Child Safety At Home...
Help keep your kids safe when
they're home alone
Many parents must choose between leaving their
children home alone during the day while they are at work or busy with other
commitments, or finding alternative care. Parents often worry when their
children are home alone, but there are precautions they can take to ease their
worries and help protect their children when they're not around.
What parents can do:
in touch. Call children throughout the day to ask how they are and
what they are doing. Ask children to check in before they leave the house
and to call again when they return.
kids connected. Post important numbers by the telephone, including
parent's work and cell phone, the doctor's office, and a neighbor or a
nearby relative who can help children quickly if they need it.
what to do in an emergency. Teach children how to dial 911 or
"0" and when to do it. Ask questions like "If someone is
trying to get in the house, what should you do?" "If you get hurt,
what should you do?" and "If you want to play at a friend's house,
what should you do?"
firm rules. Make clear what children are allowed to do and what
they aren't allowed to do. Can they use the Internet when home alone? Can
they invite a friend over? Can they invite several friends over?
Are they ready?
All children mature differently, so there is no
precise age when they are ready to stay home alone. This makes the decision to
leave children alone even harder for parents. Many states have laws concerning
the legal age when children can be left unsupervised, but there is no guarantee
that when children reach this age they will be ready. However, there are
questions parents can ask themselves to help determine if their children are
Can your children. . .
trusted to go straight home after school or after playing at a neighbor's
use the telephone, locks, and kitchen appliances
rules and instructions well?
unexpected situations without panicking?
home alone without being afraid?
their full name, address, and telephone number?
If you feel comfortable leaving your children
home alone and feel that they are ready, discuss it with them and start
practicing what they should and shouldn't do. Role play different scenarios to
prepare them for anything that might happen when they are home alone.