Safety Tips

Once you've decided it's safe to leave your children home alone, teach them about safety issues:
  • They should never open the door for anyone (nor peek through the blinds to look.)
  • Instruct them to stay in the house until you come home.
  • Teach your children how to answer the phone and take messages without indicating they are alone.
  • Use caller ID or an answering machine to screen calls.
  • Have a plan of action in case something goes wrong; your children should know emergency numbers, parents’ work numbers, and numbers of neighbors or relatives who could step in.
  • Practice what they would do and say if they needed to call 9-1-1. Tell them to give their full name, address, and telephone number, and to stay on the line until instructed by emergency personnel to hang up.
  • To make them feel more secure, consider creating a "safe room" by installing a deadbolt and keeping a cellular phone in a designated room (be sure to have a key hidden outside the room in case someone gets locked in accidentally.)
  • If possible, have a neighbor or relative check in regularly, or have your children check in with that person. Perhaps you could pay someone to be a contact person with whom your children could be in regular contact.
  • Go over fire procedures and practice escaping by two routes from every room.
  • Don’t make your children responsible for food preparation. Have food that can be heated in the microwave or eaten cold from the refrigerator.
  • Don’t allow your children to have company.

Don’t forget to address behavior issues:
  • Make your expectations clear.
  • Make rules or consequences that you can enforce: It may sound good to tell your child that he or she can’t watch TV all week, but if you’re not there to monitor, it is difficult to police.
  • Let your children help make your house rules: They are less likely to break them.
  • Go over the rules periodically, and post them in a prominent place.
  • Call home at unpredictable times to see how they are doing, but also to let them know you will be checking up.
  • Give them a few household jobs to do while you are at work.

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