A SINGLE mum who left her two young sons home alone in Gympie while she drove off after a man she thought had stolen her wallet was placed on nine months probation this week.
Leaving a child under 12 at home for an "unreasonable time" without proper care and supervision can land you in jail under the Queensland Criminal Code.
The Gympie mum convicted of doing this to her eight and nine-year-old sons in January of this year had also been drinking that afternoon before she drove off, had failed to tell her sons where or why she was going and ended up mounting a kerb and colliding with a retaining wall.
She had taken her three-year-old daughter in the car with her.
Neighbours who heard the crash called police, went down to the scene, smelt the alcohol and took the keys out of the car, Gympie Magistrates Court heard this week.
When officers from the Gympie Child Protection Investigation Unit arrived at the house, the boys were in a state of distress, it heard.
The woman was convicted of leaving a child under the age of 12 for an unreasonable time without proper care and supervision, drink- driving, dangerous driving and driving after her licence had been suspended by SPER.
She was placed on probation and disqualified from driving for nine months. Her blood-alcohol concentration was 0.071%.
The State Government's Early Childhood Education and Care website says the question "At what age can my children be left at home by themselves?" is a common one.
The age and maturity of the children makes a difference, it says.
"Do not leave infants, toddlers or young children alone under any circumstances."
IF your children are at home by themselves, they should know:
Where you are going and when you will be back
How to get in contact with you
Their own phone number and home address
The phone numbers of trusted friends or relatives
How to contact the doctor, hospital, police or fire brigade (000)
Whether to answer the phone if it rings
What to do if someone knocks on the door
Where to find the first-aid kit