Ottawa police say situations are handled on a case-by-case basis.

Ottawa police spokesman Const. Marc Soucy says situations of young children found playing alone are handled on a case-by-case basis. (CBC)
"You have to look at the maturity of the child, and the age of the child also," says Ottawa police spokesman Const. Marc Soucy. "But if my backyard backs onto a park and I'm in the backyard and I can see my kids, a little younger is OK. But if I live far away, I don't know.

"You've got to judge a child by its maturity. You can have a mature 12-year-old, you can have an immature 12-year-old that you wouldn't leave alone in a park."

Time of day is another factor, Soucy says.

If police determined that a child was too young to be left alone and that a parent was at fault, parents could be charged criminally with failing to provide the necessaries of life or abandonment.

The Children's Aid Society could also become involved.

What do you think?

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