Today, many children stay home alone during the day or after school because their parents work. Everyone understands that this is a difficult decision for parents to make and is based upon a child’s age and maturity level. Parents should feel comfortable that their child knows how to stay safe while they are spending time alone, even if it’s only for a couple of hours.
In order to ensure your child’s safety, first, you must make certain your home is secure. That includes verifying that all locks are in working order. Remove anything that could be a possible fire hazard. Place fresh batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test them to make sure they work. In the event of a fire, teach your child a home escape plan and review it with them frequently. We all know how curious children can be, so put all matches, lighters, and any flammable liquids out of children’s reach. Put together a first aid kit and store it where it can be found quickly and easily by a child. As a parent, its a good idea to teach children basic first aid procedures for minor cuts, burns, and bleeds. Have a list of important phone numbers and post it on the refrigerator, near the phone or another location that the child can easily remember where to look when needing to make an urgent call.
Your child should be taught (if they do not already know) their phone number, address, and any other information that could be helpful in an emergency. Spend time teaching your child personal safety rules. A helpful strategy for parents is playing the “What If” game with their children. This will help them to learn how to recognize and respond to various situations. Establish house rules and make certain to enforce them consistently.